04 May 2016

From cylinder symbolism to plant preference

Dear diary,

I was going to say: Not everything cylindrical is phallic. But then I thought, maybe a better response would be to say: Precisely because everything cylindrical is obviously phallic, we should occasionally allow a cylinder to be just a cylinder. For I am in favor of protecting potential truths from being eclipsed by that which is verifiable.

This reminds me of the time that I overheard some souls discussing an author’s intention. The discussion was so heated, one might even call it an argument. What I gained from this was an opinion. Things interest me in proportion to their unknowability, which is why I find authorial intention alluring.

Say a person asks about the King James Bible: “Is this passage to be interpreted literally or figuratively?” The question pleases me: I like to take a stab at answering, and yet I do not believe that answering matters. There’s no clear notion of right or wrong, in any case; that’s why it’s amusing to think about right and wrong.

I favor hilarity over accurateness. If a sacred text seems to have been intended as figurative, it’s often more exciting to take it literally. And I love the cerebral calisthenics that result from attempting to extract the figurative meaning from any statement that seems to have been intended as straightforward and literal.

A couple of my favorite writers come to mind, in light of that last thought: Franz Kafka and Herman Melville (especially Moby-Dick).

About a week ago my sweetheart and I were walking in an unfamiliar place. It was a busy highway. There was a chain link fence that ran along its entire length, and this fence was totally overrun with vines and other forms of vegetation. The din of the traffic was deafening, so my sweetheart had to shout for me to hear her when she said: “I wonder if all this plant life is affected by the noise of these cars and trucks—I wonder if trees enjoy or dislike loud sounds.”

My guess is that everything is connected in unknown ways, so I say that vegetation is impacted by audible vibrations. But do they like it? I say they do. Living on a fence by the highway is the plant-people’s version of a rollercoaster. How thrilling! This continuous mechanical roar is a type of accomplishment. Just imagine how delighted a lion would be, if she could scare away foes from her cubs with such a big metal voice.

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