Thursday 11th June 2009

what i learned in that place where i went

we say things like it's a small world without feeling their full meaning.

the world is small only in comparison with such things as the rest of the galaxy, which is itself only small in comparison with such things as the local supercluster. we're to the point in our development as a thinking species where we can observe objects that emitted some bits of light near the beginning of the universe, and the light is only now reaching us. and light is fast, dig? if my calculations are correct it takes light approximately one year to go one light-year; do you know how long it would take you, even taking the entire journey at the fastest speed any human has ever gone? beyond the scope of supercluster one could take two, maybe three meaningful (however gargantuan) steps up, and half a dozen or more on the way down. we live near the bottom, and on the scale to which we are accustomed, the world is pointedly—almost arrogantly—large.

thank you for following so far; it's important you understand where i'm coming from if you're to understand where i'm going. it's a matter of using the appropriate scale. though it's not saying much, the difference between (1) the immensity and permanence of the rock we're all floating on and (2) my own unimportance and brevity is more than the meat between my ears can process. and yet it is precisely this difference that made each bite of greek food, each sight of stacked ancient marble, each step taken on age-worn stone, each smile on the face of the girl i love—all so small when taken individually—so large when viewed through the lens of what i'm used to.

this is what i learned: we're each so small, and each so temporary, but because of this each moment and every inch we have just becomes that much more meaningful. where we are, everything matters except you. you are exactly as self-important as you think you are; it is just your scale that is wrong.

i'm sorry, what was your question? … 'how was greece?'

pretty frakking swell.


posted by mAtt @ 19.07 (gmt+0000)
to /composition/happiness
tagged

Saturday 7th February 2009

[sic]

weird weirdness can always be found within the urban dictionary.

'to knowledge your knowledge, you will deal equally with everything within your cipher, which gives birth to wisdom that is showing and proving. everything is everything, which equals one. equality gives birth to wisdom, and mathematics do not lie.'


i cannot tell if the above was a submission that went through a translation bot first, or if someone, somewhere, sought to convey meaning with precisely this string of words. i've been thinking about this lately—the relationship between words and meaning—for various reasons. one such reason is my wife, who is now engaged in a fight to the death with a master's rhetoric program; you would not believe the depth and reach of some of the books in her pile right now, and on the most abstruse topics. another such reason is this collection of goods, any one of which takes frakking forever to compose, takes away the easy option of just saying what i mean, and makes me think directly about what it is i mean to say.

is it even possible for a human to think, without thinking in words? ideas are, as i construct them, really effing abstract; however, for the idea to be useful i need to understand it myself, and/or convey it meaningfully to someone else—requiring words, which are if not totally concrete, then at least far less abstract than the original idea. is it like converting from analog to digital, where no matter what, you lose something in the conversion? or maybe the recipient of the converted idea has a corresponding upscaler built in, so that they may fully reconstruct the original? do our brains contain codecs for meaning?

i understand this is all very aimless and lah-dee-dah and will sound horribly pretentious at your end, and that's not my intent. honestly i sat down tonight and was just going to post that urban dictionary link and have a little chuckle. i have no idea where all this came from. but now the idea is in words, and i have conveyed it, dig?

'language is the liquid / that we're all dissolved in / great for solving problems / after it creates the problem'
(modest mouse)


p.s. 'mathematics do [sic] not lie.' (you had me at mathematics.)


posted by mAtt @ 23.06 (gmt+0000)
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tagged