In Which The First Part of A Courageous Journey Into the Future Is Ascertained By Our Distinguished Guest Contributor
Time keeps slipping
A journey in two parts
I—the criterion and rule of the true is to have made it. Accordingly, our clear and distinct idea of the mind cannot be a criterion of the mind itself, still less of other truths. For while the mind perceives itself, it does not make itself.
"riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.”
“Night. Tellmetale of stem or stone. Beside the rivering waters of hitherandthithering waters of the Night!”
Two separate ideas. The first. . . .
The spread of information via the internet (and including any and all future incarnations of the internet) will make information increasingly available to its 6.7 billion human inhabitants. The quality of new data may not rise, but the quantity and accessibility of it certainly will.
Shantih shantih shantih
A wikipedia article on T.S. Eliot's Wasteland now includes a completely hyperlinked version of the poem. Every allusion—Hieronymo's mad againe!—explicated: criticism, original materials, cultural references, blogs, each word, syllable, phrase has been written about, explained. In turn, each of these is linked to their own analogous sources and criticism, original materials, cultural references, blogs. In turn again, each of these is linked. . . .
It is not a hall of mirrors, but an ever expanding mansion made only of windows—some windows reflective, some cracked, some prismatic, some pushed open to the wind outside. . . .
To deal with this exponential rise in the quantity of data, user-interfaces have had to exploit any efficiency available to the technology at hand. King Lear, Kurosawa, Kant, all exist as recombinant crystalline structures, every work has a momentary existence onto itself but also shares particles with the corporeal body of all human culture, history, existence itself.
every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you
The beauty of it is striking. Imagine Lear floating through space. . . .
But none of this is new, it is merely the implementation of technology.
And this has had less effect upon academics than upon students and artists themselves. The rise of “cheater sites” of purchasable essays in the early part of the 21st century—a natural extension to their predecessor: cliff notes—may have been decried, when they should have been embraced as precursors to the future. What happened when every young collegian had the entire history and an explication of The Wasteland at her fingertips? What happened when we no longer had to fetch water at the well?
In the past, it was reasonably tolerated, if not encouraged, that students present some summary of this body of understanding. That was, in essence, “getting” the poem, the fiction. Now, this knowledge is so ubiquitous, so easily revealed that the distillation of it has become distasteful.
We have a vast infrastructure of water beneath us. Pipes and boilers. We pay the bill, once a decade we call the repair men. We spend most of our time working.
"Full fathom five thy father lies
Of his bones are coral made
Those are pearls that were his eyes
Nothing of him that doth fade. . . ."
It is a sea change that is underneath our treading, churning feet.
Key West is in Laud Head is in West Egg is in Xanadu is in Yoknapatawpha county is in Zembla is past Mortshire is around the bend from Dublin is leeward of the Charterhouse of Parma is surrounded by the Golden Pavilion is upstairs from the Republic of San Lorenzo is lateral to Middle Earth is east of Oceania is crosstown from Desolation Row is not in Kansas anymore is a stone's throw from Hyrule is sandwiched between Mason and Dixon is floating on an island full of noises, sounds and sweet airs, across a clean well-lighted place, above a Harlem basement.
And Bob's your uncle.
Student papers became melodramatic, but more interesting. Academics still churn away on cabalistic details, but they have been pushed even further back behind the curtain. Deconstruction and close reading . . .
But, the sea is always changing.
“The experiments were done with Legos because most of the things around his office were protected by copyright. What will happen to the economy for engineering when we can just download a pirated description of a machine and 'print' it out? 'The world is just beginning to grapple with the implications of this relatively low-cost duplicating method. . . .”
This is about the future.
“Vico is best known for his verum factum principle, first formulated in 1710 as part of his De Italorum Sapientia. The principle states that truth is verified through creation or invention and not, as per Descartes, through observation.”
It's not novelty. It's truth. Someone's truth rather than everybody's truth.
Reading is intimate. Your brain pressed against another brain.
Fire and water rage in our basements.
Extreme recombinance. Even if your husband's snores reach across the bed.
“Dorothy: I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.”
“What for one person is a risk, an impossibility, a caprice stood on its head—when reflected in two pairs of eyes becomes a reality. The world waits as it were for this partnership: until now closed, confined, without further plans—to begin to mature with the colors of a dahlia, burst and open up inside. Painted panoramas deepen and open into actual perspectives, the wall lets us into a dimension formerly unattainable, frescoes painted on the horizon come to life like a pantomime.”
An invention is an idea sitting on top of a mountain on top of an island.
“For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard.“
Why? Why must it be heard?
“Another effect of amnesia is the inability to imagine the future. A recent study published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that amnesiacs with damaged hippocampi cannot imagine the future. This is because when a normal human being imagines the future, they use their past experiences to construct a possible scenario. For example, a person who tries to imagine what would happen at a party in the near future uses their past experience at parties to help construct the event in the future.”
Has it done us any good? Did Sophie's Choice help us in Rwanda?
“Lawrence at the bow, saying to the sea, 'Thalassa, thalassa. . . .'”
We are a civilization of amnesiacs.
The names change. An african tribesman named Chandler is sleeping with the beautiful cannibal chef Monica. They are running low on meat, they are getting married. Do they sauté their friends for dinner at the wedding? Why rewrite the book in such incremental fashion? Do we have no ability to generalize?
You work hard, you sit on the couch, your mind weary: a re-run will suffice. It's not your fault. Who hasn't been there. It is the fault of the artist.
“Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist but you have ceased to live.”
Andrew Zornoza is a writer living in New York. Look for part two of Time Keeps Slipping tomorrow.