Archive for lit quote

Bowerbird #8: Insomniac Window Mosquito Coast

Posted in Bowerbird, music, poetry, the universe will wreck you with tags , , , , , , , , , on 08/11/2011 by alex c

“Is it legitimate to turn to scientific discourse to find an image of the world that suits my view? If what I am attempting here attracts me, it is because I feel it might connect with a very old thread in the history of poetry.”

—Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millenium

Who wants a Universe we understand completely and utterly? It’s only the impetuous youth, those marginal figures without tenure or grants of their own, who properly appreciate the anomalies of the subatomic world. The surrealist poets believed that words, like atoms, were full of unlocked potential. However, this alone was never enough to explain our existence. While failing in the attempt to match the world, we discover structure, distinc­tion, the integrity and separateness of things. And the good news is that there is no inevitable end to this process. Combined with a couple of communication satellites you could have near instantaneous contact with almost any location. After that, however you divide it up is fair game.

Is there a point here? It’s hard to say. Sometimes solving a problem creates a new kind of thinking, sometimes the math itself is beautiful. We are moving away from a linear ‘code’ and towards something altogether more abstract, emergent and entangled. You probably don’t need a neuroscientist to tell you that sleep helps your brain absorb new information. If someone is already a marathon runner, asking them to walk an extra half-mile every day probably won’t do much for their fitness level.

And how are you feeling at present? People who are resuscitated from near death often report strange sensory phenomena, such as memories “flashing before their eyes.” Symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions, disordered thinking, movement disorders, social withdrawal and cognitive deficits. It’s a grand version of the convection that happens when you boil water in your teapot!

Bowerbird #3: Guiltless Indian Bluets Adrift

Posted in Bowerbird, music, poetry, the universe will wreck you with tags , , , , , , , , on 08/06/2011 by alex c

67. A male satin bowerbird would not have left it there. A male satin bowerbird would have tottered with it in his beak over to his bower, or his “trysting place,” as some field guides put it, which he spends weeks adorning with blue objects in order to lure a female. Not only does the bowerbird collect and arrange blue objects—bus tickets, cicada wings, blue flowers, bottle caps, blue feathers plucked off smaller birds he kills, if he must, to get their plumage—but he also paints his bower with juices from blue fruits, using the frayed end of a twig as a paintbrush. He builds competitively, stealing treasures from other birds, sometimes trashing their bowers entirely.

—Maggie Nelson, Bluets

Imagine you fall off a boat out in the open ocean, and you turn around, and the boat is gone. This change manifests itself in two ways: as a tendency to forget what one started out to say, especially following an interruption, and a tendency to go off on irrelevant tangents. However, giant chunks of the universe don’t just go missing for no good reason, at least not as far as science is concerned. If you want things done the correct and right way, there are other people that will happily offer that up to you. Now, attempting to decipher what someone is saying is rather difficult when that one person is really three. But this phenomenon has hardly been studied at all. If the majority of the results are in favor of a modern/abstract style, then animals would of course not be included. In case no one ever told you, the answer to any question asked in a paper’s title is no.

“All very well to talk about having a monster by the tail. . .”

Posted in interesting things that caught my attention, random, the universe will wreck you with tags , , , , , on 08/03/2011 by alex c

“Go ahead, capitalize the T on technology, deify it if it’ll make you feel less responsible—but it puts you in with the neutered, brother, in with the eunuchs keeping the harem of our stolen Earth for the numb and joyless hardons of human sultans, human elite with no right at all to be where they are—”

—Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

“I even lie down and roll on it.”

Posted in interesting things that caught my attention, random with tags , , on 06/21/2011 by alex c

“At first I perform these actions with an ironic air, like a person with free will, who is doing something wrong or absurd for her own reasons. But the feeling comes over me that there is very little difference between doing something ironically and just doing it.”

—Shelley Jackson, “Phlegm”, The Melancholy of Anatomy