Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Can't you see that all that stuff's a sideshow?

On a sort of continued note from the last blog, think about all the language you encounter in a day. In our day-to-day lives, we are barraged with information almost constantly, that we have no choice but to read. We can't look at wording on signs, labels, book spines, or products without reading them, it's the natural instinct as our eyes flick over their surface. It seems interesting to me that we have adapted in such a way that reading is so instinctive and crucial to functioning. I wonder how different the world looks to those who are illiterate. The only comparable experience I can think of would be imagining oneself in a place that uses an unfamiliar alphabet. I guess thats the reason symbols and colors are such intregal parts of society. Most road signs or fixtures render it nearly unneccessary to read. I guess thats because colors, shapes, and images are easier and quicker to comprehend than text for most people.
I guess sound is the same as that, but a thousand fold. It is nearly impossible to ignore sound without the assistance of another sound, or something plugging up your ears. I wonder if deaf people are generally calmer, without the anxiety of constant noise being pumped into their consciousness.
There have been a few things that have stuck with me a lot in the past month, one of them being the poem that is the namesake for this blog (search:'my sweet old etcetera' by e.e. cummings.) I don't know why, just something about the spacing and the syntax of the poem, the rhythm and surprising occasional rhyme. It just gets me. Also, the songs "Hide and Seek" and "Let Go" have been really mesmerizing to me lately. I can listen to either on repeat for extended periods of time before needing to change the song. I think the unifying theme of these songs and that poem is the sort of deep, almost instinctive, internal thump or sway or whatever you'll call it, the feeling that seizes you and settles in, becoming part of you. I feel the same way when I finish the poem again, or when the song ends: a sort of arythmic surprise and hollowness, not realizing how attatched you'd become to the thing until you sense its absence. I think that's how some of the best people operate, subtly and quietly remaining, never acknowledged until one day, they're missing.

I wonder if escaped helium balloons ever meet, high above and out of sight. I'd like to think they do.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

I've been talking with various friends a lot about communication, as ironic as that is. Although I guess internet blogging about talking about communication furthers the absurdity.
That aside, communication in itself is ridiculous. Other animals do it to a lesser extent, a more natural one. They make noises when they feel certain things, and then recognize those noises in other beings, and connect them with the sentiments. Mating calls are more deliberate, making a targeted call in the hopes of attracting another. Then there are the basic physical signals and rituals (asserting dominance, and the like.) But the extent to which we've taken it is mind-boggling. Harnessing sound into language is impressive enough, but then having thousands of different languages with thousands and thousands of different words, tenses, and rules, and having all the people in one region be able to communicate to the level that we do is astonishing. And furthermore, having this language translated into symbols and characters that can be widely recognized and understood, having a written language, it's all just insane to comprehend. When you take something as basic as language and marvel at how crazy it is, think about everything else we, as a society, have done and it becomes nearly impossible to comprehend. Walking into any store is a ridiculous experience when you think of each item as a product of the civilization of man.
.....but then you come across a product like 'baconnaise' or the furby, and humanity loses a little of it's credit.
Also, along the lines of communication, I was talking with a friend of mine who is a musician. He said he could only communicate with other musicians through music, and the people who he played music with were just that. It was only rarely that he connected with those people any other way. And it got me thinking about the way people do that with all the people they relate to. You form categories in your mind, if only subconsciously, of certain people with whom you communicate certain ways. Your relationship with your coworker is different from that with a sister, a bandmate, an old friend, a store clerk. The people I consider closest to me are the people who transcend most categories and that I can relate to on multiple levels. But that's still a category within itself. Also, the place you meet someone, or what you are doing when you meet that person, often become a focal point for the beginning, if not the rest, of your relationship with that person. If you meet someone at school, or even more specifically, in a biology class, you will talk about biology with that person and have that as a definite mutual connecting point. Even if the relationship blooms from there, the first series of interactions you have with that person will, most likely, be about biology. If you meet someone at a show, your next interactions with probably be about that band, and if there is a next interaction after the day of the show, it will probably relate to going to a show or something about that specific band.

Something to think about in your own relationships.