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Speck. Splinter. Smithereen. (Three)

Sun and moon zipped across the sky, days passing as seconds, and there was a flash... Welcome to the third part of my experiment, Speck, Splinter, Smithereen.

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In our stories of heroes, their great accomplishment, their mission, what they are celebrated for, is bringing things back to normal. Back to a status quo that is, somehow, just fine. Is that the best we can do? Our highest ambition: same old?

When I was a child, I used to think that all being an adult was about was putting on a straight face and being very boring. Not openly displaying joy, curiosity or silliness because that'd be, well, childish. As an adult, it has turned out I was more right than I'd known. It's all facade, and a sad, unnecessary one at that.

I once heard it said that humans are nothing else but rather schizophrenic apes. The more you consider it, the more you might see the point. From the point of view of the orangutan, for example, which is extremely oriented towards the concrete and the immediate, our everyday removal from that and towards the abstract and the imaginary could well have been considered a mental disorder in a society of orangutans. Overimaginative monkeys. Delirious simians. How about that.

To create something is to take it out of your brain and into the real world. But how do you create something to put into your brain, that wasn't there in the first place?

All Enlightenment wisdom can be summarized in the following call: "We can talk things out. Dare to."

Grand things are never enough. We need little things.

Engineering gives the outwardly impression of a precise science of building mechanisms to gracefully achieve goals. Engineers know this to be at best a partial truth, because they know just how much of their time is spent engaging in a spiteful sort of witchcraft. Machines develop temperaments, they stop functioning or start working better for reasons of their own, and the demons in the metal have to be by turns pleaded with, cursed, threatened, cajoled and coaxed into doing a job that by all accounts of the laws of physics they should have no choice but to do. Machines will stammer to a stop in defiance of a newbie that has not earned their respect, but will be careful to never step on the toes of the old tinkerer who knows exactly how to take them apart and make it hurt. Anything more complex than a lever will only behave with the right mix of expertise and sorcery, well-applied differentials and correctly phrased prayer.

You can't go around being a caricature of the person other people believe you are. It's embarrassing.

Writing a story and putting it out there for others to read is a terribly impolite thing to do. People open their door to the traveler of your tale, and without so much as wiping their feet, the traveler barges into the house of their mind, starts moving the furniture around, starts redecorating, starts knocking down walls and building extensions, building new floors, building minarets, all without permission and then vanishes. And the house never again looks the same.

I don't know if we're really a more open-minded society than we used to be. Might be we're just more granularly closed-minded.

People are strange about learning. You tell them that you're studying because you have to, because you have an exam, and they nod, and that's all good and proper. But you tell them you're studying a subject because you are interested, because you want to learn and improve, and no, there isn't a salary raise or a good grade if you achieve it, and suddenly that's a hobby not to be taken too seriously, somewhat ridiculous. There is the implication that it's a bit of a waste of time; certainly not a priority. People think some very strange things.

 

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Thumbnail based on original image by Zil, licensed under CC-SA 3.0.

The Ferridge

Wry writer and profligate pixelsmith

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