Fragments.

Plant in dried cracked mud

…These fragments I have shored against my ruins…
T.S. Eliot, “The Waste Land”

There are times in life when things shift from clarity to murk, where everything shifts based on new knowledge, new experiences, and value shifts.

Things considered losses in the past can easily become successes, and vice versa – assuming, of course, that the losses gave us new insight and knowledge, fragments of a reality that we all attempt to sew together in some semblance of a reality that we can be on terms with. The path seems never-ending.

When we are younger, we have less of life to re-evaluate with these changes in how we perceive the world, and how we perceive ourselves in it.

As we grow older, it becomes more and more difficult to re-evaluate our body of Life as we move forward. Some harden themselves against change, like a developing nation hiding behind bureaucracy to isolate itself from monumental changes in the hope that it will all just go away – a collective head in the sand. It’s unlikely that the sand around us will change, but the body remains subject to a world of accelerated change.

The world does not go away. In a stream of falling stones, some of us make the effort to push upward in the hope we will find solid footing, constantly looking for a perch even as we scramble to find purchase. At times we run into Others who help or hurt us, defining how we act toward Others in the future. So many groups seek to move forward by standing on the others below them, the concept of hierarchy as old as mankind itself.

Few look to pull each other up; trust is hard to come by, a currency of value that is best not spent.

Sometimes we find a perch and look down where we once were, shouting advice downward, perhaps guiding, perhaps hindering. Rarely do those on a perch look up to find the next paths, tired, exhausted from getting to that perch, they need time to rest and find solace in trying to guide others on their own paths to a perch that may not be theirs… because in all of this, we do not see the perches to the sides of us, perhaps hidden, perhaps because who we are blinds us to them.

Perches are not permanent. Falling fragments of life are permanent in their movement alone.

We cannot build on the fragments, they are only temporary places to be.

Reality Fragments

puzzleThere is a fluidity to reality we all need to take a break from now and then. We know this because it comes in fragments, the cavitations of the mind aerate this fluid and fill us with the noise of our own thoughts.

Within these bubbles, like a submarine, we can’t see what is going on around us, it’s all masked by our own noise, and the only way past that is to come to a dead stop and let reality be re-assembled in our minds. Reality continues even when we don’t perceive it.

Reality, after all, is what happens despite belief, despite hope, and despite intent.

Repetition: Trinidad and Tobago

Nothing To HideI don’t comment much on Trinidad and Tobago because there’s not really that much to comment about. It’s all the same thing over and over again. To write commentaries on most things is simply to repeat myself.

I hate repeating myself.

I hate repeating myself.

I hate repeating myself.

I hate… well, that’s my threshold. I can’t find myself doing it again.

There’s only one thing that’s worse than being wrong: It’s being right.

Reading B.C. Pires’s Thank God It’s Friday, I can’t help but wonder how he has handled this over the years. There are others who comment as well, and they too continue to repeat themselves – a litany of the ills, a litany of what could be changed, a chorus sung at one time only on paper and now more interestingly on the Internet.

Through the volume of share ideas and opinions on things in T&T, if you hit squelch the same solutions keep popping up. Emotional opinions, grounded in nothing more than how something is said or written, drive the rational underground into caverns where they shake their heads. Rum talk, all of it.

In this way, Trinidad and Tobago is the planet in microcosm.

Fictions

DematerializationAll too often, we don’t recognize how limited we are. We, who would expand our canvases beyond our simple neural inputs, we who would try to do good, are limited to our own fictions as we pull together the information we take in.

It used to be simpler, when it was all just sound. Then we figured out how to scribble things, and things became more complicated. The recorded and transmitted sound captured our ears, where ‘The War of the Worlds’ scared people into thinking that there was an actual alien invasion.

Television came along, first in black and white, then in color – and then in an escalation of realism that makes fictions all the more immersive. While that was happening, we learned to record things – and artists, with all these new canvases, pushed the limits beyond what we collectively thought possible.

Fictions rivaled reality, but reality has always been our fiction – individually and collectively. The world is not as we experience it; the world is as it is and we only experience it through some rudimentary inputs. Science and technology have allowed us different perspectives, launching us into new fictions about the universe around us. They drive us out of both fear and wonder.

Yet the most dangerous fictions are what we tell each other. as we increasingly master how to tell each other things. We make our points by appealing to emotion more than intellect, largely through the study of marketing. We are more impressed by a politician on the news than the people actually effecting change, and we have become more impressed as they are marketed toward us.

Our fictions are dangerous in that we create our own fictions by dehumanizing others to take from them that which we would have. They are dangerous in that we believe them to the point of not questioning them, not even daring to imagine outside of them. Conversations aren’t to be had; they are narrated by those who profit from them – not as the conspiracy theorists might say, but by what sells advertising.

Enter the Internet, where we can now share these fictions easily and in such volume that if they were things of worth they would be valuable – but they are not of worth, largely. They are simply the conversations already narrated, with few capable of having the presence of mind to question.

Society’s fictions have to be mastered, not by those who tell them, but by those that consume them.

Critical thought would be a welcome addition to our society.