Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Pawn

Written listening to Debussy's L'Isle Joyeuse.

Molly cradled the chess piece in her hand as if it were a newborn baby. She couldn't remember the last time she played. She wasn't actually playing now. There was no board and no other crafted wooden soldiers. She imagined how the little pawn might have survived the gridded war without promotion and without a king. Then her pawn became a serf drafted into some archaic kingdom's ancient war for causes now forgotten. How had he survived? Had it been by cowardice or bravery. Molly was nothing if not romantic so of course the little man had fought bravely; a mouse against a lion. His king was saved, but where was his king? Where was his world?

Thinking she might actually play a game, Molly surveyed the room considering where the board might be. The room was darker than she realized. The sun had been setting as she was sitting lost in wonder. The gray atmosphere of the room was gloomy and sterile. The only misplaced items in the room were the chess piece and herself. The room was hers at one time in a life that now felt like a dream. The paint was different, the posters and shelves had been taken off the walls. The bed had been promoted some time ago to a queen. But there were still ghostly after images in the things that could not be so easily changed; the shape of the room, the positions of the two windows that looked out on a darkening backyard landscape that had once been her childhood universe, and the taste of the air itself. It had the musty smell of the old house that it was, but there was something else to it. Some ineffable fragrance that had always existed here. It was the only thing in the room now that warmed her heart. She felt as lonely as the pawn. Her kingdom too had fallen.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

About Time

This blog is about shedding assumptions, about changing perspectives, and about leaving our anthropomorphic cradle. You are encouraged to let go, temporarily, of the familiar constraints of human experience. This blog is about thought experimentation; about adventures into that part of the rational mind that can let go of Gravity--for a moment.

What is a moment? Does time proceed forward as a sheet without gaps or as a sequence of infinitely small steps? We naturally assume that past time is immutable, that yesterday happened and now cannot be changed. But consider this. If the past were to change, our memories which are the effect of the past would change right in step. That said, the past could be changing constantly, and we wouldn't know it. We can't even say that we exist for longer than the moment that is now. Perhaps, once now is passed we are something else and the self that existed a moment ago is no more. The continuity that we assume to be our consciousness is an illusion based upon our accumulated memories. We assume because we see the effects, our memories, that causes of those effects must have been. All memories exist now. Even the activity of the neurons that form thoughts are dependant on time. To merely think is to traverse time.

Our language alone is hopelessly dependant upon time. One reads a sentence in a duration of time. Our verbs are fundamentally tensed. It is therefore hard, from a human perspective to talk about timelessness or to think of single frames of time.

Sure, William of Ockham is turning in his grave. Scientific reason cuts away anything that cannot be demonstrated, but that does not make the cuttings untrue, just unusable. Of course, we have to fall back on sense experience eventually. We cannot extract truth from the limbo of wonderment, at least not any that can be verified. Alas, gravity has won this round.