Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Wheels,reinventing. See also: shag carpet
In 1974, the basement of our house was called the rumpus room, an architectural term I have not heard since. The foundation of the rumpus room was a cobalt blue shag carpet that was so thick, that there was a plastic shag rake to smooth it out with before company came over. I remember that it had no windows in it and was always dark. On Saturday mornings I could be found engaged with lego watching the cartoon spiderman. You know the psychedelic one that prunes young synapses into attenuating for the absurd. I recall thinking that it would be nice to have daylight somehow brought into that room. I imagined how simple it would be to have some kind of mirrored tube that would carry the light into the rumpus room. Two years later fiber optic transmission was a reality and another potential patent died amongst a pile of half-chewed lego bricks. As trite as this memory is there is a lesson here. As I scan ahead over the next week at my impending decision over whether to go out for another contract, I am reminded about my lost opportunity of patenting fiber optics. It is reassuring that the most profound lost opportunities are outside the domain of our mental calculus and therefore I am beyond weighing them. And hence, I am free to consider only whether I want to go or not. The myriad of semi tangible and ephemeral considerations of the 'what if' variety can be plucked from their thistled garden and flung directly to the compost heap. The illusion that I can predict the consequences that I am weighing has turned to into a wisp of smoke that quickly exits through a crack in the sash. Rational criteria for choice is but the last desperate gasp of a consciousness drowning in its own necessity for rationality within choice. And so we construct elaborate mechanisms for making discriminations, we construct schema for differentiating. These elegant semantic obelisks pay tribute to the triumph of the rational mind and yet that rational mind is as absent as any other god. We consider all sides with our sophisticated logic and fuzzy intuition in a frantic quest for clarity and as we regurgitate this litany of variables onto the balance scales and watch one side tip down, we are no longer capable of recognizing the entire exercise as the great work of fiction that it is. It is too demanding of our humility to imagine that there is very often no rational criteria for choice. Yes we may have preferences so elaborately defined that we mistake them for truths, but truth and preference are the great trickster twins that have vexed thought since thought began. And so, what of the future? What of my future? I'll tell you tomorrow.
Posted by and then the_doctor