To record. To record a thing. A thing that loses weight when you look at it, when you try and ponder its measurement, it shrinks. Something as elusive as dust on a chapel bell, as scripted as a North wind off a lighthouse that only pours light, not mystery.
To record. I try to speak a language of knots and nothing ends up happening but confusion. Nothing happens but an ache. And this ache keeps me anchored to the cause, keeps me in touch with carpet bugs, on my knees, searching for the equation between two sentences that were spoken before I was born.
I breathe forward into inches. There’s a light in the doorway. To record this light, photons or the electricity between a bulb and its current.
Today, for instance, I had a conversation with a friend of mine. How my brain needs shine! And so we set aside the computer screen’s work for each other’s thoughts. How, I asked, do we represent each other? My friend types answers and his voice, the memory and representation of his voice, gathers into neuronal circuits and fires. I read his text as though in his voice. Can we break through the walls of representation and actually know anyone?
The knots have been on my thoughts lately. I tell him so. Look at these equations, I say. He says, look at these wallabies in Australia, he says—they get high on poppies and make crop circles.
Somehow, this ties into the philosophical conversation. And the knots sit in the back behind me at the desk, waiting for a leap into my thoughts.
But I tell the knots, look! There’s a theory inside us all and I’m trying to uncover the dots, to gather the thought-geraniums so as to understand the grasses between one another, our thoughts, our desires, and our other-worldly-being-ness.
The knots are dragging today. I woke up in a mood. Worries down my back again, and will I have enough money for the autumn season? Plastic as it sounds, the worry of living is constant. But from my desk at work, I see an ocean. And my friend types words to me. We communicate from one desk to another 10,000 miles apart. Isn’t this amazing? My mood lifts when I type. I type of wonders. And wait for the answer.
I’d rather be outside, I think. I’d rather enjoy the sunshine. I’d rather unravel mysteries by walking in Union Square, searching strangers for their knots. But in front of us, a whole wonder waiting to be discovered. And my wonder is my friend, who talks to me of mysteries while we are at work.
Wonder at conversation! And conversation on the internet! The net that casts over all our lives. A net what leaves us connected or so estranged from another that the wandering in the world wide web can leave us hunting touch.
The knots are restless today. The tower today stands 2792 knots tall. Bundles, even. And some sit in the back corner, reflected in the computer screen as I type my longings into streams 10,000 miles away. The best thing about online communication is instant replies.
Me: it hit me the other day
mathematics (which I always hated) is like creativity and philosophy, it’s working with abstractions
to try and explain things
Friend: yeah, when you get high enough in anything, it becomes abstract
Me: and when I look at it that way, I no longer hate math
I like theoretical anything
but I like to pull it back down somehow
like with a magical string
like theories are kites
and I’m trying to pull them closer to my body
Friend: and you have to ground them to dissect them
so they are like butterflies then, and you have to net them to put them behind glass
and when you look close enough at a butterfly, their patterns are way beyond what you expected.
one color leads into another color, but in zigzag
and how to define that line, you can’t
like chaos theory
Friend: you have to break it down into small pieces, and that won’t give you the whole picture
this is awesome
Me: like those high kangaroos or whatever they were
the lines they made
Friend: I know!
Friend: no one could have predicted that
but the anchor for all this is logic
it’s pretty clear crop circles aren’t created by aliens
therefore, it must be something else
but more complex than that
it’s MANY things
and that’s where chaos comes in
Friend: some are pranks; some might be weird wind patterns
in this case, high wallabies
Me: the weed
like in Wizard of Oz
man, the book of that is about a billion times better than the movie
I did not expect to have this conversation today
Me: I know, right?
chaos theory is insanely interesting
it is overwhelming
I feel like I’m flying just reading about it
did you see the pictures of the knots?
I love the III kind
that’s such a cool pattern
Me: you know, perhaps we make our very own patterns each day and we don’t even know it
like actual patterns in some sort of air
when you type
or walk each day
Me: and it affects the things around
like we’re always painting something into being and we don’t know it
Friend: well I know we affect air currents when we walk past them, or they have to blow
that’s an idea I’ve long had
the things we do create… something
Me: expand on that
that you had
what did you think?
I went beyond just movement
the physical world and the mental world combined
let’s say I say something mean to someone
and it puts them in a bad mood
and they take it out by slamming the front door
which knocks over their vase
which they throw away
Friend: you create these things
I call them demons for lack of a better term
Me: what physicists (the more metaphysical ones) are calling “The Field”
the idea of locality versus entanglement
Einstein didn’t believe theory of entanglement was true
but we’ve proved it
we’ve been able to view the burning out of electrons, a proton and electron separated and the daughter protons are effected by the “mother,” no matter at what distance
it’s only after WE observe
that anything comes into being
Friend: before that it’s Schrödinger’s electron
Me: Schrödinger’s Cat.
someone said to me the other day on gchat
“sorry I was invisible”
and I thought about that time you said it
and how I wrote that note about status updates and the new lingo and how we all sound like science fiction novels and we don’t even know it
in our minds, we’re invisible, sometimes
because we “are”
and we say we “are”
even if it’s only on gchat
like your half man-half fish superhero
if we reflect “nothing”
Friend: no, the lack of reflection
Me: then where is that “nothing”
is the nothing something only when we “reflect” it?
like Schrödinger’s cat!
Friend: it is
for that moment, you did not know if I existed or not
applied to everyday life
Me: and your voice when you type as it’s represented in my head when I read your font
I hear your font in your voice in my brain. how my brain recollects your voice
Friend: Electronic data and it’s philosophical implications…
I hadn’t given your opinion on AI the consideration it deserved, because instead of basing the amount of consideration on your perceived intelligence (or creativity, or capacity) like I should have done, I based it on your technical knowledge
Me: that’s understandable
Friend: I guess when you spend 7 years telling people how to work a computer, you assume no one knows anything about them.
and that’s just wrong
it’s a scale
it causes problems
drives wedges into conversation
Me: creates breakdowns. Our representations of people need to be broken down before we can really communicate
It’s interesting that we create someone before we know them
it’s a tricky thing
you walk a balance of open-mindedness and … something else.
End conversation. To record. End. And the knots are sparkling. Inside their bodies: the known. The unknown casts things down occasionally, but in dots. Later in the day, the conversation from the afternoon on the computer, the conversation that happened over text, will be imprinted in my mind and replayed via representation when I read Heschel’s words….
“When the ultimate awareness comes, it is like a flash, arriving all at once. To meditative minds the ineffable is cryptic, inarticulate: dots, marks of secret meaning, scattered hints, to be gathered, deciphered and formed into evidence.”
And, earlier that day, on the computer screen, my friend said:
“you have to break it down into small pieces, and that won’t give you the whole picture.”
Which I remember, as I read further into Heschel’s words:
It comes when, drifting in the wilderness, having gone astray, we suddenly behold the immutable polar star. Out of endless anxiety, out of denial and despair, the soul bursts out in speechless crying.”
To record. I read these lines, interconnected with earlier recollections of a conversation on computer screens, and while I read, in my bed, the knots nestled by the lamp, wriggling into a sway, I listen to my iPod. The iPod lands on Laura Marling. The song bleeds into the web. And exactly as I read about speechless crying into the heart of the wilderness to find that God between the breastplate and dreaming, the song sings the words:
“You sat alone under billowing sky. If I feel God….but I fell into the water and now I’m free.”
Pressed into the sides are the knots, now weighing 4920 worth, sat on my chest, which breaks, as I cry. Something about this. About alignment and chaos. To record this. And the known in the belly of knots have a brief communication with the unknown. Three words, and a black out. Joy! Joy! Joy!