24 November, 2006

Islands

In my inbox are urgent messages from Pellegrino Bixby, Hippocrates Sink, Elma Triplett and Melchor Prendergast—I soon realise that Thomas Pynchon has been spamming me again. In the streets the trees are smelling of semen, and the green fields are stinking of long-sown dung. I learn the word griggles, which the OED defines as 'Small apples left on the tree by the gatherer'—what a wealth of metaphoric possibility! I play online boggle, late into the night, and still, after so many weeks, have yet to find a better word than aubade, though I have found longer. Aaron Haspel writes a terrific post outlining a series of logic problems and the heuristics of George Polya. Meanwhile, Pretzel Bender forwards me an article from Science on mass data-collection. It turns out that a Finnish physicist, using data from 7 million telephone-calls, has been able to analyse social networking with unprecedented sophistication:
Van der Leij calls this the first large-scale, empirical confirmation of a theory, first proposed in 1973 by Mark Granovetter, a sociologist at Stanford University in California, that "for keeping society connected, acquaintances are more important than close friends".
I staunchly have refused to maintain acquaintances, except where necessary, as in the workplace. Such an attitude is aided, in my case, by having a large number of close friends; still, perhaps Conrad is not 'doing his bit' for Society? The Finnish study showed that without the 'weakest links' in a community, 'the system shatters into islands'. Islands, I might suggest, like the Varieties—the vain dissemination of irrelevancies, among an élite joined only by a common love of the arcane and the recondite.

4 comments:

Raminagrobis said...

YES: in the sea of life enisled,
With echoing straits between us thrown.
Dotting the shoreless watery wild,
We mortal millions live alone.
The islands feel the enclasping flow,
And then their endless bounds they know.

But when the moon their hollows lights,
And they are swept by balms of spring,
And in their glens, on starry nights,
The nightingales divinely sing;
And lovely notes, from shore to shore,
Across the sounds and channels pour;

O then a longing like despair
Is to their farthest caverns sent!
For surely once, they feel, we were
Parts of a single continent.
Now round us spreads the watery plain—
O might our marges meet again!

Who order'd that their longing's fire
Should be, as soon as kindled, cool'd?
Who renders vain their deep desire?—
A God, a God their severance ruled;
And bade betwixt their shores to be
The unplumb'd, salt, estranging sea.


Sorry to sully your comments section with Matthew Arnold, but it seemed appropriate. And I quite like it.

Conrad H. Roth said...

And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where unexpectedly-erudite armies clash by night.

Siganus Sutor said...

In the streets the trees are smelling of semen
late into the night, and still, after so many weeks, have yet to find a better word than aubade

Aubade? Ha, Conrad, you have certainly been staying awake for too long. After so many hours of consciousness and such a variety of actions and thoughts, the mind starts to acquire a definite kinkiness of its own.
So you got stuck on aubade... This type of aubade?
Aubade - Lingerie Femme - Soutiens-gorges - String - Tanga - Slips - Culottes - Portes-jarretelles - ...
http://www.aubade.com

Conrad H. Roth said...

Ah, dear Sutor, I can always count on you to broaden my horizons!