Well, it’s Friday morning, and for those of you with a typical* American work week, I’ll say a “TGIF” on your behalf, though as I said yesterday, I work tomorrow.
That’s an interesting combination of tenses, isn’t it? I’ll say, I said, I work, tomorrow…most of the whole latter half of that sentence is a mishmash of inconsistent, time-related words, and yet, as far as I can tell, it makes sense. Please let me know if I’m wrong about that.
I’m still very tired from the fiascos with the trains Wednesday, and from sleeping on the floor in the office Wednesday night. Nevertheless, on the way back to the house yesterday, I got an early enough train that I decided to walk back from the train station, despite being tired. So, between Wednesday morning and Thursday evening I walked a total of about nine miles, and the athletic tape I put on the blister on my right foot seems to have done a good job at protecting it.
I did then pick at the blister a bit as I was lying down last night, and I might have irritated it some, since it’s slightly sore now. That might just be from the longish walk back from the train last night. Or, of course, it could be both. There could even be unrecognized influences causing soreness. Occam’s Razor pushes against that last bit—I’m unaware of any possible other causes so far, and I have potential known causes that can explain what I find and feel—but it doesn’t give any direction to the choice between the other two things or their combination.
I work tomorrow, as I said before, so I should write a blog post then. I don’t know what I’m going to write about, but then again, I have no idea what I’m going to write about today, and yet I’ve already written some 360 words.
I think I’ve noted previously how this writing about nothing that nevertheless goes on and on seems almost related to the more ordinary thing called “small talk”, when people get together and discuss things that are of no consequence, really, and which are not planned in advance. I gather that small talk serves some manner of social cohesion building, an interaction for the sake of interacting, done verbally in humans, since largely hairless house apes no longer need to pick Arthropoda from each other’s fur.
Small talk seems at some level essentially to consist of people saying to each other, “I’m a person you know and are socially bonded with, and you are a person I know and am socially bonded with. We are part of the same community or tribe, at least at some level.” I guess that’s useful, and even powerful, in an ultra-social species like humans.
Heck, even scientists and mathematicians get together at conferences**, or hang out together at lunch time. Apart from this being a social bonding thing, it probably really helps to trigger and stimulate new ideas, as separate minds throw their thoughts into interactions with other minds, coming from varying points of view, triggering new thoughts and new insights that a single brain could not as easily produce.
Of course, reading (and listening to podcasts and audiobooks, and watching videos) can also bring on such new thoughts and ideas, sometimes in slightly deeper ways. But there is no mutual, “real time” give and take, which can in the right circumstances lead to a seemingly near-miraculous bootstrapping of ideas. Just imagine what the conversations were like when Gödel and Einstein hung out and went for walks together in Princeton!
Meanwhile, Robert Elessar, not sane, stood by himself against his blogs, holding darkness within.
Ha ha, that’s just me having a bit of fun with a slight paraphrase of part of the first paragraph (also part of the last paragraph) of The Haunting of Hill House. (That’s also what’s happening in the blog title and in one of the footnotes.)
That has to be one of the best openings to a book this side of “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”*** And, of course, ““No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own…” from The War of the Worlds. Or a more recent favorite: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit,” from a book the title of which escapes me****. Oh, well…call me Ishmael, if you must.
I don’t think I really have much more to write today, though something else may occur to me. This has very much been a blog about nothing, but then again, that’s probably a decent metaphor for the very universe itself. A lot seems to go on, at various levels, but there doesn’t seem to be any central theme or topic or subject, unless you count the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
Even if you don’t count that, though, it still applies. That’s the way of “reality”—it doesn’t depend on your awareness, or on anyone’s awareness. Indeed, all such awareness is but a tiny little portion of reality itself. Reality is that which exists whether you believe in it or not. If you have doubts about that, just consider what happens to people who die sudden, unexpected deaths, as from a surprise bomb attack or similar. Not knowing that bombs exist or that an attack was coming would not protect against them.
Ask the dinosaurs. Oh, wait, you can’t. They’re all gone*******.
See what I mean? Have a nice day.
*Is it really typical anymore? I wonder what percentage of American workers overall actually work Monday through Friday nowadays.
**And even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. See below (in the main body, not in the footnotes) for the source of that line.
***Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. Surely the very title of that book, as well as its first sentence, would put it on the chopping block in the minds of the puritanical thought police of modern offense mongering.
****It doesn’t really escape me, of course. It’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, obviously*****.
*****Seriously, I know it’s not. I doubt there’s any book I’ve read more often than The Hobbit, if only because there have been quite a few times when I’ve started The Lord of the Rings and ended up stopping not long after the battle of Helm’s Deep, which is one of my favorite parts. The early Frodo/Sam/Gollum stuff in the latter part of The Two Towers is sometimes a lot to slog through.
*******Except for birds, of course, which really are descended from therapod dinosaurs and are, in a very real sense, extant dinosaurs. I’m picking nits with my own words—figuratively, at least, since I do not engage in mutual grooming with any other primates if I can help it—but that’s fine with me.