The heated effervescent mudpits of the American South West

Now I noticed that someone had visited the post on my blog – it gets very few visitors – titled “It is never right to do wrong or requite wrong with wrong” — a quotation from The Crito. And I pondered or rehearsed it: It is never right to do wrong or requite wrong with wrong, which seemed refreshing and straight forward and a phrase really to make a part of oneself through repetition of the words.

. Looking up vacuole having used that word in an attempt to describe my evening meal of corn mush, the large bubble produced in it suggesting the heated effervescent mudpits of the American South West. Thought the word was derived from geology and indicated heating vents but was in fact derived from biology and meant the membrane of a cell. How would I have mixed that up, perhaps I had just misspelled it, but why would I have even known that word well enough to have misused it. Thought I had perhaps come across it in an An Octopus but searching the internet for the poem, and then searching the poem for the passage, I find the line I had been looking for contains no mention of hot springs, heating vents or vacuoles –“perched on chimney pots and cleavers,” was the line I’d been thinking might involve vacuoles. Funny how the meaning of words can, as it were, “slip locationally”, — I was just looking up the etymology for chimney which appears to have initially meant the room where a fire was kept before it “slipped locationally” to mean what we now know it to mean, the architectural feature of a room that vents smoke; something similar with the word to browse which meant “to bud” then came to mean “to feed on buds”; something similar with word “hearse” which, a bit more complicated, had I think first indicated the rake one used on a gravesite before it became the vehicle or conveyance that carried corpses to graves. Vacuole had probably entered my consciousness most recently through reading of how everyday soap was effective at killing the corona virus: soap somehow separated or otherwise made to rupture its outer membrane or vacuole. (As I think of it, I’m not sure it is true to say there are “effervescent mudpits” in the Southwestern states; I had more been thinking of Wyoming.)

Looked up cretaceous period (period?) having thought again the previous night what a shame it was I didn’t know basic things like what sort of sand, if it was sand, the sidewalk was constituted of, and what sort of sedimentary rock that sediment in the curbs might eventually become, (was there such a thing as projective or predictive geology, where people predicted what sort of rocks might arise, the rocks of the future? Was geological sci-fi a thing? Or are the rocks of the future the rocks of the past? Because there was no beginning and no end to rocks really –) and what was the age of the rock beneath this paved lane, and weren’t all rocks the same age as other rocks and as old as they earth…? (Of course, everything is as old as the universe, from a certain point of view, but when and how did certain rocks come to have the attributes they now have, is the proper question? What attributes did they have before and which will they have later?) Remembering that Wizard of Earthsea Idea of what a writer was, as one who knew the names of things. As Joyce described water’s passage from the reservoir to the tap to know how this patch of concrete came to be poured here, etc. These really possible wizards and magi of the world of today who identify exactly that tree, that bird, that color. Could see in this wikipedia page I’m gazing at not just the text it presented but the code that organized and transmitted it. Similarly in their perceptions: they didn’t see the mere tree but, through knowledge, could see as well the code that presented it in this precise format, this day. (If the tree is analogous to a wikipedia article, then all the information pertaining to the tree I would liken to the code that creates the article while all the code written to read the page –the browser, e.g.– I would liken to the day in time the tree has been encountered.)

Identifications qua lasers and forcefields

It is by naming or identifying things that we bring them into our intimate existence: I never quite saw that the lid of that kettle was held in place by black electrical tape until I have said it — seeing it, noticing it, isn’t strong enough a laser to burn away our dulling premonitions and assumptions of ordinariness. The opposite is also true: only by identifying things with a name can we defend ourselves from unconsciously incorporating them into ourselves, sloth, gluttony, prejudice, stupidity, the like, against which things words operate as forcefields, briefly illumining them before burning them up — that is why we will call ourselves stupid when will do something of that stripe — to burn it off, keep it away. A principle is a kind of forcefield and name (“It is never right to do wrong….“). Of course — the words we know aren’t always enough or rehearsed enough. Our forcefield has not been brought up to strength.

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