Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Where meaning is

  The weather?  Indeed it is an outrage, sether Albert, but there is no remedy.  The most powerful on earth, corporations and their functionary governments, even they are powerless to reverse the effects of sudden stratospheric warming, even if they cared, and why should they?  They are not standing in a layby on the Huddersfield ring road, looking for the truth.
  Which we are, sethren.  Enough of weather.
  We are still looking at demons, for demons are at the heart of the matter.  But before we nail a demon, there is a confusion to be tied up.  Language, words, all that stuff that vibrates through the air and the non-existent ether, all the stuff that is locked up in the dark in closed books or in the entrails of a Kindle or a laptop, and of which there is an abundant store in all our heads, or most of them; language is different from demons.  Language is merely coded allusion.  Note, sethren, I said allusion, not illusion, though it can be that too.  Language is a sort of signalling system, flashing lights, waving flags, between the little universes in our skulls, each our own ideoverse.  In prehistory, language was always instantaneous, but in time, writing could freeze it, or more truly petrify it, or paint it onto flat surfaces with ink, and nowadays language can travel through little electrical switches, on or off, 0 or 1, to be or not to be, in the beginning was the word, by the waters of Babylon, in the Dreamtime they wandered the earth, I entered the holy land of Kurukshetra.  All flag waving, a way of getting stuff from one of us to another.  “But what’s the stuff?” you cry out with one voice.   You cry out with one voice.  Thank you sether Pritchard-Achebe-Wajda, one voice will have to do.
  The stuff — is meaning.  Meaning.  I know, I know.  That way lies endless circularity.
  Let me approach it this way.
  Of course.  Of.  Course.  Each of these is a word.  The word of suggests a relationship.  The word course suggests some sort of progression, a cross country race, the journey of one's life, an associated but conditional something or other of a river.
  We could go on for a long time, but it’s the two words together that I’m looking at here.  Of course. It can suggest that:
  We all accept that x is axiomatic.
  The group I am about to refer to are in error (“Of course, some people think…)
  Most certainly.
  Certainly not (“Of course” said with a quizzical, ironic smile).
  What else can I say? (“Do you love me?”  “Of course.”)
  I do realise that reservations would be in order here (“Of course there is the Bayesian analysis to be taken into account.”) — No idea, sether Constance, it is possible to use words without having a clear understanding of what they mean.  Try reading some science journalists, let alone economists.
  Do you think I’m entirely stupid (“Of course I knew that.”
  Enough.  What this makes clear is that words and phrases do not have meanings.  What they do is to make connections, physical, material connections, through the ear, to a bit of the brain with a fancy name which is clearly interconnected with all the other bits of the brain in one way or another, and thence onwards to that infinite network where meaning exists.  I read only today that one human brain processes 300,000 petabytes of data a year.  I think that’s 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, but I was never so good at the counting, especially all those zeros.  A lot anyway.  Of course a lot of a lot will be repetitive; hello, sorry, excuse me, fuck off, that kind of thing, but even those have considerable amounts of meaning lurking behind their black and white exteriors.  So that infinite 4D network in the brain where meaning exists may have loops and recursiveness about it, but it’s still infinite.  And each infinite network of meaning, each ideoverse, is connected, physically connected, in any way we can possible understand physics, to every other infinite network of meaning, every other ideoverse, literally, physically connected (just check this; take these words as they get into your brain, electromagnetically through the eye, and check the physical continuity from the brain of Brother Jero.  If not, how else did Jero get there?).  And this continuum between each and every ideoverse (each one unique) and between all those ideoverses and the universe, we might call the metaverse, the space where all infnities of meaning exist.
  I just want to make it clear, sethren, that I am not labouring under a delusion here.  I am not proposing a metaphysical entity (nothing so disturbing, sether Albert).  I am merely suggesting that meaning is distributed, not to be found in one place, and that physical objects are part of the location of meaning, an actual chair, an actual Higgs boson, all are loci of meaning, demons fly out of them as well as into them (I name this pad, i-)
  Hunger, sethren, hunger calls you I see.  What is the meaning of horse?  Last week, scandal that the poor were fed on the slurry blasted from the noble beast’s guts and bones, and this week the beneficiaries of our pluto-fascist kleptocracy are eating the best cuts of Arabian Thoroughbred in the best restaurants of the metropolis.  Subway, is it?  Till tomorrow.  Tomorrow we will try to see a demon with the naked eye.

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