Lives of Quiet Desperation

All superstition is much the same whether it be that of astrology, dreams, omen, retributive judgment, or the like, in all of which the deluded believers observe events which are fulfilled, but neglect and pass over their failure, though it be much more common. (Francis Bacon, Novum Organum)

A sense of discontinuity intrudes upon the darkness of the room. Along with it is an awareness that’s heightened by the seemingly random areas of grey and lightness in the room as the external presence of the night seeps in around the edges of the blinds and curtains covering the windows.

As the eyes are drawn to the subtle differences that contrasts and delineates the boundaries of the room, the observer’s mind tumbles down a path where visual and other sensory impressions of the physical world are generated and transposed upon the canvass of the mind. (Or the brain, if you’re picky).

The juxtaposed effects of light (or its relative absence) upon the physical environment, require that associations be assigned to the sensory awareness that such interplays impose upon the observer.

Then slowly and unexpectedly the thought creeps in and bubbles to the surface: I’m thirsty! Thirsty for what, comes the reply?

Turning on the lights chases away the shadows and illuminates the path down the crafted and well travelled staircase. Below, drawing a glass of water to quench the distinct desire for something cool and liquid, the question continues to bubble.

And so, in this frame of mind, if one consider the contrasts that can be discerned between shadows (mere shades of light that define the room) the physical and the ethereal – that is the night subdued and contained within the subtle difference of greys then clarity of space and forms are easily discernible.

What’s thirst? From whence originates this need or desire that manifested itself through a sensory-regulated trigger? In fact, from where do symbols derive their being?

Does the awareness of relational association, causal relationships, their interplay and outcomes give birth to the panorama of imagination from which pure perception derives grandeur? I think. Therefore I am. Hmmmm, then again, what is thirst beyond a neural impulse or physical sensation that demands our conscious attention?

To an artist, any distinctions that may exist between the perception and the reality resides in the ability to discern differences between the relationships of the physical world and that of the imagined often results from the perceived and results in the created. This is no different than that which lie between form and function, conception and implementation, genius and madness.

So, what else, other than a desire to heed the siren call of a physiological urge can be ascribed to thirst?

A desire for knowledge, companionship, power, security, friends, family, wealth …..

More than being an idle observation, contemplation of the various possible permutations of symbols and their meaning, it’s clear that it is not the symbol, which can be verbalised, given expressions through a series of disjointed sounds – when sorted, indexed or categorised – that result in patterns that are representative of a collective: the thought processes of humanity.

The message and the messenger simultaneously become prime factors supporting Meaning and Purpose, both of which are essential in all human communication. The ‘message in the bottle’ analogy can serve to represent those factors.

The bottle itself, is the carrier, container or medium within which the message is defined – representing the form in which its meaning is gathered and transferred. It’s a constant that remains with the message itself, regardless of form. It’s the fulcrum or focal point upon which all human communication pivots: purpose. There’d be no need for human communication if there’s no common or social interaction between humans. Consequently, the state of mind of the originator of the thought, as well as its origin requires examination.

What was the source of the original sensation which sparked the the human imagination into being and set it on its course to seek ways of sharing sensations (which have since evolved into thoughts and insights into the nature of those very neural pulses) through the development and use of commonly agreed upon symbols?

To follow this train of thought, it’d seem, requires that we attempt to reel the development back in (reverse engineer, as it were). However, one soon comes to the conclusion that once the genie is out of the bottle there is no way to capture, imprison or reverse the impact that individual thoughts, words, actions and deeds have on the outcome as resultant causes or consequential effects. In fact, Mankind appears predestined to follow along this path as he journeys through Time. Unleashed, like the mythological contents of Pandora’s box, every human thought, action or deed negatively or positively imposes a thrust on the eventual outcome of that journey; some more so that others.

A message in a bottle becomes meaningless without of the existence of, or imagery of, a vast expansive ocean breaking itself apart against the shores of some distant land, witnessed by some unseen and unnamed entity who, overcome by the urge or desire share or communicate a message, sticks it in a sealed container and flings it out into the vast expanse of the ocean. Unsure and uncertain whether it will ever be received and decoded. No different from the sounds of drums booming around a forest. Someone, a receiver, is required or expected to be able to decipher, interpret and understand the symbolic meanings that are representative of transient representations of thoughts as they occurred at a particular moment in time. Without static models, how will the meanings behind the symbols be discerned, points of view be transmitted and legitimacy given to a particular sense of reality?

Without re-living the moment in time, the past, how is meaning attached to interpretation without first applying constancy to symbols and their agreed upon or social meanings. That is, what is communication; and what of its meanings?