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Miscellanea


broken

Posted under Miscellanea at .
Tags:psychology, zen

I read a line on a webpage a while back. Admittedly, at the time I thought — hah, sounds kind of right — and moved on. But it’s been niggling at me, and I ended up realising, no, not right. So I had to go back and find it, failed, failed to accurately remember the words, but by the marvel of search engines found what I think is the original (or at least, where it was as it seems now to be behind a paywall, but I’ve found it on the Internet Archive):

The world is so big, so complicated, so replete with marvels and surprises that it takes years for most people to begin to notice that it is, also, irretrievably broken. We call this period of research childhood.”

— Michael Chabon in the New York Book Review, 2013–01-31

The implication I understood in the context I first read (still haven’t found it) is that adults are those who have noticed that the world is irretrievably broken. And it’s that implication (which might not be the whole point in the original) to which I have to respond with an unambiguous no.

The state of mind in which we view the world as irretrievably broken might be better characterised as mopey-teenager, rather than adult. The idea goes quite well with the denial and depression stages of grieving. But really an adult — well, what do we mean by adult? A mature person? I know these words are all a bit tendentious, but there’s a point behind them, and I think it’s this:

Maturity requires acceptance. In this case, acceptance that we just live in the world, we didn’t design or make it, and it never did respond to our desires and preconceptions more than coincidentally. To consider the world broken because it doesn’t meet your expectations is not mature. (Or at least, very far from enlightened.)

To be sure, there are people who are legally adults who haven’t moved on from the mopey-teenage viewpoint; which shouldn’t be surprising as there are those of all ages who haven’t moved on from childlike marvel and surprise either. And whether it was originally intended this way or not, the quote, used by those who are still stuck in the adolescent phase, serves to infantilise those who have managed by good fortune or neurological peculiarity to skip it, or those who haven’t yet reached it. Misery loves company.

Hopefully this doesn’t come across as just an attempt to infantilise . . . well, juvenalise? . . . those who are stuck in denial and depression with regard to the world around them. I didn’t skip it, though I don’t think I’m irretrievably trapped in it either. Because: it’s not the end of the process. If you think the world is broken, it’s time to move on. Your expectations may indeed be broken, but the world is as complete and ever-changing as it always was.

I suspect enlightened maturity loves company too. If I get there I’ll let you know.


Red Dock

Posted under Miscellanea at .
Tags:photographs

Rumex obtusifolius leaf on grass Rumex obtusifolius leaf on path

Rumex obtusifolius

Doing well this year. Or at least, doing red.


Honour

Posted under Miscellanea at .
Tags:politics, satire

The Russ’s children are a wild bunch. We knew that all along. They’ve never been easy neighbours, though sometimes their parents were our friends. But yesterday we heard a scream from the little sister and wondered what it was now. Turned out that the biggest brother was dragging her into a cage he’d built. She’d been trying to get out and meet people, and the brothers didn’t like that. The littlest of them was always too small to dare to do anything himself, and too scared to talk to anyone or to disobey. So he’d helped build the cage and kept quiet.

We wondered what to do. Could we, should we, do anything? Sometimes everyone knows what’s going on, but no-one says anything. This wasn’t the first time she’d been dragged into the house and tied down, while Big Brother did whatever he wanted with her, and the Little Brother sat and watched, giggling to himself about the things he’d do when he grew up. How she got over that and still had enough nerve to talk to anyone, I don’t know. Perhaps she wants to believe that it’s good to be friendly, so long as people are friendly to you.

But this time I don’t know. I’m afraid. I’ve heard of it happening before in other villages. Maybe they’ll just tie her to the bed again and Big Brother can use her like before. Or maybe he’s so crazy about her, so mad that he’s not the only thing in her world. Maybe it’ll happen this time. Maybe he’ll say, it was an honour killing. And all the people looking for excuses will just say, well, honour. Yes, that’s important, isn’t it. It’s traditional. It’s their family business, after all.

Stop looking at me like that. You’re not helping.


Zen & the Art of Synthesiser Maintenance

Posted under Miscellanea at .
Tags:site‑admin

So, a new site? Yes, after a year of covid and code. The older site was no longer serving its original purpose, and I’m writing now mostly about . . . well, Zen & the Art of Synthesiser Maintenance seems to sum it up. (Contrary to my expectation, it seems no-one had used it before . . . ) Also I’m consolidating a few other things here which never worked very well in the old CMS, and mostly got lost in different subdirectories in earlier/other sites. (They still have their original publication dates though, near as I can work them out — anything prior to this post.)

This site will be divided into topical sections for ease of access, and will be less constrained by templates — I’m doing my own CMS. This may involve a bit more vector graphics than works well with off-the-shelf software, and anything I fancy trying out. Some pages will even have scripts for special operations, but this will always be a) handcrafted, b) lightweight, c) served from this domain, d) stated and explained, and e) honest (but don’t just trust me on that). Enter at your own pleasure over pain ratio, but feel free to contact me about visibility issues.


Another Bird in the Hand

Posted under Miscellanea at .
Tags:photographs, wildlife

Sooty
sturnus vulgaris zetlandicus, a bit soot-stained

Another one. This one, as so often, in the stove. Not sure how long it was there, probably less than a day. A bit more cantankerous than the last, and a bit sooty. (These two things may be related.) You’d think birds would have the sense not to fly down a dark reeky hole, but then it’s been so warm this year that even in mid-December we haven’t had the fire on. I suppose we should light it if only to make it smell a bit more daunting.


Evening Waxwing

Posted under Miscellanea at .
Tags:photographs, wildlife

red waxwing perched in a hedge
Bombycilla garrulus garrulus (I think)

Almost got it. These are very interesting birds, so I have the ambition to take a good photograph of them one day. But they’re a bit too fast. You see red waxwings, but not for long. Usually blur-red waxwings when you get a camera near them. So long as they keep coming back for the berries and rosehips I think there’s a chance.


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