Bat of the Day #1668
I’ve found this move rather difficult to explain to people, so tonight I asked a fellow climber to…
There’s an art form not commonly recognized in the static backgrounds of the pixel era, where silhouettes meet the neon-glow gradients that could only be produced in the circuit boards of primitive gaming technology. Yet there’s a unique kind of tranquility to be found in the serene pixelscapes and zen-like mantras found at tumblr: cameos, who finds the rich, meditative calm in never-ending retro gaming.
With seven million people, Hong Kong is the 4th most densely populated places in the world. However, plain numbers never tell the full story. In his ‘Architecture of Density’ photo series, German photographer Michael Wolf explores the jaw-dropping urban landscapes of Hong Kong. He rids his photographs of any context, removing any sky or horizon line from the frame and flattening the space until it becomes a relentless abstraction of urban expansion, with no escape for the viewer’s eye. Infinite and haunting.
Editor’s Note: Co-signed.
We have made this world into such a strange place.
Tint of the Day #1666
I take a nap in the park knowing that I’ll never quite sink into sleep. The wind will continue to…
Notion of the Day #1665
Conversation yesterday drifted to the question of whether language is necessary for thought. It’s an old debate, but I don’t think it’s worthy of any controversy; observation of animal behavior, or close attention to one’s own inner processes, shows pretty clearly that thoughts can exist independent of language. A more interesting subject, I think, is what exactly language does to thought – how it streamlines thought, how it obstructs it, how it changes the actual content of it.
How often do you pay attention to the actual form of your thoughts? Do you have an internal monologue? An imaginary dialogue with a friend you associate with the subject at hand? A visual model of the idea, slowly pressed and molded and refined like soft clay? A visceral manifestation of the notion, like a glow between your ribs or a tingling in your fingertips? A mathematical relation that’s not quite lucid enough to solve? A suggestion of words in the back of your mind, with the rhythm and lilt of actual conversation but no coherent meaning? A six-part musical composition you couldn’t possibly tease apart and put on paper?
Language provides a handle for thoughts, lets you grip your ideas and – most importantly – share them with others, but I’m occasionally disappointed by the whole mechanism. There are times when I have some notion, a little nebula of sensations and feelings and imagery, and I can’t find the words I need to express them properly – often because the words simply don’t exist. Human languages are deep and vast and do a fantastic job of capturing our experiences, but they still have a finite number of words; there’s a certain granularity to even the greatest vocabulary that limits how finely we can represent the fluid unexpressed thoughts flowing through our minds. If words are the building blocks of communication, it doesn’t matter if you’re using Lego or Duplo – you will never be able to build a perfect model of what you’re really thinking. Instead of recreating my thoughts with words, I simply build a frame around them, a rough approximation, and I hope it’s good enough to convey what I really want it to.
And sometimes, when the notion is particularly nebulous, after I’ve tried to articulate it, the original thought has completely dissipated, or perhaps been reshaped to conform to the limits of my words. All I have left is the linguistic frame, a poor facsimile of what I originally felt.
Or written word is thought freeze-dried and vacuum-sealed, insulated from the force of time – but it must be reconstituted with the reader’s mental juices to be understood, and will always lack some elusive flavor that can only be tasted in the author’s mind. Reading someone else’s writing is the closest I can get to another person’s thoughts, but it’s never quite there.
Writing – and music, and art, and every other kind of human interaction – serves to close that gap that divides every mind from every other, and it does this beautifully. So much is still unsaid, though – so many ideas that just can’t escape from the minds they’re born in.
I want to know you.
And I know I had other things to say here, but finding these words has let my other thoughts escape, like birds fleeing a cage while you reach for their one hapless brother.
It’s fine. I have many days yet ahead, and some of these birds will return.
Silk of the Day #1664
This wish-fragment is stopped on its journey to come true – and by something so slight, almost too…
Squirrel of the Day #1663
The squirrels of UC Berkeley are fearless and curious, but I would like them even if I could only…
Scar of the Day #1662
For the last 20 years or so, my dad’s bathroom ceiling has been slowly tearing itself open. It…
Clash of the Day #1661
This is the only photo I took today – a quick snapshot from above the handlebars as I raced to…