Spooky, even for Spokane

Spooky, even for Spokane

[This website has a piece of analytics software that tells how many people are looking at various posts, where these readers live, etc. The software does not, as far as I know how to employ it, indicate whether the user is an actual person or some piece of trolling malware. Still, one can hope, and in an effort to speak directly to the limited number of readers out there—I hesitate to term them “fans,” because who am I to judge their intentions??—this will be written directly to you, Spokane, since you’ve topped the data list the past several weeks. I hope you’ll accept my calling you you, Spokane, whoever and however many you’s you may be.]

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Even though I can barely comprehend them, I enjoy watching physics documentaries. In part I like being humbled, but more so it’s just outright fascinating, like watching nature programs about the cold deep dark seas. (So much craziness going on down there. Maybe you can relate?) Despite my limitations, what I do understand is that the universe, in both the largest and smallest senses of that term, does not function like a machine. The prior mechanistic worldview where input-x causes output-y has, like any machine, broken down, and is simply no longer up to the task of explaining how things function. All the various branches of contemporary physics seem to teach that things are a lot more spooky than we could ever comprehend.

[Spooky, in Spokane. We both know the sound of that broom scraping across the floor. Sometimes the title writes itself.]

And yet we continue to listen to neurosciences that attempt to teach us that we are basically machines, where input-x creates output-y. If such-and-such a region of your cerebellum is stimulated, you will perform such-and-such a behavior. On a surface level, I suppose that would seem true enough—we all remember the triangular pink rubber hammer and its impact upon our knees. But how we got from that biological reaction to reducing our greatest depths to such mechanistic plodding is beyond my comprehension. In doing so we abandon too much: soul, even though we know better, and allow love to be tamed to a quantifiable series of neurotransmitters coalescing.

Read enough and you’ll be told it’s awfully similar to addiction, love is. (Likely you realized by the title that love is was this is all about. You’re wily, Spokane, it’s one of the things I like about you.) Apparently both love and addiction demonstrate the same brain patterns when measured by machines designed to measure such brain patterns. They’re fancy, those machines, but I have to wonder: what would Ovid’s MRI reveal?

My point isn’t the circularity of these technologies, though that’s worthwhile thinking about—If you only accept what you can measure with your machine, then the stuff your machine can’t measure will all too likely be jettisoned, regardless its value—but this thought: anyone who argued that the Universe functions like a big machine would be laughed at by contemporary scientists, so why do we allow our selves to be reduced to such simplistic notions?

[In other words, Spokane: Est-ce-que c’est le temps a dire, Adieu, pamplemousse, ou A bientôt?]

We could dally in cosmic theories, but those aren’t things to dally in. Plus, who’s got the time? Perhaps instead we can imagine this like confronting a lake so large you’d wonder if it really was a lake; might it not be an ocean some devious soul was foisting upon you?? Seems to me the only thing would be to dive in and taste. 

There isn’t a proper ending coming: I couldn’t write one if I tried. Likely you already know this isn’t about endings. Sometimes it just doesn’t matter. (This also isn’t a daydream, but by now that’s probably all too obvious.)

I once met someone who lived in Spokane. She was right when she said, You’ll get what I give you. It was the sort of statement that left my mouth watering. Mouths that cannot be measured by machines, or only obliquely so, because it’s not the mouths but the hungering beneath them that counts. 

Goodnight, Spokane. Maybe I’ll see you around. Hungry mouths and all.

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