It’s odd that I should be writing about snow on such a sunny day, but maybe it won’t be long before England once again is carpeted in the wonderful stuff; here’s hoping.
I have been thinking about thinking and memory. Specifically whether we can ‘think’ without language. Yes. Language; the all pervasive tool that envelops us and and defines us. We use it to attempt to make sense of the world and control and define everything. But, like trying to grasp Plato’s shadows, we always seem to fail.
We live in an age of effervescent text and gaudy image, instantly and endlessly communicating to each other through ever more complex and competing technologies; it’s hard to think that we will be heard, let alone understood. The capacity for misunderstandings seem endless to me.
I am hooked on these technologies I admit, twittering away like a lone sparrow sitting on a telegraph wire in the wind. Those engaged in these activities continually make and break brief (and sometimes not so brief) relationships with strangers. A thing inconceivable ten or fifteen years ago. Who would have thought that such things as Twitter or ‘Second Life’ would exist? Now people fall in love and marry people they meet first online. From other continents. The global traffic of information is astonishing and can even lead to revolutions. The Arab spring, another amazingly inconceivable thing! A Facebook revolution…
A hundred or a hundred and fifty years ago, most only knew of their town or village. News from other continents was slow or non existent. People lived and married and worked with people they knew and did mostly what they were expected to do. Were they more content? Now we are presented with such plethora and choice. The problem is what do we choose?
Maybe all of this new world is fakery, like Baudrillard’s ‘simulacra’; an endless watery stream of consciousness pretending to be reality. The written words are released from our keyboards to be stored in some faceless mainframe we will never see. But can it be forever?
Perhaps in twenty years our children will laugh at our obsessions; “You actually used an IPad?” – who can conceive what wonders they will obsess about?
You must wonder where I am going with all of this. Well like most of my writing I don’t know until I get there, just like life. But at the end of the day I know that memories fade and fall, to be replaced by new ones. The language we use continues to fail us, and yet we still try to communicate and connect, over and over.
In the end does it matter?
Like footprints in the snow, our writing, communications, thoughts, memories and feelings will fade. But wasn’t it glorious to tread there even for a fleeting moment? What do you think?
© 2011 Simon Poore