Had an interesting article pop up on my Twitter feed this morning. It was posted by a youngish (and increasingly successful – good on him!) New York publishing agent and linked to an article titled, “Why the First Novel Created Such a Stir” Here is a quote: “…This was one of the reasons book inspired […]
Since I’m using a mouse to draw and am pressed for time here’s a typed up transcript of the dialogue. I think I’m going to draw with pen and paper until I get a Graphics Tablet. Thanks for stopping by.
Suit Guy: And in this pocket is a pair of tickets, the sickest of merch!
Suburban Badass: Hey bruh, a ticket, a band can’t live off of ticket sales.
Suit Guy: Uh, so we’re just gonna be Yuppies and compare the virtues of our spending habits?
Suburban Badass: Yuppie?! You’re the one wearing a suit!
I looked around to see who was holding the remote. Nobody seemed to be.
I looked at the screen. It was a repeat of the ten o’clock news.
At the end of the broadcast for this particular township, there was a quirky little segment called: “News of the Weird.”
That’s what was playing now.
“Well, Alison,” the anchor said, “you know that maps can be deceiving?”
“Whaddaya mean Pete?”
“Well, maps are just projections, they’re abstractions from reality suited for purposes like navigation, and often times affected by the place that map makers call home.”
“So, did you know that Brazil is actually pretty much the same size as the United States?”
“Well, I know it’s big, I think it’s the biggest country in South America.”
“That’s right! It takes up half the continent’s land area. To give you an idea of just how big that is, the United States is 9,833,517 sq km, while Brazil is about 8,515,770 sq km.”
“Wow, that’s pretty close.”
“That’s right, and you can bet that such a big area, most of which is shrouded in thick rainforest holds many mysteries and surprises.”
“I don’t doubt it, Pete. So I guess you musta fished something wild from the info stream?”
“I sure did. Take a look at this,”
The screen cut to an aerial video above some canopy, in the midst of which was a field, and in the field were some rocks. At the periphery, we could see the faint line of a river.
“You see Alison, yin, and yang, do happen, there is a little of the bad in the good and the good in the bad… deforestation in all its destructiveness may have just presented the best case for its cessation.”
“O yea, how so?”
“What we’re looking at here is the northeast of Brazil, in the state of Amapá, more specifically the municipality of Calçoene. Here, a farmer who was clearing land for grazing stumbled upon those rocks you see.”
“What’s so special about those rocks?”
“Well, they’re what’s known as megaliths, giant blocks of geology arranged by ancient man for mysterious purposes. This particular arrangement is very peculiar and along with other evidence is revolutionizing the way that we look at ancient cultures. It has been dubbed the Stonehenge of the Amazon since part of the formation seems to align with the sun during the winter solstice.”
“Wow, that’s wild!”
“At 2.1 million square miles, The Amazon Rainforest, and its surroundings are sure to hold much wilder things. Perhaps this discovery will spur us to be more cautious with this irreplaceable natural wonder.”
“Let’s hope so! That’s all for tonight’s news of the weird.”
A pharmaceutical ad began running.
Image Source (and a great story)
Suggested Further Reading
Since the ‘post as you write’ way of doing things has certain options that ‘nonlive’ publications don’t, I’ll insert a reading suggestion for a really fantastic bit of long-form journalism: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2005/09/19/the-lost-city-of-z
That story will definitely factor into The Sketch of Sam Monroe as it unfolds.
Apologies to anyone who may have been annoyed by this break in continuity.
The link was important and meritorious enough to warrant the risk of being tacky.
I’m launching a series that’s kinda philosophical in nature. Feels a bit pompous to say that but that really is it: a feeflowing foray into methods and philosophies and what they can teach us about the world.
I’m not attempting to shed any kind of new light here. Though if that happens in an emergent way that’s swell. There are two reasons for doing philosophy or any kind of analysis in my opinion:
1) To discover some new truth
2) Maintenance – understanding why what you know is true, and sharpening your abilities to discern truth and effective philosophies/methods
I will primarily be doing the latter. I think it more important in the same way that exercising regularly is more important than trying to max out.
Generalities and Specifics
When you analyze anything – you do so in either a general or specific way – in a microcosmic or macrocosmic scope.
You either see the forest or the trees.
This well-known concept called perspective bears visiting and revisiting.
That’s the curious thing about philosophy, whenever you run its various algorithms, you come up with iterations that are either entirely new or new to yourself. Which if you’re paying attention will inevitably lead to a deeper appreciation of life and perhaps augmented faculties.
Sort of like expanding your verbal vocabulary will allow you to know more, to express more, the study of philosophy and method: will allow you to know what you don’t know which in a curious reversal will allow you to know more truly.
The hunt for veracity, the pruning of the wild garden of concept, history, and method begins with perspective. It begins with generalities and specifics.
Why come up with these words. Why not just say perspective?
Well, I think that it’s important to highlight the sketching nature of inquiry. It’s not a laserlike, precise, engineering, sort of thing; at least not most of the time. Seeing that the general can be specific and the specific can be the general – will allow the sort of flexibility which will eventually provide the strength of sinew and ligament requisite for the precise and utilitarian glory of a piston or microprocessor.
That is the thing that seems to be forgotten more and more as more and more generations are undergoing the sterile process of common core. Philosophy, you see, is the forefather of mathematics, which is the forefather of science, which is the forefather of the technique that allows for 4g streaming. We seem to have let this fact get a tad dusty.
All these disciplines are various levels of generalities and specifics and often intertwine. Philosophy and mathematics must still be applied to the theories derived from the data derived from the scientific method. Here again is evidence of the fractal nature of inquiry of generalities and specifics.
Philosophy is perhaps the most general brush. The thing that allows us to set the scene, to paint in the background.
The unfortunate thing is that it has gotten a bad name. And it has gotten a bad name because many of its practitioners forget that they are sketching. I’m not at the present talking about the various schools and professional philosophers that you will encounter in any given Philosophy 101 course.
I’m talking about conversation.
I am talking about conversation because everyone does philosophy. Conversation as long as it strays beyond the weather and favorite flavors of ice cream will eventually take a philosophical turn. In fact, one can look at the entire history of inquiry as basically one continuous conversation facilitated by the advent of the printing press, and prior to that, the traditions and practices of various conservatories both secular and religious.
I am not only talking about conversation in general but a more specific type of conversation known as public discourse.
General conversation leads to the specific conversation of public discourse which leads to various societal, technological, legal, artistic, and historic outcomes that are either glorious or tragic.
In a society of frantic actors who all believe themselves to be put upon entrepreneurs, conversation can also get a bad name – And it can get a bad practice.
Empty talk! Actions speak louder than words! Etc. ad naseum.
Well, supposing I told you that there’s a cliff you’re about to fall off, then the value of words will certainly become aparent, and quickly!
Actions are certainly more exciting than conversation and often times more efficacious. Since direct experience at times allows you to learn far more than poring over the most erudite tome, of the most illustrious thinker.
Yet when you’ve had the experience you must be able to contextualize it, in order to more effectively remember it, to be able to share it with others and to know what of the experience was real.
It is here that conversation goes awry because most people don’t contextualize their experiences, they don’t classify it into generalities and specifics very effectively, and share it in a raw sort of form.
This report of impressions while initially useful will if not expounded and improved upon with the rigorous methods of philosophy and logic, eventually lead to faulty conclusions and reinforced biases.
This is why today as always it is painfully apparent that most people, even cautious people, myself included, more often than not simply exchange talking points, and return quickly to the comforting arms of prosaics like: which beer?
One shouldn’t try to force deeper conversations. One should not make it a chore. The thing I am calling for is to be aware of where on the ‘generalities and specifics’ spectrum you find yourself during conversation. This is a call for being better aware of when exactly you are engaging in pundit style banter and smalltalk and when you’ve hit upon something profound.
This ability hinges on the capactiy for philsophy something that arises from a combination of knowledge and practice.
Philosophy is really method, or rather philosophy is the ur-method which allows you to form new methods with structural integrity.
What I am calling for is some reading, is some thinking, is some attention. All thigns which should provide you with the realization that most of your conclusions are lacking. That conversations, ideas, and actions dervied from lacking conclusions will compound into an obfuscating cloud that may compromise your ability to enjoy life and see truth.
It is a difficult thing, that begins with a more careful examination of generalities and specifics of who, what, where, and how? Of words like any, many, some, always, never, etc.
It is a difficult thing that I myself don’t always live up.
Here is an admitedly dry and somewhat impenetrable little volume that may, given some patience, give you a start.
Jesse’s eyes darted around the room. He seemed reticent on the matter, which was odd given how eager he had been to implicate us as whatever supposed villains he’d seen.
“Well…” I said, drumming my fingers impatiently on a mahogany table.
“There were five of ‘em, or at least I think so, ‘t’sall real hazy, two real tall ones in hats with big brims, so I couldn’t make out the face, and three guys in khakis and golfing shirts.”
“Khakis and golfing shirts, truly Satanic…” Lucas quipped.
“Anyway they looked like foreigners and they were strong, big guys, crew cuts, two was carrying cases and backpacks and one was carryin’ some kinda rope.”
“Maybe Thorton is into BDSM. He does always say he’s tied up…” Chuck guffawed.
“Shh…I wanna hear this…”
“Well I musta followed em for about forty minutes or so, I made sure to stay back far…far…I didn’ like tha look o them tall ones with the hats, somethin’ was wrong with their hands, though I was too far away to tell wut.”
He seemed to have a hard time recollecting.
“Then I saw ‘em come to some kinda clearing with a buncha granite and such in it. They dropped all their stuff and started setting up somethin’. The guy with the rope tied it around three trees into a triangle and the two tall ones stood in the center of it, back to back.”
“Sounds like some high caliber LARPING.” Sam couldn’t help himself. “Didn’t you once go dumpster diving with a chub that was into all that Wicca shit?” He asked looking at Graham who was as creepy and unresponsive as he’d been for the past four hours.
“Sam, shut your fucking mouth, I don’t get to hear bullshit this good very often.” Lucas said.
“It ain’t bullcrap, it ain’t, I saw it, I swear, one o the tall ones pointed an arm straight down in a perfect kinda angle the other raised his and bent it at the elbow kinda a pointin at the sky with the weirdest gnarled finger…then…
They started makin’ sounds. Weird sounds, unholy sounds, they was nothin like that I had herd before, it was a sort hum and shriek and chant all at ones, low and pulsating, the three commando looking guys had set up some kinda box with a revolving sort of stone on it, and one was holdin a panel..I dunno there was a lot goin on but it was all somehow related…to them lights, cause soon, the whole place got real weird, real dizzy like, it was almost like stars and such had come to earth, it go real dark but I could still see trees n sky, n ground, and then tha ground, it got all inky, n them glowing christmas lights dun sorta ooze out of em and buzz about, and in the light o that buzzin…I saw…”
There was a long pause.
“I saw the face o tha tall ones under the hats, they was rong, not people faces, they had real rough lookin skin, and no noses, and the eyes were large, kinda like snake eyes…”
“Then I saw it look at me, and ….”
This time the pause was uncomfortably long. More than eight minutes of silence interspersed with prodding.
“Ok, so how did you end up in the Lodge, and how did you avoid our suppressive systems? That would be the ear-splitting pulse weapon we have to play with.”
“I don’t remember no sound except for that throbbin thing just before I dropped my gun and found myself all damp by that cold lake…”
“Yeah, but you got in here somehow…”
“I don’t remember…”
“Anybody leave anythin open..”
“Thass right…! Ya’ll is wicked I recall now makin my way on muh hands and knees and I saw two doors open to the dark and stairs…”
“The root cellar…” I said palming my face.
“I saw them pillars n skulls, n runes, n such yall had in there… yall is wicked too.”
“It’s not what it looks like.”
“Government-funded voodoo?” Pierce chuckled.
“I wouldn’t put it past ‘em.” Fabre remarked with rueful vehemence.