Two or Fewer

I have a circular table that can spin and roll, with two layers, handy for book access. The glass and curved openings in its construction make it spatially noninvasive and conducive to impatient hands that grab at said books. The table attracted a European furniture catalogue sales company whose production offer stipulated that the design be simplified... as all their goods need to be understood in two or fewer photos. I present this vignette as a sign of our times.
The second story is of space fruit which essentially uses electric light to produce food from yeast on spacecraft. Nicola Twilley describes it as "making visible that new seasonality of the void, culturing alternate layers of symbiotic bacteria to provide a cross-sectional grain" (emphasis added). The question here being whether man can take seasons into his own hands.
My stubborn mind insists, if only to me, that this is also the attempt made by modern literature, as it takes everything into itself as it gorges on stream of thought, disordered dreams, stories within stories with "hardly any meaning left" (viz). The whole world in our hands, not His, as London sang in the 1950's hit.
Some people say that belief is the weakness of the mind, but surely the positivist impetus behind space fruit is also a belief: that man can manufacture exactly the food he wants, overcoming limitations. This belief may also be blinding, as is the fact that said food industry makes ersatz saccharine that is harmful to health. But it is peddled in two photos or fewer: the garlic-eating gum-chewer, Barbie drinking diet soda.
Real sugars require washing, consumption before rotting, knowledge of preparation. Two or fewer photos is taking the box out of the freezer and putting it in the microwave.
Two or fewer photos is knowledge as priding modern over ancient. Because the modern is already homogenized. It is the language we are born into - few reach other perspectives. So it is possible for some to label themselves intellectuals because they have gone through the confusion of Ulysses. The world is wor(l)dplay! We are lost in the digressions of Tristram Shandy, plagiarisms of modernity. In the two photos, we become parodies of ourselves.
But what is true might not be apparent in a picture: we may not know a priori what we may come to know. "We infer more than we see," wrote William Whewell, who worked from the idea that our ideas as shadows of Divine Ideas (viz. Third Bridgewater Treatise). His understanding was ordered by a larger category of ideas as they are in Platonism. This runs contrary to the modernism of "copies of copies" (viz. Deleuze and Guattari). Facts with no guiding principles - just like the demise of schooling. Once upon a time, the bad students were exposed to some form of submission to lessons: today, the bad lesson is simplified for the student, a mockery of aphorisms. Wisdom deracinated on the stage where it takes on a new life without meaning is the one photo I would end with if I hadn't gone past the two or few limit paragraphs ago.

No comments:

Post a Comment