Friday, August 13, 2010

material objects

what does one see? there is a long white hard object intended to be filled with water so one may cleanse one's external surface. by it is an item for use of excretion, which one finds oneself calculating may exist as many as one per person on this world, so numbered into the billions. on another world it would doubtless also exist but be of a different shape or size or method of disposal, perhaps buried in sand or compressed into tiny pellets.

and in the next room are many rectangular objects made of nonliving plants, large and solid ones to be sure. these may hold items on their tops or along inner surfaces. similar items of other materials also exist, as may cylindrical containers holding living plants.

and along the inner surfaces of the tallest item one finds many small rectangular items made of similar plant substance, but in thin flat sheets held together at one side. and on these sheets are symbols, processed by scanning the eye from left to right (or sometimes right to left) and with the brain interpreting them into words, and building stories or systems of information. one may also use this cylindrical item containing a dark liquid to create such symbols of one's own, often on blank sheets of this substance.

on another world, how this could be done differently? the symbols might be pressed into clay or wax perhaps (as may have been done here long ago), or woven onto cloth. or even tied into cords. but this is so linear! one at a time from left to right or right to left or top to bottom or even bottom to top! what if we departed the linear for a while? you say our eyes can only process that way, but they can also see larger, so if we had encoded clumps of symbols in 3-space, and perhaps connected by colored could see the pattern of one's area of interest, and then follow its color from clump to clump, unfolding each as it arrives, and perhaps even adding new information. or use the pattern itself to tell one where to go next; the overall shape as the summary perhaps, or the introduction. and indeed why stop at straight lines, in any direction?

and then again why stop at the eyes, or use them at all? perhaps on another world we could encode all information tonally, and perhaps even follow a line of tones from place to place. or perhaps by touch, or scent, beings with delicate feelers or noses capable of infinite distinguishment, and the texture and shape or the shifts in odor tell all! "the odyssey" written in mustard and nuts.

and yet while this is endlessly fascinating to one, one must even now remove one's forelimbs from this flat textured item and end the flow of symbols appearing before one's eyes. for one must put on one's lower limbs long pieces of woven plant material, and foot coverings of the same, and depart the premises...perhaps to hand over many pieces of colored symbol material and round metal in exchange for food and other items, often enclosed in plant or mineral-based containers. and then in time return to the room first mentioned no doubt, but of that we shall say no more, for like civilized beings everywhere we prefer to keep our excretion to ourselves.

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