Friday, March 09, 2012

The Iceberg Addendum: Atlantis Iceberg

Atlantis iceberg
hits folksingers on sailboats
and they both go down.

Who can explain
The thunder and rain
But there’s something in the air

from “Don’t Get Me Wrong”
by Chrissie Hynde
quoted in Pluto In Magic And Alchemy

Understanding a thing is to arrive at a metaphor for that thing by substituting something more familiar to us. And the feeling of familiarity is the feeling of understanding.

Generations ago we would understand thunderstorms perhaps as the roaring and rumbling about in battle of superhuman gods. We would have reduced the racket that follows the streak of lightning to familiar battle sounds, for example. Similarly today, we reduce the storm to various supposed experiences with friction, sparks, vacuums, and the imagination of bulgeous banks of burly air smashing together to make the noise. None of these really exist as we picture them. Our images of these events of physics are as far from the actuality as fighting gods. Yet they act as the metaphor and they feel familiar and so we say we understand the thunderstorm.

This week started and ended with posts that were similar but about completely different topics.

On Monday I did the post “Memories Lost In The Canals Of Mars” where I talked about having a weird mental glitch for dealing with images of people I know. I can draw faces, such as in “Curious About A Curious Woman,” but I almost always only feel any urge to do it if I am drawing someone I don’t know. I don’t know what the mental deal is. I can write poetry or fiction about people I know. I can write songs about people I know. But I have trouble dealing with images of people I know.

Early Friday I did the post “The Orchestra As Torture” where I talked about having a weird mental glitch for learning about classical music. I think of myself as loving music, overall. And I can play guitar as well as many amateur guitar players. I can write songs, or arrange pop songs I enjoy, like I did in “Blows Against The (Expensive) Empire.” But I have trouble dealing with classical music. I have trouble organizing in my mind the little I know about classical music, and I have trouble talking to people who are knowledgeable about classical music because I get this sense—and I guess this is entirely subjective, inside my head—I get this sense people who are knowledgeable about classical music must have some kind of deeper awareness of existence itself than I have, they must have tools for thinking and understanding that I’ve never even handled.

Between Monday and Friday I’ve been thinking about these two topics and I think they are the only instances I’m aware of where, in my mind, I get all tangled-up and have trouble thinking.

I was pretty good at tournament chess when I played. I knew a couple of prodigies who were vastly better than I was, but I didn’t find myself having trouble thinking about chess just because it was complicated or because many people could do things I couldn’t do.

I wasn’t very good at tennis when I played, but then, too, I knew a couple of semi-pro players and a former pro player who could do things on court I couldn’t even imagine myself doing. But that never caused me to stumble against odd mental roadblocks trying to think about tennis.

I could go on and on. Simple topics. Complicated topics. I’ve been fortunate, maybe even blessed, to know a lot of accomplished people in a lot of different disciplines and almost without exception my interactions with such people have been positive, and I’ve enjoyed developing whatever little faculties I’ve been able to muster-up in all sorts of pursuits.

But working with images of people I know, and working with classical music, have always given me trouble and continue to do so.

Isn’t that weird?

I don’t get the feeling when I introspect that these two issues are, so to speak, the tips of psychological icebergs, little visible parts of giant submerged problems.

But when I briefly talked about this with someone she just laughed and said: “That’s how icebergs work—the little bit you see doesn’t give you any indication of the shape of the giant chunk beneath the surface.

Atlantis iceberg
wrecks you and takes you down but
down to:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Freedom From The Wild/Lost In Metonymy

The Occult Technology Of Lost Songs

No comments: