Log in

No account? Create an account
bird poops on plum branch


Buster Benson

No advice column.

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
relationships, meaning, cheese
gray haired professor
I had this idea about relationships where with one person, or one anything, there is only one thing to consider... itself. But with two people, or two anythings, there are suddenly at least five things to consider:

1) Person A

2) Person B

3) The relationship between Person A and Person B... for example, given any two people there will be a relationship between them that varies along at least two dimensions: there is the dimension of attraction or repulsion. Which isn't quite right. It's more like the aesthetic value of the relationship: is it beautiful or is it ugly. The second dimension is just strength: is it barely noticable or is it a super powerful force.

4&5) Then there is the meaning that each person gives the relationship individually. It's like a triangle with the two people at the base, the relationship at the top, and the meaning of the relationship to each of the people as two lines from the relationship to the people.

3, 4, and 5 just came out of nowhere. Or maybe they are just shadows and lights that come into focus when we stand near each other.

This is interesting because this idea has been in my zeitgeist recently. A couple of us went to see a talk by Seth Lloyd on a programmable universe, basically quantum computing for laypeople. One of his more interesting premises was that though energy and matter are constant in the universe since its beginning, somehow an incredible amount of detail continues to somehow leak into to the universe and create things like brains, cities, and art deco. What was once a flat universe slowly formed galaxies, planets, etc. What was once a bland (though environmentally unstable) planet has spawned life, humans, and technology. He said something that was basically the same as the relationships thing. The random bits of the universe and of our world aren't inert... they form relationships with one another, creating new forces that didn't exist before. Two atoms may happen to appear next to each other, and then their relationship may draw them nearer, increasing their gravity for yet other atoms to come drift in. Random changes in the environment aren't like typing random letters on a typewriter, but more like typing random commands into a computer... every once in a while you might type something like TOSS A HURRICANE or FALL IN LOVE and set off a chain of crazy events more magical than the pieces alone.

The aesthetic power of relationships are the only things in the universe that come out of nowhere. It's usually difficult to imagine something coming out of nothing, but think about how each of these pairs of things generates a third attractive or repulsive aesthetic element that didn't exist before:

* between two sounds: harmony or dischord
* between two people: like or dislike
* between two colors: matching or clashing
* between two chemicals: reaction, intermingling, separation

And then think about how many more relationships exist between two ideas or two words. They can...

* rhyme
* contradict
* be similar in meaning
* be opposites
* have the same number of letters
* be pairs
* belong in a series
* belong to the same parent idea
* be qualities of the same thing
* one belongs to another
* one has the other
* different spellings of the same word

Or whatever. And the world of meaning and purpose explodes into our little brains. Today I was going around and asking myself, "What does that mean to me?" I saw a dog staring at me through an open door and it was my nemesis to me. I saw people loitering on the street and they meant "slightly hostile but drunk strangers" to me. I saw two parallel lights leading out of my lobby and they meant runway to the outdoors to me. This meaning that we inject into everything that we interact with is an invisible universe of forces that I, at least, don't give enough credit to. I can give and take meaning from things as I please... what kinds of meanings and stories do I want to give and take? How heavily do I want to coat this meaning on things? I could probably break bad habits and form new ones by attaching strong meanings onto them. Isn't that how we trick ourselves into doing things anyway? Sometimes I think that this life is only about painting things with meaning. Creating visions for ourselves... taking visions from other people and interweaving them into our own... rewriting them when we find a particularly imaginative vision... and the person with the clearest vision writes the world with these relationships.

This wacky talk may have to do with the fact that mizrobot and I ate way too much cheese this weekend... attending both days of the Cheese Festival. On day one I counted 48 toothpicks in my pocket, not counting the fact that I threw some away, and double-used a bunch of them. THAT'S A LOT OF CHEESE.

  • 1
think of all the new aesthetic elements the different cheeses were making in your belly!

Yes, the relationship between milk and rennet is a very interesting one indeed.

I thought about going back too but I decided against the bus ride. I would like to start an exclusive relationship with gorgonzola dolce.

day two seemed to be less crowded... maybe all the mothers didn't want to eat cheese? that or by then we had perfected the art of the reach-over-or-under-two-people-and-procure-cheese-with-used-toothpick move by then. we should go to more festivals together, it was fun!

I see these pairs are all human created comparison words. Humans are capable of comparing things and use superlatives.

when are they going to start allowing us to cheer journal entries? oh wait, that's that other site. ;-)

  • 1