Thursday, May 27, 2010

Planetary Mythologies: 3

Analogy Three

Imagine that you have just discovered a civilization as small as a DNA molecule. You want to establish contact, but since your dimensions prevent you from entering the same space-time envelope, you must search for other means of communication. From observing the civilization closely, you find that there is an informational class that seems to carry messages back and forth among parts of the society, and you observe further that these messengers are actually enzymes of a structure that is isomorphic to one of your own patterns of information. Since you cannot talk directly to the members of the civilization, you decide to talk through a patterning of the bits of information the enzymes carry back and forth. Unfortunately, the very act of trying to pattern an enzyme alters its structure so that a part of your own message is always shifted. It seems that the only time the enzymes are able to carry a high proportion of your own message is when their civilizational structure is either breaking apart or just about to come together again. Fascinated by the problem, you choose your opening and closing epochs carefully and begin to carry on an extended conversation with the civilization.

(William Irwin Thompson) 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Planetary Mythologies: 2

Analogy Two

Imagine a vehicle as large as a planet that began a voyage an aeon ago. After generations of voyaging, the mechanics lose all sense of who they are and where they are going. They begin to grow unhappy with their condition and say that the notion that they are on a journey in an enormous vehicle is a myth put forth by the ruling class to disguise its oppression of the mechanical class. There is a revolution and the captain is killed. Elated by their triumph, the mechanics proclaim the dictatorship of the proletariat and destroy the captain's log, which contains, they claim, nothing but the lies of the old ruling class.

(William Irwin Thompson) 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Planetary Mythologies

Analogy One

Imagine insects with a life span of two weeks, and then imagine further that they are trying to build up a science about the nature of time and history. Clearly, they cannot build a model on the basis of a few days in summer. So let us endow them with a language and a culture through which they can pass on their knowledge to future generations. Summer passes, then autumn; finally it is winter. The winter insects are a whole new breed, and they perfect a new and revolutionary science on the basis of the 'hard facts' of their perceptions of snow. As for the myths and legends of summer: certainly the intelligent insects are not going to believe the superstitions of their primitive ancestors.

(William Irwin Thompson)

Friday, May 07, 2010

The Melon

Travelling, a teacher and his disciple were having a rest. At a certain moment, he took a melon from his saddle bag, he divided it in two and both began to eat it.

While eating, the disciple said:

-‘My wise teacher, I know that everything you do has a reason. Sharing this melon with me perhaps is a signal that you have something to teach me.’

The teacher continued eating in silence.

‘By your silence, I understand the hidden question - the disciple insisted - and it must be the following one: the taste which I am experiencing when eating this delicious fruit, where is it: in the melon or my tongue?’

The teacher didn't say anything. The disciple, excited, continued:

‘And as everything in life has a sense, I think I am close to the answer of this question: the taste is an act of love and interdependence between both, because without the melon there would be no object of pleasure and without the tongue.’

‘Stop it!’ - said the teacher – ‘the biggest idiots are those who think they are more intelligent than others and search an interpretation for everything! The melon tastes good, this is more than enough. Let me eat it in peace!’