Wednesday, October 31, 2007

When people who think they are very different than each other meet, they feel fear and curiosity.

*Those who think politically, some of them go off in a corner and try to figure how the fear can be enhanced and managed so they as individuals have more power. The musicians start exchanging riffs and learning each others' tunings.
Will I ever finish "The Moonstone" by Wilkie Collins? It's supposed to be excellent of its kind--mystery of the woo-woo semi-supernatural sort.

Dorothy L. Sayers, a mystery writer whose work I like a lot, is quoted on the cover of the paperback I have as calling it the best mystery ever written.

Starting it several times, I notice a great deal that it is bigoted and also dumb in other ways.

I almost wrote, "racist and dumb in other ways."

The people the book is bigoted toward are from India, and racist gets a little tricky. They are, a lot of them, Caucasians, treated routinely in a racist way.

Which drifts into my personal responsibility for where Hitler's word Aryan came from.

It was exciting in the nineteenth century do find out how languages were related to each other and how one language led to another. It is still exciting to learn about that, though it is no longer a lively field in terms of Indo-European languages, because the work is donw.

Indo-European languages, that were originally called Aryan languages.

Researchers in the nineteenth century figured out that most European languages went back to Sanskrit, which exists in manuscript, and a pre-Sanskrit language whose existence they inferred. Any one who studies this field agrees that this pre-Sanskrit existed, even though it's theoretical. There are no written instances.

Nineteenth century white folks, including the ones officially labeled by themselves smart and educated were nervous about meeting all these different kinds of people living different ways as the world got more explored.

They knew they were best but needed to prove it, they felt, by their self-created smart people rules.

One way they did that was by doing thought that went like this. The pre-Sankrit language, Aryan, exists. [Big jump they didn't notice.] Whoever spoke this language was better than other people. People like me spoke this language.

If pre-Sanskrit existed, and sane experts still think it did, it was spoken in India and probably by people who looked like Indians look today.

*Scholars, actually scholars, kept moving the location of pre-Sanskrit speakers wester and maker the speakers lighter till you got Hitler's blond Aryans, *who were ideally Scandanavian, or, just south of Scandanavia, German, and far from where pre-Sanskrit, Aryan, was spoken, if it ever was spoken.

The desire to prove betterness in one's own dear self produces dangerous nuttiness.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The heart of the world is melting.

Friday, October 19, 2007

We are saltwater and softnesses flung around bones.
Hilary is the scholar of the history of law who comes down from Cambridge now and then to London to bail friends who are practicing lawyers out of kerfuggles that their impracticality gets them into.

The idea is that detailed knowledge of medieval and renaissance legal history gives Hilary a much more realistic view of life than detailed knowledge of things like the modern tax code.

Hilary is arrogant and justifiably so. Fun. Explains it all at the end with told-you-soness and elan.

I want Hilary to be a woman. I want the arrogant and truly so person who solves it all to be a woman. The Hilary mysteries, by Sarah Caudwell, do not specify Hilary's gender.

They are told in the first person by Hilary, so that helps the author not specify, but it's still a good writer trick and never seems awkward. I never feel Caudwell writing to avoid pronouns, though obviously she has to.

When I think about Hilary, I know Hilary is a woman. This is because Hilary is always a woman's name in the US as far as I know, though not always in the UK

I mainly think Hilary is a woman when I think about it because I want Hilary to be a women.

When I am actually reading the books and involved in the plot, I do not experience Hillary as a woman. I do not experience Hilary as a man. I experience Hilary as a person.

Now that is an author trick indeed, a sneaky and skilled Utopian move.

Not liking Caudwell's Hilary books is possible for reasons that have nothing to do with the gender ploy. A person who didn't like them might use words like "Precious" and "give me a break." But if they work they are excellent and sneakily transforming.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I'm afraid, and therefore, I'm in exile from myself. Breathe and inch back.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

To heed what is real, not what is loud.
Monday. Moon Day. Let the moon do it in the moon's way.
October 3. Gandhi's birthday. He and one of his biographers, Eric Ericson, would say he was in a lifetime fight with his temper.

I'm there. I'm not transcending at all today, like he did, but I am struggling with my temper. Arghh!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The old Catholic school had a grandish outdoor entryway leading up the stairs to the front door. The stairway had excellent acoustics, and she sang there sometimes with her acoustic guitar and her sweet voice.

She told me she had gotten close enough to the music business to feel its complex, knotted, powerful badness, and music was good.

So she sang around town and around the county, getting occasional dribs and drabs of money. Having an okay job, mostly singing in the good acoustics public places, being a good surprise for visitors and a loving part of the routine for residents.

Talking to her, it was clear she was a good person. Talking to her she didn't seem psychogically super strong. But she knew where to be and where to not be. She knew how to save the goodness.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I'd heard of these discoveries before, but the author of "In Search of Schrodinger's Cat" helped make it all clearer by saying that at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, scientists made important discoveries about the insides of the atom before they had a correct idea of how the atom was made.

So I have read about these discoveries of X-rays and various other rays and when I read I had it over the discoverers because I have a vaguely accurate picture of an atom in my mind. Sort of like a solar system with lots of empty space. Without the precise solid location that planets have, but sort of kind of solar systemy.

Whereas the people noticing X-rays and all the gang were barely into the age of believing in atoms and not into the age of knowing what it was like. They tended to think that atoms were lumps with even texture throughout--missing the emptiness which is basic and counter intuitive.

John Gribben saying that in many ways they discovered things in the wrong order was helpful. They were not in a mental position to understand what they discovered.

The fog we are all partly in. And I have that solar system picture, which is also wrong, because the electrons orbiting are not like planets but like clouds, like a fog, like something only people very good at equations can understand. And I and everything I've ever met is made of this structure I can't understand. But that I understand in some ways better than the people who started to understand it. Life is a a fog, but a changing and interesting one.