online: 20 january 2005
modified: 20, 23, 31 january 2005

19 january 2005 thinking out of doors

16:03 ...walking a different path today i find myself perceiving things differently - ground, trees, ponds, houses, valleys, the whole of technology, and ... the six billion of us alive and the billions who have already lived and disappeared without ( it seems to me) having dealt adequately with their technologies or with themselves as workers, instruments, victims even, of the circumstances that they and we create in this cosmic accident of human life and work and its apparently senseless products...all over the planet and beyond it...

...i'm still in the woods but in my thoughts i'm revisiting a prevailing unhappiness (or nonsense)...

...the rumble of an invisible jetplane above grey cloudy sky seen through bare branches, a sound and scene i like but what of the hundreds sitting up there in a metal tube - why are they there and where are they going? ... questions one need not ask when walking in the woods but necessary, i think, when rearranging life and nature to make flying (and all such magical prostheses) possible for many of us... (i'm flying to Amsterdam tomorrow - where i may read this at a conference on web design!)

...but what i intended to write were more modern questions, more of mind and psyche and the nervous system than of physical techniques and processes and machine-made wealth and its consequences... (we are its consequences)

...why work, why software, why all this mechanical seriousness in our ways of replacing human effort by automatic processes, all forms of modern magic endured without smiles not fully realising that our technology is outgrowing its mechanical past and changing its nature...?

...that is the question... what is our answer and what has happened to our spirits, we human animals, at work when we could be at play (or at something better than most of what we do for money)...

...but it's getting too dark to see what i'm writing and i have to be in a waiting room a few miles away in about 50 minutes.... the clock, the train, the planned structure we inhabit...

...walking fast towards Parliament Hill i see the red light at the top of a tall building, visible beyond the hilltop... and when i get to the top i see the surrounding city lit up in the dusk and the mist and i am speechless... my questions forgotten in the face of all this, the beauty of the city* in the evening as it is, the towers, the lights, the unknowable whole of it, seen from above, from this distance, and half-imagined in our thoughts... there is more here than we know.

31 january 2005:

*and here i could not but repeat to myself lines of William Wordsworth's sonnet Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, Sept. 2, 1802:

...This City now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky...

...remembered from one of the few poems learnt in school... when i recited it at the conference someone said that young people today have not learnt any poetry by heart.

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