As regular readers may have worked out, every now and again I lose the plot a bit. Some chemical in my brain starts fluctuating and all my thoughts go all over the place, and many of those places aren’t very nice, I’d rather they didn’t but I have no more control over that than a diabetic and their insulin levels. When I get upset, not hard in this world, I get too many thoughts in my head and if they didn’t get out somewhere, my mind would explode. Every now and then I go back and delete stuff, things that were a bit misjudged to say the least.
The strange irony is, I don’t have copies of any of those blogs, they are gone, off in the ether somewhere, information never dies, it gets archived somewhere, masses of it, I have no way of accessing it but it is out there, somewhere. Strangely enough, I’d have better luck asking one of those I offended as they have probably printed out a hard copy and filed it somewhere, stored it away in one of the many, “I hate Chris” folders in the world (and no, this isn’t paranioa, they do exist). The thing is though, when someone goes to the length of keeping all that stuff, I wonder if they would consider doing it with the other people in their life, writing down every single coercive piece of behaviour, every judgement, every bit of badgering to make their choices, go to their thing, choose them, remove that person from their life, do that thing that leaves you penniless, hungover, exhausted, jeopardises your career, tyour health or your sanity. No, it seems only I ever get the special archiving treatment and everyone else’s inexcusable behaviour is rationalised or allowed to disappear into a vague memory to be rewritten as a hilarious anecdote further down the line. I guess that is the curse of blogging, it’s there in print, anything you say has already been written down to use in evidence against me.
But I digress, what fascinates me is all that data sloshing about, we create so much of it, personally and as a species. Every time I back up my geriatric MacBook I am conscious of just how much is on there, the art, the writing, the family photos, the invoices. There are masses of my files at my local printers, the knowledge of how to make this or that book, card, whatever waiting for the next reprint. More private stuff sits on the nhs databases, the condition of my heart, copies of letters from mental health professional, what pills I take , the time this time last year that I was on the suicide watch list and then there are all those wish lists of Amazon and the book depository, purchase histories on iTunes and the aforementioned, as well as eBay, the list goes on and on and on. Online accounts, cloud storage and the dreaded social media…
That is just me though, there is that half a billion times over at least, then all those films and songs and books stored away, the guttenburgh project and many others, all of our culture and history in banks of servers in air cooled rooms in the middle of nowhere, in office blocks, in basements, zeros and ones dancing away at the speed of light, well, fibre optics. Oh! And I forgot emails! Whoops!
It’s hard to imagine a world beyond the endless screen flicking that the modern human being does without a second thought and yet it has been happening for only a decade, it’s even harder to imagine a world without computers and yet over two decades ago they were virtually useless to the everyday person, an expensive toy. There was a time even further back pre Marconi where radio waves didn’t even float through the air. It’s so hard to imagine such a time, where data in some form or other didn’t float through the the air, unseen, unnoticed, dancing from mast to receiver, from device to modem, seas of it washing through the air constantly….. It’s enough to make you want to wear a fetching tin foil hat to protect your brain… Hang on! Even I’m not that mad.
It’s an intriguing thought though, where does all that noise go? As anyone with even a basic working knowledge of physics knows energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change form. Where does all that data go? At what point does that become sentient, probably never but it is an interesting idea nonetheless. There has always been a power in knowledge, a power in words, as far back as human beings have put marks on surfaces and taught the meaning of those marks to another person words have been a form of data storage, representing ownership, promises, knowledge… The phrase ‘casting a spell’ comes from this, catching information is a form of magic and what we do with it can be a creative or a destructive art. Even writing this blog, I have pulled information from my mind from countless sources, I’m doing it for no other reason than my own amusement, to distract myself from how psychically ill I feel right now. My memory is pretty good but not perfect and I’m not going to be fact checking through a team of interns. I could create anything I wanted from this data, pulling this from here, that from there and people do it all the time from bloggers like me through to organisations wanting to sway the way people think.
That is what we all do, create our own truth, our own version of events, through words, through conversation, with who and what we choose to believe, engineering the responses we get consciously or unconsciously through who we choose to ask and the words we choose to ask with. Personally, I have friends who aren’t affraid to tell me things I don’t want to hear, it might not be comforting but it is constructive. Or the tactfully phrased questions when I put certain things in public. I am very conscious right now of what I’m putting into that sea of data, the paintings, the drawings, the ideas, the artwork, maybe because of all the health worries or maybe because I am in a sad and a bad place mentally right now but my place and permanence in a world where civilisations have turned to dust but someone who sings badly on a talent show will be slowly and faintly making their way to Mars via radio waves. What will I have done? In shakespear’s words “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage” it’s comforting to know that’s it’s still relavant a few hundred years later, but in all terms there probably won’t be much of me at all I guess…
And then there is the other data stream, the one that I have spectacularly failed to contribute to. I realised with some sadness a few years ago that I would never be a father, I did meet someone who would have been perfect, smart, funny, beautiful but the timing was wrong. It’s a strange notion, parenthood, I had a long conversation with one of my nephews yesterday, he was explaining to me where he felt the flashpoint for the next war would be and who the major players were, talking about the latest wave of philosophers and political thinkers were, I felt like a total moron, it’s nice to see people grow up to people you can be proud of but it is such a gamble, that genetic lottery that so many enter for the worst of reasons. People are always telling me what a great dad I would make but I really wouldn’t. I like to think that I am childlike rather than childish but I can’t be sure, it’s hard to get an accurate reading in a town full of people all competing to see who can have the most outrageous of mid life crisise but I think there is still too much childishness for me to be a good dad.
So what do I do? Just carry on I guess, keep churning out images and ideas in the vain hope that if I throw enough stuff at the wall, something will stick, pouring more and more stuff into that ocean of data, hoping that it doesn’t drown me.