Where is the middle of nowhere?

Where is the middle of nowhere?

Maybe ‘The Middle of Nowhere’ is the name of a place, just as China in Chinese stands for Middle Country. Or ‘Nowhere’ is the name of a place (an incredible one at that, where everyone’s skin is blue and pink and green), and we have to find its centre: it might be where most people or features are, or even the centre of mass, though that might mean that the middle of nowhere is not actually in Nowhere. Which, if you take Nowhere to be its literal meaning ‘nowhere’, means that the middle of nowhere is truly somewhere. (Which is what we’ve been asserting all along.)

If we were in a crime novel and were trying to be even more obtuse, it might be the letter h. We might even try representing ‘nowhere’ numerically as 14-15-23-8-5-18-5. The middle, then, might be the arithmetic mean of the numbers: 12 4/7, which is L D / G, or perhaps more appropriately LD7, an area in Llandrindod Wells.

But what of these obscure ways of interpreting phrases? Sure, they bring pleasure to the lover of triviality and of obsessive attention to detail, who flips objects like one might a loose pancake, making them more contorted with each flip until they are beyond recognition. These are then served repackaged as a some exotic gourmet dish often exclusively delicious to connoisseurs, but confusing and perhaps distasteful to others. Perhaps it would be better if we turned from them, at least for a while.

So if we were being more reasonable, we might say the middle of nowhere was a place in the radial centre of a deserted area. But in naming this place, we’d have to come up with an arbitrary measure of desolateness, and coldheartedly brand places people call home as forsaken, empty, and devoid of civilised life. Although some may take these labels with gusto, most would not be flattered by the often despairing, or even condescending tone borne from ignorance targeting the places they grew to know and love. And upon judgmentally identifying these places, all too frequently we end up ransacking rainforests and pouring sediment into the sea, only to have the tide turn against us soon after, at which point we blame others for the deed.

Thus, by the same token, should we not treat these seemingly frivolous issues with less contempt? This silly playing with numbers, or twisting of words might be the seed of a creative spirit, a hobby fostered from childhood ready to bloom. Soon, one might even find that these trifles have some use – first for occupation, then for entertainment, then for solving problems in ways never previously imagined. Trying to eliminate trivialities based on perceived usefulness is no winner’s strategy – imagine if mathematicians had stopped working on number theory, which Hardy had declared so proudly to be useless. We wouldn’t have the encryption systems or swift digital calculation often taken for granted today.

Is this claim a stretch? Perhaps. But with the prevalence of investigating for the sake of investigation, and playing with data for the sake of play among the pioneers of intellectual advancement (no citations, sorry), it’s worth at least a second thought. Otherwise, we might soon find ourselves lost in our own ignorance – where we began, in the middle of nowhere.

A recent rant (of mine) that came out of Nowhere.


Stream of Consciousness

I was thinking of doing some stream of consciousness writing. A stream, a flowing stream not necessarily of water but of music, of lava, hot from the oven, hot from the heart, hot from the centre of the Earth, hot from the pot stirred most smoothly by the ladle of Time. But the consciousness that pours out is chaotic, regardless of how you try to stir it. It does not obey the Laws of Whatever-You-Want-It-To, it does not even flow as one stream but has slight bumps in it, slight words here they come that you don’t expect, slight phrases even, or break offs. So the fluid is not continuous (not /necessarily/ continuous, it could be.) Don’t bother with trying to model it.

But yes, I had this idea from watching a monologue on credit from Love and Money, where the video was just (!) a mouth talking talking for five minutes straight it hurt my eyes at first but I grew more intrigued by the mouth, the emotion in the lips and teeth, wonder if you can see that normally if you’re not tunnelling? But yes, I thought hey I’d like to write something like that and see what I sound like in my head on paper if that makes sense, though it isn’t really a monologue at all: it’s a polylogue, the voices of your surroundings speaking through you in terms of the interactions, people your thoughts the discarded receipt on the floor saying something in their silent language of waves and frequencies, possessing you. Possessing you through your eyes and nervous system and brain and back to fingers onto paper. Clickety click.

Then surely every thought is not a mono-thought but a poly-thought, and we have so many more thoughts apart from those we know of, thoughts we pass on to others and then forget, if we ever knew them. Hah. Giving someone a thought you never knew, as though you could do something unconsciously like that. Well, maybe you could, the same way you do some things without thinking like maybe raising your hand in response to a question asked to a group, something you wouldn’t do if you were asked individually, yes? But you know you’re doing those things. But you arguably know you’re influencing others’s thoughts, just not specifically which and what.

Okay bad analogy – let’s try some biological process that’s happening inside you that you’re not aware of. Did you learn how to respirate? Presumably no. Actually maybe your cells did at some level at some point, but the key is you’re not aware of it. That’s better. Now think on that and good night.

(Imported from A.Symmetric Space, a side project I have now rescinded)