Friday, July 20, 2007

The New Black

The Internet is a magic playground for my brain, a vast candy store of sweet information. Sugar high? Bring it on.

Through Alex Ross, Ethan Iverson, and Matthew Guerrieri, I have discovered the wonderful animated short "Ballerina on a Boat" with a sound track by Alfred Schnittke.

That lead to his Sonata for Cello and Piano. Wow.

The animation reminded me of the Triplets of Belleville. Which made me think of another movie where the words don't matter: Baran. Absolutely beautiful movie.

Contemplating the need for words led to this article in the Globe and Mail bemoaning the world's loss of vocabulary.
Reminds me of the 'demise' of classical music. Or not.

Walking my dogs very early this morning, I tried to think of one instance where the current of cultural change was permanently dammed by learned protest or law. Communication is the hole in the dike that the educated elite tries to plug with its finger. The more communication a society has with other cultures, the faster the current of change erodes the old structure. And it's just as impossible to stop as a hurricane's storm surge.

The inaccessible Amazon tribe still experiences cultural evolution, just very slowly. One outside visitor, and their culture changes instantly and forever.

When communication across this planet is equalized and instantaneous, the pace of cultural change will slow. There will still be churning, but fresh ideas will be harder to come by without new sources of stimulation. That's when the masses will press for interstellar exploration, craving a culture to absorb. Our first contact with extraterrestrials will be driven by a desperate search for the 'new black', a cooler iPhone, the next J. K. Rowlings.

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
-T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) (from

Bamboo shadows sweep the stairs,
Yet not a mote of dust is stirred;
Moonbeams pierce to
The bottom of the pool,
Yet in the water not a trace remains.
- Zen Dust (from Daily Zen)

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