Thursday, April 13, 2006

Yellow Patch On The Wall

Someone in the comments here yesterday asked about Elliott Carter. Yes, I have some string quartets composed by him on CD and I listened to much of the recent concerts in London featuring his work. He was present at these concerts – as testified by the TV cameras – despite having been born in 1908!! Still going strong.

Following discussion about self-promotion on the internet, I also raised the subject of any communication on the Internet being counter-productive. Perhaps many friendships have been lost because of electronic misunderstandings etc. Then there are other general factors of misinformation received, misinformation given, time wasted, too much put into writing which would have been better said...?

What would have happened if this thing hadn't been invented? Actually, I've made a lot of friends on the internet - some I subsequently met. In fact one or two close friends have happily come my way purely because of the Internet. Equally, I've lost a few - because of the nature of the Net itself. I'm sure we all gain time and waste time on the Net, but who judges which is which?

And I understand written communication can stifle (because of its re-checkable nature) whilst verbal (by mouth) communication can liberate. I’m not talking about artistic communication here. If that lady civil servant had said 'A good day to bury bad news' to her colleagues instead of emailing it, she'd still be in her job. Equally foolish, however, saying it or emailing it, but that's life.

I understand many businesses are tied up in red tape because all their staff write emails to each other rather than pragmatically sorting things out by word-of-mouth.

Also, the internet de-iconises, over-familiarises, desensitises, overcrowds, I feel. Allows for uncensored things without any policing. Confuses with its over-dosing of information and communication. Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers become email addresses or websites tarnishing their iconicity...

Seeing relatively famous authors flouncing about on the internet also serves the same negative purpose. (append smiley)

Friendship or even love can never really join people through the bone of their skulls let alone through the distance of hyperspace. However, I cherish the friends I have made on the Internet as well as those I am lucky to know face-to-face. I hope to make many more friends by means of this blog. Devil’s Advocate argument thus ends!

To finish today, here are links to two passages from Marcel Proust’s In Search Of Lost Time about Bergotte’s death and Vermeer’s yellow patch on the wall. These are examples, I feel, of life-changing literature, beautiful and touching. You will not be the same after reading them. You can find them here:
ie. the two long posts that I made on March 2nd 2003.

PS: Remember: Don't eat yellow snow!



Anonymous said...

Just remembered: Cf: the de-iconising phenomenon of the Net with the effects of Reality TV (the philosophical considerations of which I find interesting).

Matt Heller said...

Here's a relevant thought from Proust:

The progress of civilization enables each one of us to manifest unsuspected virtues or new vices, which make us either dearer or more unbearable to our friends.
- Sodom and Gomorrah, p. 130 in the Sturrock translation

I suppose we all struggle to conceal our vices and express our virtues, and the internet does nothing to ease that struggle - it only makes things more complex! Thanks for your thoughts, it's a pleasure to read them by any method.