20.017 a better metaphor

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 07:15:19 +0100

                Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 20, No. 17.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

   [1] From: lachance_at_chass.utoronto.ca (29)
         Subject: energizing inertia: the mobile metaphor

   [2] From: Matt Jensen <mattj_at_newsblip.com> (12)
         Subject: Re: 20.014 a better metaphor

         Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 07:10:05 +0100
         From: lachance_at_chass.utoronto.ca
         Subject: energizing inertia: the mobile metaphor


You seem to want to capture an image of a mobile observer who discovers a
what-has-been-occuring. You could perhaps reach for a technologically
informed metaphor if you imagine a stationary observer: happenings that
occupy the space "below the radar" can shift and become observable.
Describing events as "off-screen" or "off-line" may meet your needs for
capturing the relation between area which an apparatus can access and an
area beyond. Such metaphoric uses would play upon the divide between
public and private (or semi-private) spaces. Alas these suggestions lack
the poetic grasp of "event horizon" whose semantic field can in some
readers' minds juxtapose the "black hole" with the "black box".

Your search for the adequate metaphor seems to be patterned on a _terra
incognita_ model in that, as it is discursive deployed in your epistles,
the "event horizon" is a space from which to hope to expect a signal
though such hoping may be hoping for the all-impossible. This leads me to
ask if what you are after is not a place that is unknown but one that is
unknowable. Is there a plea, however sotto voce, in your marshalling of
the metaphor of the "event horizon" for the preservation of a space beyond
scrutiny? Is there some mocking of the trend predictors?

Shifting to temporal in lieu of spatial markers, "jetztzeit" might do if a
tad too messianic. But somehow in the appeal of "event horizon" there is a
hint of Kantian detachment and disinterestedness in a space beyond
scrutiny. A most rebellious hint that suggests that a use-value is not the
only value.

A space beyond perdition: where the very memory of what went there is
erased. "You cann't get there from here" as they say. Yet the very
imagining of such a space of loss serves what ends I know not. But some
ends surely. To arrest the mobility of the observer, so that they may
attend to the present?

         Date: Tue, 16 May 2006 07:10:59 +0100
         From: Matt Jensen <mattj_at_newsblip.com>
         Subject: Re: 20.014 a better metaphor

Gray Kochhar-Lindgren wrote:

>In addition, the "event" and the "horizon"--what magnificent
>words!--have histories long before physics comes on the scene, so why keep
>such beauty time or domain-bound?

"Light" and "year" are both magnificent words, but "light year" has a
specific meaning. If you try to use "light year" to describe time, or
a year of the unbearable lightness of being, you will confuse people.
Or rather, they will be confused at what you intend, but they will at
least be sure you don't understand what "light year" means. Cheers,

Matt Jensen
Received on Tue May 16 2006 - 02:55:37 EDT

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