Monday, March 9, 2009

Connections: From Google to Shakespeare

I spent an infuriating hour the other night trying to access this blog to make my new post. I discovered that, despite the misdirections by Google—if I truly couldn’t find answers on “Help,” or sign in I could email “contact us,” only there wasn’t an actual access to emailing “contact us” anywhere on any menu on any page to which the site directed me. I was in a technological mobius loop. Locked out of my blog which I could tantalizingly visit, become a follower of, but never truly inhabit since the “I” who visited was not recognized as the “I” who created. I’m sure my unwanted adventure could be the genesis of some post-existential, computer/philosophy jock’s dissertation, and I am grateful I am not him/her. I faced down this phantom tollbooth which created near despair on my part, until I managed to send my unrecognized login address an email that enabled me to create a new password to my old account that I had been told didn’t exist. Ah, the Buddha path of internet apps and the blogosphere….

Now that I have nearly forgiven google’s software designers, I find myself considering the creative/bipolar capacity to spin threads of connectivity between seemingly unrelated material. I remember enjoying James Burke’s astounding “Connections” and the entire world of non-fiction thread-following it birthed, from Devil and the White City to Germ, Guns and Steel. The fiction of this non-fiction remains my most favorite to read, since it most closely resembles the way we make fiction of our own experience. The curious case for Serendipity in the history of Man and our individual lives. The meanings that have no meaning except we “see” them there.

“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” If the Judeo-Christian tradition views the Bible as the revealed Word of “God” then Shakespeare is the revealed Word of Man. Of all the great historical figures, artists and statesmen, generals and agitators, enlightened ones and ombudsmen, Shakespeare’s is the mind, body and life I would want to inhabit. Anything there is to be said, known or revealed about what it is to be human can be found in one or more of his plays or poems. To be the penultimate poet of the penultimate age of the English language; to have the penultimate creative life and a Man’s life in one of the great ages in the West to be a man (Creativity! Science! Exploration! Colonization! Empire!) in service to the penultimate Queen—aye, there’s the rub.

In service to a Queen, who so famously said “I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king….” And used both to great effect. In a room with Ahmenhotep, Alexander the Great, Atilla the Hun, Genghis Khan, her father, the Sun King, Peter and Catherine the Great, Zhu Yuanzhang—the first Ming Emperor—all would have been hard-pressed to hold their own against the cunning intelligence, ferocity, and political savvy of the Tudor’s last monarch. She may have been born to the role, but she paid for her greatness in blood from her woman’s heart.

And there you have it—a little spinning of connectivity of my own.

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