- Wind rips clouds revealing sun reflecting from whitecaps. Clarity melts into confusion as senses merge and stray. Sounds waft pure scents, fresh growth glistens like marketplace fruit. Immense desire to grasp, engulf, and drink this luscious moment. A drunken mixed feast of experience, perhaps soon forgotten as giddiness later fades into memories of just another marvelous spring day.
- English has a word for everything. Mixing of senses is “synesthesia,” famous in literature and psychology and physiology. Knowing a word is not experience, but it can focus an unusual perspective. So I can apply it to how I felt while walking along a happy carnival of so infinite an array of brilliantly mixed sensations that I could never separate nor adequately describe their elements.
- Surely this scene would provide marvelous lunch _ azaleas are worth five stars in anyone’s rating. Humans themselves may or may not be primarily visually oriented, but this culture certainly is. Even the most pungent images of Rimbaud _ whale rotting in salt marsh, snake falling putrid from tree as insects devour it _ remain as pictures rather than scents in memory. Normally, to establish even a glimmer of synesthesia seems to begin with eyes leaking beyond sight.
- With effort, I can often synthesize my moment _ a full experience of ear, nose, taste, skin, muscles, organs, mind, and _ hardly ever least _ eyes. But recalling that unity proves difficult or impossible. Only in dreams does everything return, mixed and tenuous, but overwhelming. Nevertheless I continue to make attempts at being totality, only rarely succeeding even a little.
ances at us in annoyance. “I love flowers. And when the sun is out, I’m always happier than when it’s raining. I can’t help it, weather affects my mood.”
We all grow silent for a while, probably each thinking that it doesn’t much matter why you enjoy being who and where you are, as long as you do enjoy it.
- Surely nothing mixes senses as much as water. Memories scramble neuron connections so associations surface of hot, flavors,cold, thirst, drowning, rocking, wet, dry, rain, mist, surf, wavelets, sparkles, leaden depth, seen breath and more. Fear of high whitecapped waves, perhaps, soft meditations in calm reflections. Tremendous mixtures of everything _ for life is mostly water, and echoes it closely. Personal experience layers onto primal reaction. No mistake why Rimbaud picked a boat _ a wagon would just not do.
- I swim in this harbor, although some tremble at the thought. I have even tasted it, a few times as water cascaded from a cooled wet head in blazing sun, although salt prevents me from drinking much. Sometimes I swam to shore from a dock that became more distant as I felt myself growing tired, even as I floated without effort in the buoyancy. At times, we have watched a red sun set hypnotically in double distorted image as gnats flit annoyingly. Storms have battered the shoreline, ice floes have caked the surface, hard sleet and soft snow have poured from overhead. And that is without the recalled distant memories of ocean, lake, and pond. Water is my nature, and how I experience it remains as mercurial as the chemical itself.
- Computers are digital apparatus, constructed of hard dry immovable materials, controlling electrons in a flow that imitates water. They are not life, which is water entire. Their inputs are not senses, even though our aqueous cells utilize electricity on occasion. It is almost impossible to imagine synesthesia occurring in artificial intelligence.
- I fear AI only because I distrust those who build it. Those who try to develop vast grasping rationality, who claim that someday our minds will be poured into waiting crystalline structures and we will continue indefinitely as before, no, I think that most deeply they do not understand our reality.
- Can a computer score beauty? Perhaps, properly programmed and equipped, it can pass judgement and say this or that. Can it make unexpected leaps between a work of art and remembrances of an afternoon lunch at a Parisian café? Can it randomly spin an uncertain feeling that somehow a scene causes the viewer to be slightly disoriented, happy, or troubled.
- If builders allow such spontaneous connectivity, how to prevent insane association? We are delicate balances and tensions. We know when hard rationality shades into daydream, when happiness flips to nightmare, and we react and automatically control and bring our consciousness back to an almost rational calm center. That has been the outcome of billions of years of trial and error. What passes for such in the mechanical workshops of today’s Morlocks?
- Our culture, driven by science and pseudo-science, has perhaps traveled way too far along the various branching paths of detailed narrowing specialization. Focus too much on sight, on hearing, on taste, on feeling and we become less human. We should allow ourselves to once in a while glory in being confused, in tasting irrationality, and in seeing hot and cold scrambles within our immense knowing and being.
- Birches hang out here and there in odd corners of vacant spaces along the waterfront. Anywhere wetlands exist these trees remain abundant, but local marshes were long ago drained, paved, or flooded. All for good reason, reducing mosquitoes, providing power, growing salt hay. In spring, petite long green seed stacks look a lot like early fruit, crisp and ready for snacking.
- Of course people plant ornamental peeling-bark white birches everywhere, a lovely accent to yards in all seasons. No doubt somebody somewhere is trying to make them fragrant or edible or _ given the speed with which genetic advances are occurring these days _ intelligent or talkative (as we know from our current politics, the latter two traits do not necessarily go together. ) I’m just happy to find this specimen where it was last year, still making its way this spring, when so much else in this park and along the waterfront has succumbed to one mortal blow or another.