Words

The Physical Intangible

Posted on Updated on

A tuba sat next to the wall – neglected by all appearances. The dust was thick on most surfaces, and anybody could tell what was used regularly by the lack of dust. A fairly-clean pair of glasses sat next to an extremely dusty old television set, and a barely-visible stack of envelopes sat next to a somewhat polished typewriter.

The furniture was that of a bachelor. A single armchair sat in the corner, next to a small round side-table. A few books, mostly classics, were piled on the table. The wood floor was spotted here and there with throw rugs of various shapes and smells. An ancient phonograph hummed from its stand, some vaguely familiar tune. A man sat in the chair, talking to an uninterested cat.  

“…and to be honest, I was treated with… um… utter… uh… hold on…”

The man stood up and half-walked, half-stumbled over to the opposite wall, which, other than the man himself, was the most interesting aspect of the room. Dressed in some form of loose-fitting night clothes, he looked rather ridiculous as he shuffled across the living room floor. His hair was disheveled and his beard fluffed out like an upside-down afro. The cat twitched his tail and turned his head to follow his human. The cat glanced briefly at the wall as his human reached it, but cats really aren’t interested in most inanimate things that can’t be made to roll across the floor.

The wall was one of those impressive bookshelves that one might find in an old library or mansion. A ladder on rollers was fitted to the wall, and the man could reach any part of any shelf by merely rolling the ladder back and forth, which he often did just to amuse himself. The shelves, ladder, and contents of the shelves, I might add, were the cleanest things in the room. Not a trace of dust was to be found on any of them.

“Umm…. Let’s see here,” the man muttered and mumbled under his breath as he slid expertly on the ladder along the wall.

“con… con.. continent, California, caliphate, concentrate, congenial, oh.. wait… gee…” he slid back along the wall in the other direction.

He rummaged through the objects on the shelves as he went.

“Ah ha! Geniality! It was right on the tip of my tongue; I could picture it and hear it, but I couldn’t say it, Tabs.” The cat watched a fly buzz around the room. “Yes, it was a welcoming atmosphere, to be sure, but I….” his voice droned on as the fly came just a bit too close to Tabs.

The man placed the little carving of “geniality” back on the shelf. The words all quivered as he climbed back down the ladder. Tens of thousands of combinations of letters. They all sat proudly in their spots in his physical vocabulary.

“Anyway… huh… you don’t care, do you, Tabs?” He picked up his book and began to read. “Ooh… there’s a new one.” Setting his book back on the little table, he set to work whittling a few letters out a block of wood, and Tabs batted the wood shavings as they fell.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

The Concept Engine

Posted on Updated on

The man looked up at the giant building and its rows of blinding mirrored windows. “The Idea is Simple,” read the slogan emblazoned on the sign. A giant TCE logo sat midway up the face, playing host to several nervous pigeons. Our friend checked the time once more before taking a deep breath and plunging into the crowd that flowed into the building. As he looked around, he noticed that some of the people wore suits and professional wear, but most of the throng was dressed quite casually, even too casually, he thought, as he noticed some boys in pajama bottoms.

The crowd was split into queue lines as they moved through the door. The scene was not unlike a transport station of sorts. Ticket lines and baggage checks stretched as far as the eye could see to the left and right. “The Concept Engine, experience total connectedness. Experience simplicity.” A woman’s voice repeated TCE propaganda on a loop as the people moved to their various lines. Glass elevators shot up and down the walls constantly, the screens within showing various nature scenes with soothing TCE voice-overs. “Welcome to The Concept Engine. Go beyond your thoughts. Experience the Concepts.”

Our man joined a line labeled “First Time” and began reading a brochure he had picked up at the front.

“All of humankind,” it began, “is now connected through the Internet. We can contact anyone we wish and see their image, live. We can send files from New York to Hong Kong in less time than it takes to hand your officemate a paper, but we still have the barrier of language-based communication. International imagery is confusing, and translators are expensive. The Concept Engine aims to fix the problem of communication. We will revolutionize the way you talk, or rather, don’t talk. With communications streams to over 100 different countries, you can talk to virtually anyone anywhere in the world.

Think of your topic, consider what you want to do, and your partner will immediately understand you. The next level of human communication has emerged. Welcome to The Concept Engine.”

T♦C♦E

With his ticket in hand, he jogged to reach elevator 37, his designated transport. “From the cave man’s drawings and grunts, to the discovery of the Rosetta stone, to the emergence of acronymous text language, communication has evolved and changed drastically over time. We have eliminated language all together. Prepare yourself for raw communication.” The elevator voice droned on as elevator itself flew towards its destination.

The seat was fairly comfortable, he thought, as he settled into the white chair labeled 23,947. The helmet-looking apparatus was waiting for him, and the arms straps secured his wrists against the armrests. “Hey..!” he began as the device automatically began to close. Soon, his thoughts were blurred. He could no longer form the words he felt were necessary. His ideas were nothing but raw conceptions. His years of training as a journalist faded into nothingness. All he felt was an extraordinary affinity for the idea of a concept. Happiness flooded his mind.

“Language elimination complete. Subject 23,947 conformed.” The message flashed briefly on a computer screen somewhere deep in TCE offices. “Subject 23,948… 23,949…”

The man walked out into the sweltering heat of the building’s front mall. He blinked several times and looked around him in a confused manner. He looked up at the TCE sign and felt comforted, though he wasn’t sure why. Another man walked out behind him and smiled in his direction, and though they said nothing, each understood the other, almost as if they could read each other’s minds. They thought for a few more minutes about the deals their companies had required them to make, and soon, their negotiations  were at an end. The lights faded again and he found himself sitting in a chair labeled 23,947. He felt as though he would never need to read or talk again.

“Subject released. Infection complete. Logged and prepared for return.” The computer screen flashed names and information at a dizzying rate.

“Goodbye for now, and remember, for the most complete communication experience, use The Concept Engine.”

And so he headed out of the building, trying to remember why he visited in the first place but sure of one thing: language is dead, and he would definitely be back soon.

“TCE — It’s the Thought that Counts.”

~XK

So, I haven’t written in like… forever. You’re welcome. The Concept Engine was an idea I had a couple years back when I thought I wanted to write some sci-fi. I wanted to expand on Orwell’s idea of simplified language, and what better way than to eliminate language altogether! Perhaps you’ll see this idea exploited some more at some point, and I’ll try to make it a bit more cohesive next time. Right now, I’m working on an alphabet for use in a fantasy series at some point, whenever I get around to actually writing something. I’ll post some more on that sometime soon. Good to see you again!
Bye for now,
Chris

A Thoughtpiece

Posted on

I have coined a new phrase, or at least I think I have. It pertains to pieces of writings, and I shall use it as such.

thoughtpiece (n)|xk| — a piece of a thought, esp. when referring to written opinions and personal expressions.

Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Rather Orwellian. Anyway, I think I shall use this term when referring to my blog posts. This just seems like a such a concise and final term. Complex, simple, and to the point. Does that even make sense?

This is not you. And now, I present to you a thoughtpiece on driving.

Dearest people of the world, I have but a humble request for you: learn to drive!

For starters, let us examine the steering column upon which the wheel with which you steer your vehicle is mounted. On either the left or right side is a stick/knob/lever. This perplexing device, which you seem to have very little knowledge of, allows you to activate lights mounted on the exterior of your car. Interestingly enough, when you move the switch in one direction, lights on one side of your car blink, letting others know that you intend to turn, the converse is also true. We call this the turn signal. USE IT.

Another tip, while we are still examining the interior of your vehicle. You have probably discovered that when driving at night, it is dark. You seem to have adequately remedied this fault by turning on your lights. Good. I’m glad that you have found how to make these function. Let me tell you a secret, though. Your lights have two settings, one of them is called bright. You don’t need to have them on this setting when people are driving towards you. YOU ARE BLINDING PEOPLE.

We have touched on some etiquette in the previous points, but now let us move on to pure etiquette. One interesting thing about our roadways is that they have speed limits. These are maximum speeds at which we are legally allowed to drive. While you can go somewhat slower than the limit, great deviance is not recommended. Here’s why. When you do not go the speed limit, you make people angry. Angry people  do stupid things. You might die. GO THE SPEED LIMIT. (This is especially true on two lane highways on which people cannot easily pass you.)

If you use a cell phone while you are driving, that is perfectly fine with me. I do not discriminate. If you, however, cannot drive and use a cell phone at the same time, please don’t do either. The world will be a better place.

Finally, if you drive a moped, please don’t hog the center of the road. I will run you over. In my mind.

Cheers,
Chris