Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Comic Summa: Lines of Love


hen I was 14-years old, I came across Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis at my local library. Intrigued by its intimacy and yet its unfamiliarity, the idea of changing form struck a cord with me, whisking my mind off toward labyrinthine complexities that I still have not fully resolved. The sense of freedom inherent in Kafka’s work liberated me into a primal exuberance. If we could change form, my own sense of being and thinking could change with it. No matter how many times I consider the implications of this concept, the ideas that arise never lose their sense of novelty.  

("R" u kidding? Where's the "R"?)

I do not recall reading anything else philosophical for a number of years other than Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy, which admittedly I read a number of times due to my fascination and unfamiliarity with both the language and the concept of melancholia. Burton, this curious calculator of naïvities, was both melancholic and humorous. I barely followed his discourse, but determinedly took it upon myself to understand it the best I could. While passages in Burton’s Melancholy spoke deeply to me, the beginning lines were what initially drew me in…

Go forth my book into the open day;

Happy, if made so by its garish eye.

O’er earth’s wide surface take thy vagrant way,

To imitate thy master’s genius try.

The Graces three, the Muses nine salute,

Should those who love them try to con thy lore.

The country, city seek, grand thrones to boot,

With gentle courtesy humbly bow before.

Should nobles gallant, soldiers frank and brave

Seek thy acquaintance, hail their first advance:

From twitch of care thy pleasant vein may save,

May laughter cause or wisdom give perchance.

            This impression returns me to the idea of Stickfigurism. As a teenager, I was overcome by the emotional heights language could stir within me. Something tangible on paper, yet intangible in real life perplexed and intrigued me. You could say those were the years I read more for the “lustre of the firmament of bards and sages” (Emerson, Self-Reliance) than for the pursuit of valuable information. 

Despite what was undeniably a copious amount of profound passages swirling around in my young mind, my expressions of them were (then and still remain) simple; perhaps more connected to the deep fissures they leave upon my soul than to the simplicity by which they are known. Emerging from deep within the complex pleasures of possession these memories have long since afforded me, my Stick Figures animate and bring to life the dance that living impresses upon my being. 

If you carry within your mind the history of human thought and the brilliance of those who have come before, after some time their complex relations to one another begin to form enigmatic patterns. While these complexities are not readily noticeable, they are there... readily available for those who have possession of them… for we naturally see outside ourselves what we first see from within.

            These observations only serve as speculative foreground to the consideration that our lives might be foreshadowed, which is not the same as ‘planned’.  The logician in me monitors everything I think and do, but the pragmatic rebel in me refuses to write it all down (though there were years when I did do just that). Still the realization that patterns could be discovered and altered makes one question whether or not we can affect specific outcomes toward the more enjoyable side of life. 

In all reality, it feels as if we are on a cosmic roller-coaster ride swirling though the universe in what might be many types of forms, fits, and functions ~ according to our current position, momentum, and resonance ~ within some sort of atomic framework. (Check this out.)

            How would one go about uncovering an atomic scale latticework that might explain the interrelatedness of not just all energy and matter but all thought, emotion, action, existence and nonexistence that arose after the Big Bang?

            If I had the ability to dissect the atomic structure of the universe and remove one of the two-dimensional planes, I might get something that resembles a single, rolled up sheet forming a closed cylinder. Imagining a circumferential vector lying along one of the two basis vectors, I could cut that sheet and rearrange it into a Stick Figure-like formation that could hypothetically represent a physical, aesthetically pleasing, artistically rendered bond that mirrors one of the many forms and shapes found in our universe.

This Stick Figure drawing represents St. Longinus, the 1st century Roman soldier who pierced Jesus in the side with a lance, the so-called “Holy Lance” while he was on the Cross. Longinus was then condemned to a cave where every night a lion would come and maul him, before he healed and the cycle repeated itself until the end of time.

Be the story of St. Longinus a fashionable account of religious mumbo-jumbo or just an unfortunate prophesy of martyrdom; weaknesses and strengths appear to position us according to what may indeed be an inescapable trajectory. 

I envision a world whereby our actions, thoughts, and circumstances are intricately woven between the walls of neighboring lattice-like structures found at the subatomic level. With devices to regulate the atomic structure of "life", we might someday be able to affect and define the relationship between our particulate self and the self with which we identify (i.e., the "soul", the id, ego, superego [Freud's psychic apparatus], conscious identity, etc.) leading us to continue our search for something other than the holy grail or creator... 

The Exit 
should one exist.

I do not think that the nature of the universe is something that can be reduced by our naked quest to define its physical structure, despite whether or not this undertaking ultimately results in our dominion over the earth, the heavens, and our own biological mortality

The mere idea that we have not yet reached this stage of evolutionary advancement causes me to suffer from a distinctively imaginative form of crisis. A crisis that once acknowledged can also lead to a deep sense of contentment for living in a place I like to call Eternity. A pleasurable state of serenity where we no longer seek to vanquish uncertainty by our own familiarity, but instead live with the only true knowledge we can have: we exist.

Comic Summa reflects on a wide range of topics that influence the making of my Stick Figures. Shakespeare is their Creator, and I start with him, moving from Shakespeare’s influence to John Milton and James Joyce. Every English writer has struggled since Shakespeare to find new heights of communication, but the High Romantics found a way to coexist with a genius that left us breathless. As with my Stick Figures, there is no need for lungs when one can breath through a heart. Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats created a truce between Shakespeare and Milton, establishing a symmetry if you will. This symmetry is visually apparent in my Stick Figures.

On a side note, I call them “my Stick Figures” when in reality the moment I create them they are no longer mine. They become independent entities that can continue to exist irrespective of whether I do or not. It is in this respect that they are not mine. Even when they appear in my mind’s eye, they are already independent from me; just like thoughts, they have their own unique identity. 

Presuming that the stuff out of which the universe is fashioned is made up of an intrinsic form of angular momentum carried by elementary particles, my Stick Figures, like my thoughts, emotions, and even ideas, could be considered independent objects; something that instead of possessing volume or mass could be ascribed as having mechanical properties such as vibration, sound, and energy; independently existing and radiating wavelengths that can be perceived by humans, animals, and perhaps even by those things we consider inanimate (furniture, artwork, complex systems).

Consider the phenomenon known as consciousness. Imagine if you will that “consciousness” is that part of us we call continuity. If this continuity, like an idea, a thought, an emotion, or a particle exists, then we can presume that it has always existed, at least since the time of the Big Bang. 

            If this universe is a closed system with enough mass and energy to create a “Big Bang” (nothing gets in nothing gets out), then that ball of energy and mass could explode outward for a very long time, resulting in the formation of stars and galaxies, and even life. However, eventually it will all come back together and create another ball of mass and energy for another Big Bang, potentially in an infinitely existing cycle. At the beginning of each cycle, the amount of total entropy could be zero or relatively close to it no matter how many cycles and Big Bangs have occurred throughout what we call time.  

Moving away from the notion of time, let us return to the universe in terms of being an open or closed system (in the thermodynamic sense of the terms). The universe is open if it is affected by something outside it. If there is no outside (i.e., if there is no space nor time outside the universe), then it is a closed system. Most people define “universe” in terms that require it to be a closed system. For the purpose of this train of thought, let us presume that the universe in which we exist is a closed system and that everything that we know of or can conceive of exists by nature of the fact that it can be created or imagined. It is in this respect that everything, every thought, idea, emotion, or object exists and while not necessarily able to communicate in the way in which humans define language, still communicates with us by some sort of intuitive communion that occurs when we are in proximity to it.

            It is for this reason that I recognize life in everything, every thought, idea, piece of artwork, inanimate objects and even in some humans, though I can’t be sure. It could be that we are nothing other than a hodgepodge of energies and frequencies coexisting together; that when we are bundled up, like software, we operate like a system, something that in turn gives rise to yet another type of existence. Like I said, these are just thoughts and from my own account of the nature of thoughts, they might not even be my own.


The author of this blog is a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary thinker. She can be found on Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. Buckle up, there is a fast-thinking roller-coaster with built-in Wifi and an iPod set on Shuffle... (in other words, humor is subjective... this blog written for **entertainment purposes only)

the action of providing or being provided with amusement or enjoyment: many people sit in front of the TV or computer for entertainment, some people visit humor blogs, some people like to think, some people like to mix humor and thinking, some people like to think about teleportation or transmutation or cold fusion or linguistics or biology or technology or video games or cooking or philosophy or smoking hashish or 18th Century French literature.

• an event, performance, or activity designed to entertain others: a Stick Figure drawn purely for entertainment purposes.

• the action of receiving a guest or guests and providing them with food and drink and Stick Figure drawings, which they can take home and frame and hang on their wall in a show of defiant irreverence toward "The Man" who became known to many of us in 1984. 

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