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June 15, 2006

eccentricity

My dentist told me (as he ripped out some seven ancient fillings to make way for two new crowns) that my bite is eccentric. (He'll have to tell me if bruxism is at fault.) He used the term, properly spelled eccentric but pronounced e-centric, to simply mean off-center. We couldn't help but notice, however, the common use of eccentric to be a potentially apt descriptor of yours truly. {gasp!}

He gave me quite the hard time for my "thrilling" reading material. (We'll see if I go back to him again, hmmph!)

My new roomie and his pals are into it, though. Not that it was a subject of discussion last night, instead, as we ate our scrumptious dinner last night Smita and I both noticed the gender division: men at the table, women in the living room. We teasingly applauded ourselves for having a higher order conversation. Within minutes, while we were discussing the 1970’s Emergency in India, the men become quite animated regarding hairstyles.

That sums up the meterosexual portion of the evening. (Perhaps I can inspire more political discussion?) Prior to this, however, Sourya tried to set me right regarding quantum mechanics...a "pillar" of physics that I think can be a metaphor (and vice-versa?) for human relations.

He introduced me to the concept of commutability. The article linked mentions Bose-Einstein . I'm not sure how those figure in to our conversation. I was trying to explain my understanding of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, in which (supposedly) energy and matter are both dually present, and what you get is what you look for: the fact of observation in-and-of-itself changes the manifestation or "reality" of the object. Sourya explained that really matter and energy are "the same thing", but that some things don't commute. His example had to do with location and velocity. One cannot both pinpoint location and accurately measure speed at the quantum level. If you get an accurate measure of velocity it is impossible to fix a specific location at any given time; if you fix a particular location then the speed becomes indeterminate.

Aren't people like this too? :-) Here are a few quotes I culled from recent reading to provide a minimal sketch of what I study:

“…the fragility and ineluctably historical nature of language, the coming and dying of meaning that it, as a phenomenon, shares with that other phenomenon it ventriloquates, man” (p.xviii).

[dialectics, I argue] goes for “a general voice” which Bahktin says doesn’t exist in isolation from “a specific saying…..Language, when it means, is somebody talking to somebody else, even when that someone else is one’s own inner addressee” (emphasis in original, p. xxi).

These are from Michael Holquist's introduction to four of Bakhtin's essays. Another one to follow up on some day - in relation to me and the act of blogging - is this:

“...the way intimacy with our own voice conduces to the illusion of presence” (p. xxi) – Holquist links Bakhtin with Husserl and Derrida on this point. I have become more real to my own self through writing; is this an illusion or a delusion?

Kinda puts me in mind of "the working-class solution to sideburns."

Posted by Steph at June 15, 2006 4:13 PM

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