Friday, November 13, 2009

What's The Big Idea

I was just about to say something profound; one of those enormous ideas that explains everything. It was brilliant, original, connected all the dots and yet altogether simple. I was so exited I took a bow and patted myself on the back.

Then I noticed a spec in my peripheral vision; either a tiny fly or flea or one of those floaters in my eye. The name Mittendorf’s Dot popped into my head which made me think of my old high school friend, Mel Mittledorf which, in turn, led me to Dusseldorf, Germany where an earlier friend lived before coming over as a refugee. I remembered Frankie and his dachshund. All this in a second or two.

Just then I started humming a tune I must have picked up as it orbited the globe. They say a joke takes half a minute to travel from New York to California.

By now the big idea has been lost to my self-congratulation, reminiscence, a toe-taper and a re-cycled joke. My antenna is full of static; that Babel to which I have grown accustomed.

Maybe the great insight that flashed through my small brain wasn’t meant for me in the first place; just a cosmic wrong number. If it chimes again I probably won’t even recognize it since it belongs to that more opaque world when it strayed into this one never intending to be caught in so many words.

As a young man when I thought I knew everything I was caught by one of those grand ideas having to do with economic determinism and later a different determinism related to technology and media. But who wants to be determined ?

One can take refuge inside these immense systems but there is always a piece hanging out that won't be embodied within. It is these exceptions which may be the next big idea.

Over time these generalizations can be suffocating. The contrarian in me sneaks out of the tent for a deep breath of nuanced air. The Bedouins have about a dozen words for wind. A parched mind gasping for breath requires at least that many.

1 comment:

  1. I said it before and I'll say it again and again. Your wit and wisdom is lost to most of the world. Sad.