Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Mosaic

In a flash of torrential trauma
Words intrude--
Hard, jagged edges
Ripping into her reverie,
Puncturing her peace,
Shattering her soul.

she stumbles,
then stands
sloshing, slogging,
through painful puddles
of gray grief

until sunshine emerges—

the wailing wind
into a weak whisper . . .
"Seek safety . . . in the shadows!"
it sighs,
. . . solace within the shards!"

They sparkle
in the scintillating sunlight
she collects—herself—

Colors connect,

—and energy expands

Filling the void
with multiplicity,
Mixing media
Restores reason
d roundness
to a Still Life.

Cherice Montgomery, October 8, 2005


aKansasKid said...

Very sad - I'm sorry. Words can destroy, yet also heal. The triad of Silence, Indifference, and Neglect can only slowly smother. They, too, lie in the shadows, in the guise of safety, smothering not only others but ultimately one's self.

Cherice said...

Silence can sometimes mean just the opposite of Indifference or Neglect, and Safety does not mean that there is no Suffering. In fact, the Safety of others often comes only at the price of tremendous personal Sacrifice, as this post will attest:

aKansasKid said...

"Sacrifice" was indeed pertinent and beautiful. I'm sure the loss was not only your own.

I see that Simon and Garfunkel are among your favorites. Perhaps you know that Paul Simon actually wrote all of the music and lyrics. Art was there for his high, pure, crystalline voice. Later, when Paul went out on his own, his music became much broader and richer and moved away from traditional folk-rock. Listen sometime to the easy, smooth, sometimes bluesy nature of “Something So Right”.

One thing that didn’t change, though, were the rich poetic truths most of his works contained. Germane to this thread, consider a passage from “Something So Right”:

They've got a wall in China -
It's a thousand miles long.
To keep out the foreigners they made it strong.
And I've got a wall around me
That you can't even see.
It took a little time
To get next to me.

Walls may give us safety, but can’t regulate who and what are excluded. How can we be sure we don’t miss someone important? Not only can others not see in, but we cannot see out. What will we know of the world, then? What will we know of ourselves?

Cherice said...

All cogent comments. No, I was not aware that Paul Simon generated all of his own material. Thanks for the info.!

I suppose we can never be sure that we will not miss someone important (either because they cannot see us or because we cannot see them). On the other hand, consider this from a more technological perspective for a moment:

When you think "wall," think of an internet security program of some kind. The average person doesn't even try to hack internet security programs (in fact, many aren't even aware that they exist, and many who are wouldn't have the slightest clue as to where to begin to get past them—even on their own computers on which they have administrative privileges). Then you have the group that knows enough to be dangerous. They attempt the hacks, but they are usually pretty crude in their attempts. Sometimes they succeed, but usually only by serendipity and often leave a significant amount of damage to the system in their wake. (By serendipity, I mean someone leaves a password sitting around or "protects" the system with a password that is easy to guess, or the security system is not a very strong one--only providing one layer of security that is pretty easily identified/obvious and left unprotected in terms of back doors, etc.)

By contrast, to hack a decent internet security program requires a certain level of understanding, skill, and expertise (not to mention tenacity). "Expert" hackers can not only get in and out of the system, but they can do it at their pleasure, without being detected most of the time, and are usually pretty careful to leave everything as they found it—intact and without damaging anything.

So, when you say that "we cannot regulate who or what are excluded," I find that I must disagree. I think that depends on what kind of a wall you build and what kind of hackers happen to exist in your world who might be interested in scaling the walls you have built. A "good" wall dissuades the average person from even thinking about climbing it, prevents amateurs from scaling it, and admits only those who are least likely to do any sort of damage.

Your comment about "seeing out" implies that all walls are only designed in a particular way and from a particular set of materials. There is nothing in the Wall-building Rule Book that says the wall cannot be transparent in one direction (analogous to a two-way mirror), or that it cannot have little portals in it (like some of the medieval castles that had tiny holes in the walls through which arrow-weilding warriors could aim and shoot), or that it cannot have turrets out of which people can survey the realm . . . .

Besides, most walls have gates in them . . . although sometimes you have to go looking for them (like the main character in Frances Hodgson Burnett's book, The Secret Garden). You never know what you mind find hiding under the ivy, or when the drawbridge will suddenly and unexpectedly be lowered!

aKansasKid said...

A well-crafted reply! But, wait a minute, aren’t ALL hackers unwelcome? I would think a successful computer security system minimizes intrusions while allowing useful work to proceed in a user-friendly manner. Of course, even bona-fide users are subject to the security, but make it too secure, and the user will just find another computer.

Rather than admitting those likely to do the least damage, perhaps it should admit those likely to do the most good. Even the best user makes mistakes at times that can temporarily hang up the computer. No reason to shut the whole computer down, though, is it?

Regarding drawbridges, my only experience with them is that they close at the most inopportune time…

Cherice said...

As to "well-crafted," I must say that I was pretty pleased with the results! (Grin) You ask, "Aren't all hackers unwelcome?" Well, Paul Graham offers some VERY interesting thoughts on that subject (written from the perspective of a hacker) in his essay "Hackers and Painters." Take a look:

It is really quite beautiful and when I have time, I'll devote a separate posting to it.

Meanwhile, your comments regarding successful security systems are persuasive. My computer has an irritating habit of letting some garbage pass that it should block, while, at times, blocking legitimate communications. I suppose most of it is a question of balance--making sure that the filters are set to block what may be potentially damaging to the user, while still preserving the functionality of the system so that it continues to be of benefit to the user. Getting the settings right requires that the system "learn" what the user's patterns of use are and adjust accordingly. It also requires that the user have significant knowledge about how the system works so as to provide the feedback necessary for the system to make needed adjustments.

Yes, sometimes the computer freezes, and sometimes even superusers make errors. No, you don't always have to shut the whole computer down, but sometimes it needs to reset itself, while at others, the user needs a break from the frustration. Gotta love technology, don't ya?!

As to drawbridges, I have quite a bit to say about that, but will address it in a separate posting on another day as well.

aKansasKid said...

Lest it not be clear, let me clarify that my last remarks were meant entirely metaphorically in response to your posting immediately preceding it. Continuing metaphorically, then, there are times when I'd like to use a computer, but its security systems are so awry, that only a system "reset", if you will, brings it back to a usable state. Alas, one of our human failings is that we have no reset feature. Our memories are volatile, but entirely too persistent. Sometimes our relationships with others become so distorted from our intent that a mere "Undo" command would be ineffective as it's not clear what is awry to undo - only a reset would work, were it only available.

Cherice said...

This article, read metaphorically, offers some interesting perspectives on safe shutdowns and resets.

Norman, D. (1996). Design as practiced. (With an introduction by Terry Winograd). In T. Winograd (Ed.). Bringing design to software. New York: ACM Press.