Friday, 7 September 2007
The Moving Stairway
Is it madness to say of an escalator that it has language embedded in it? It is a creation of the thinking, rational element of the world (the noosphere, as Teilhard de Chardin named it), and as such it is an articulation and expression of our human-cultural paradigms. It manifests human conceptuality and exists solely for a teleological demand within human society.
The escalator belongs - in every aspect apart from its material nature - to the structures of the human mind. It has been created based on an idea, a purpose which was conceived by an individual, in order to serve a need present within society. Its genesis is not within itself but within thought. It is essentially a means of transport, but within its essence, its being, is a communicative act directly from one mind to another.
An apple holds no such message-bearing elements. It exists for itself and is utilised by humans to satisfy a need. But this role is secondary to its existence and nature. A moving staircase has its essence outside of itself, its essence resides in the noosphere as a communication of its intended usage. Its essence necessitates understanding, it demands human intellect for without human society it has no nature: Of itself it is nothing. Dead, inert and meaningless, an unnatural collection of molecules; something which cannot be produced via natural process and can have no end via natural process except decay.
And much, very much of the world we live in is the same. So much of our day to day lives are sunk within social conceptuality, we do not see beyond our miniscule cultural horizons. An escalator is just an escalator. We see the essence, we see the noosphere's concept, we do not see the reality. We forget there is anything beyond our cultural paradigms. Maybe this isn't a bad thing. Probably intellect demands that letterbox apprehension. The more we filter and abstract the more precisely we can think and further our human endeavours. But surely there is something to be said for the ability to stand outside and accept the madness of human culture; to appreciate the objective from some other perspective than the one we normally live in?