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Variations on Heraclitus

We see the digital begin to stream on the Network and think we’ve seen something new. At what point did we start to see the analog stream? We call to things by name and they come from every quarter. It’s no longer enough that they stream; when we call, what comes? And what call do we make? We can focus on the medium over the message, and that will tell us something about our environment. But as background and foreground become compressed into a single mesh, we look more intently to the intimacy of the message.

Variations on Heraclitus

By Louis MacNeice (1961)

Even the walls are flowing, even the ceiling,
Nor only in terms of physics; the pictures
Bob on each picture rail like floats on a line
While the books on the shelves keep reeling
Their titles out into space and the carpet
Keeps flying away to Arabia nor can this be where I stood –
Where I shot the rapids I mean – when I signed
On a line that rippled away with a pen that melted
Nor can this now be the chair – the chairoplane of a chair –
That I sat in the day that I thought I had made up my mind
And as for that standard lamp it too keep waltzing away
Down an unbridgeable Ganges where nothing is standard
And lights are but lit to be drowned in honour and spite of
        some dark
And vanishing goddess. No, whatever you say,
Reappearance presumes disappearance, it may not be nice
Or proper or easily analysed not to be static
But none of your slide snide rules can catch what is sliding
        so fast
And, all you advisers on this by the time it is that,
I just do not want your advice
Nor need you be troubled to pin me down in my room
Since the room and I will escape for I tell you flat:
One cannot live in the same room twice.

Published in culture difference digital network performance philosophy poetry real time web time value