Rendered Fat Content


Santiago Ramón y Cajal: Sphenoidal cortex in a 25-day old infant (circa 1929)
" … it probably well-serves us if we can supplant our desire to know for certain with at least a little continuing faith."

In a perhaps apocryphal account of Edison's search for a workable Filament for his envisioned light bulb, his research team investigated around 6,000 substances, many of them carbonized, ranging from bamboo into complex metal alloys. His research involved engaging in an almost infinite search destined to almost always disappoint. I suppose faith in his envisioned outcome kept him going, that and a certain hubris he was well known to possess. Our SettlingInto has taken on similar proportions as we try on various alternative arrangements of our same old possessions, none of which seem immediately correct. Our faith—in turns flagging and surging—in ever finding that perfect combination fuels us forward. All infinite searches must be faith-based initiatives. The old advice about simply envisioning a future then moving toward it guided by mysterious Laws of Attraction amounts to aging New Age claptrap and probably hurts much more than it helps. Infinite searches, those engaged in within innumerable emerging parameters, cannot be successfully concluded by either hope or rigorous method, but probably only by means of Happy Accident, like Edison's Filament discovery most likely was.

Happy Accidents seem invulnerable to engineering discipline and rigorous process.
One might attend to setting up apparently critical initial conditions, but even these seem based upon potentially unwarranted assumptions about the nature of an unknown. One engages and attempts to maintain focus. Initial experiments might at best fail forward to produce some deeper insight into the nature of the search itself without offering much real relief. Losses might build upon losses without gaining even a scant inch of ground. Even firm faith tends to get ground down to a nubbin of its former fervor. Frustrated outbursts, while clearly justified by disappointing experience, might serve as the true enemy of progress. Serial humiliation should eventually flow off the researcher's back as if water cascading over duck feathers. It's not about you but about a future which insists upon remaining utterly unknowable until it's not unknowable anymore. Progress seems simultaneously impossible and inevitable, as long as faith in its eventual emergence persists. An underlying hubris helps, as if resolution remains inevitable regardless.

Two weeks after we moved in, I realized that the sink drains had been installed backward. The left sink inexplicably did not contain the disposal but a simple drain. The disposal had been installed in the right sink, rendering every attempt to accomplish anything subtly ham-handed. The error only became obvious after innumerable clumsy repetitions. I'd wondered where my former agility had gone. Several other subtle shortcomings have emerged, each playing hide and seek with us, each inhibiting progress. The designers of this place did not anticipate wi-fi signals attempting to penetrate its solid structures, so The Muse has migrated into what we initially mistook as being my office, where the wi-fi force seems strongest. I've largely abandoned unpacking in favor or reclaiming the yard, which at least seems to respectfully remember me. I carry muscle memory for every square inch of the space and easily reinhabited it, immediately finding the guiding Filament. Inside, especially in the basement, provides a different story. The shower seems to have developed a slow drip leak overnight. Fixing that should effectively divert my progress toward completing what I'd previously planned. The Muse completed a fevered bout of unpacking last night, that to relieve some building tension fueled by continuing irresolution. The puzzle pieces don't quite fit together yet.

Faith is not belief, and not even belief proves any notion. Facts might eventually evolve into truths, irrefutable, but until then they remain speculation. Once Edison stumbled upon his magic filament he could credibly claim to know something, but incremental improvements continued and still continue today to find ever better adaptations. I have faith that at some point the bulk of our possessions will have found their place. I expect a few to remain free-floating forever, for that just seems some things' nature, but most will find the location best suiting them. Until that time, we engage in an infinite search and it probably well-serves us if we can supplant our desire to know for certain with at least a little continuing faith. It's Hell to find that I cannot find even the simplest thing. Cooking in the emerging kitchen has me opening every cupboard and drawer infinitely searching for something once ready-to-hand and impossible to lose. My ham-handed attempts at coping are not helped by backward drain installations, but it's an infinite search and we remain mere finite beings. May our faith somehow preserve through this search for the magic Filament!

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus

Made in RapidWeaver