During my biology degree I was exposed to by personal tutor’s pet-theory, which at the time he was pursuing doggedly into increasingly fringe-science areas. It was telling they gave me to him. Anyone who they couldn’t work out what to do ended up around him, and he sent us off to weird places the rest of the department probably wouldn’t approve of.
The theory was about life as a contextual entity. He was the funguy, known for getting terribly over-excited over the growth of mycelium patterns in lectures to the point of standing on the front bench and gesturing like a preacher. The theory primarily came from Fungi, as they – to his eye – showed this property of life in a more conclusive way than most. Things changed fundamentally depending on where you put them. Life wasn’t discrete units in true boundaries – in fact, all boundaries are semi-permament. Any form of life is fundamentally a different thing depending on where its placed, and should be treated as such.
(This is very much an anti-reductionism pro-wholism argument.)
Fungi showed this best, because you could see where they changed in their lifestate, since the mycelial network was semi-permament. You could see where they grew thick to explore before altering to a diffuse network in areas of richness and so on. Applied to higher-organisms is more difficult, with you effectively having to draw a time-delayed diagram of their movement patterns. Back then, in this theory, to really understand me, you’d have to had a graph which had two density interaction clumps around my flat and the university, with a threaded line between the two. These were the places where Kieron Gillen existed. Do it now, and all the plots will be in one room, with an occasional offshoot.
(And I wonder how the internet changes the theory, at least in social terms. Where am I now?)
This comes to mind as I get up at 6am, as it’s so outside my normal context that I wonder what sort of person I am now? I’ll tell you. I’m a person who’s confused by the fact the sky’s black earlier in the day (“No sky, but a swastika, so black…” oh fuggetit). And I’m a person who’s satisfying his overwhelming and baseless urge to listen to New Order’s “World In Motion”.
I’m… different to usual.
I’m spending the next few days at Blizzcon and, for a second, wonder who I’ll be there. I won’t be this, that’s for certain. “travel broadens the mind” isn’t enough. Travel changes it – changes you, forever. How will the experience of seeing grown human beings trying to dance like videogame avatars alter me? I don’t know. I’ll tell you about it later.
I’m not joking about New Order. I’m even digging the Barnes’ rap, man.