The Beauty Is Not Luxurious Imagination


My wife just returned from Beijing where she's been collecting interviews for a TV project. And I find that her beauty is not luxurious imagination.

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That is a bold aesthetical-cum-ontological statement!

In mid-sixties Japan it was pretty common for large crosswalks to have a stand on either side of the street holding red canes. The idea here was that crossing the street you took one of the bright red canes held it up, and stepped into traffic with confidence that the red cane gave you right-of-way and legal protection. Once across you dropped the cane into a holder on the other side.

It has to be noted that traffic on major roads was very fast. They were coming around a sweeping curve and barreling past the cross walk. Depending on the presence of a painted stick held high to protect you seemed the height of folly.

It didn't help that the english translation attached to the cage holding the canes suggested that 'If you get to other side please deposit cane in holder'. The effect of the 'If', and the doubt it implied, was quite disconcerting. More so that when we were there there were not any natives crossing, demonstrating the technique. We found another route.

Later we did see the method in action. Quite remarkable. An elderly lady takes the cane, waits for what seems like a break in the traffic along the highway, raises the cane vertically, as one might hold an umbrella in use, and steps out. The traffic stopped in good order and patiently allowed her to make her way slowly across the street. Amazing. I half expected to see a few near misses or her having to rush across but, for the Japanese, it works. Evidently, the person holding the cane up has the protection of the law and not respecting their right to cross would be a grievous violation of the social order. The Japanese struck me as being very big on good order.

Just be sure to place the cane in the holder on the opposite side of the street if you make it across. I suppose they forgive not placing it in the holder if you don't make it. The Japanese are always a forgiving people.

Hmm...what about the sublime beauty of astronomy?
"Humans fire laser to sky, sky responds with lightning"…

Actually, astronomy has ties with Lovecraft's wrtiting.

Lovecraft knew about the possibility of sunless planets in the void. Recently, gravity microlensing events have confoirmed that sunless planets are quite common. 80-90% of planetary systems undergo a chaotic phase where planets are thrown into wildly eccentric orbits, or are thrown away from the system altogether.
And if you are an entity using supraconducting circuits instead of neurons, you would consider Lovecraft's bleak spheres balmy, and Earth-like planets hellish uninhabitable orbs.
Of course, for such dark-dwellers we would be as monstrous as Ctulhu in deep R'lyeh.

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 11 Sep 2011 #permalink