Thursday, August 10, 2006

Gnomonic

Arcs reach from London Heathrow to cities on the other side of the pond. These aren’t lines that you would be aware of if you were to stand (or tread water) where they pass. Some might call these lines “imaginary”, but I would argue (perhaps splitting hairs) that they are “conceptual”. They exist in peoples’ minds and within tools we contrive. These lines are of the same stuff that allowed the Sphere to show A. Square the insides of his neighbors’ houses.

The arcs’ intended purpose was to estimate the course of aircraft, connecting Europe to the Americas. Business people, scholars, and tourists would conduct across these lines trade, ideas, and single-servings of culture.
These lines were just hijacked. Of course, nobody destroyed an airplane. No one died. Instead, malice of intent has again derailed innocuous plans.
Today on the ride home from work, people looked over their shoulders. I watched two strangers watch a third prod a McDonald’s bag with the tip of his umbrella. One rider, half joking noted that Friday would be 8/11 and that the Madrid and Mumbai bombings had both occurred on the 11th. They way she wrung her fingers as she laughed at this observation belied her cynical calm.
I was reminded of the invisible cord that reaches across minds and oceans and seems to tie our hands and tether us to something moving in an alarming direction. I recalled that connection is like change or difference; there is a tendency to either deify or vilify it.
As the train whined to a halt at the end of the line I stood up and headed home just like I do everyday, one point intersected by so many lines.

2 comments:

Charise said...

My comments could never do justice to your writing, still I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. Very eloquent...gets me thinking.

E. R. Dunhill said...

Charise,
I’m glad to hear I’m getting someone’s wheels turning. And please, your comments absolutely do my words justice. I welcome readers to post anything one their minds.