Invisible forces, known and unknown

image nicked from
  1. With matter, as with people, we see only the skin of things. We can’t see into the engine room. We can’t see what makes people tick, at least not without difficulty. And the closer we look at anything, the more it disappears. In fact, if you look really closely at stuff, if you look at the basic substructure of matter, there isn’t anything there. Electrons disappear in a kind of fuzz, and there is only energy. And you can’t see energy.
    John Lloyd, Inventory of the Invisible
  1. As a teenager in the 80’s I had a friend who was constantly shifting residence between one or the other of her, entirely unstable, parental households. Looking for a peaceful existence was for her a matter of finding the lesser of two evils in the present moment. The instability of both Mother and Father was also reflected in the fact that the cycle of moving from one residence to another, never turned back upon itself – for when it was time to move on, there was nowhere to return to – the parent in question had inevitably changed address; done a runner, moved in with a new partner or perhaps been evicted. I always visited with some trepidation – her mother, a violent and slightly delirious born-again Christian, her father an alcoholic known for ‘bothering’ the teenaged female friends of his kids.
  1. Some of the things John Lloyd lists in his inventory include gravity, consciousness, the stars in daylight (the universe disappears in the day – the more light the less you can see), time, atoms, gas, electricity, galaxies (out of 100 billion we can only see 5), radio waves and what he identifies as ‘The grid on which we hang’ posing the question that if we are entirely physically regenerated every 7 years – what then are we? I spend a great deal of time musing on the invisible – consciousness and cognition in particular and about how to give them form, either to emphasise their ‘knownness’, their indisputable ‘realness’ or alternately to suppose the existence of forces in doubt (spirit, telekinesis, voodoo etc.).
  1. As she watched, he climbed down and ran toward the rock band’s equipment. He caught hold of one of the microphone stands and was transfixed. Carrie watched, amazed, as his body went through a nearly motionless dance of electricity. His feet shuffled in the water, his hair stood up in spikes, and his mouth jerked open, like the mouth of a fish. He looked funny. She began to laugh.
    (by christ then let them all look funny)
    And in a sudden, blind thrust, she yanked at all the power she could feel.
    Some of the lights puffed out. There was a dazzling flash somewhere as a live power cord hit a puddle of water. There were dull thumps in her mind as circuit breakers went into hopeless operation. The boy who had been holding the mike stand fell over on one of his amps and there was an explosion of purple sparks and then the crepe bunting that faced the stage was burning.
    Stephen King, Carrie pg. 172
  1. Once I visited the aforementioned friend at yet another new address. I approached the front door, knocked and awaited a response. While waiting I noticed a ceramic insulator with fuse hanging half out of it’s socket in the fusebox. I pushed it back into place with two fingers and was brutally thrown by an electrical current backwards off the doorstep and onto the front path where I was knocked unconscious on the concrete. I know what happened yet in my memory the force is as much the energy of a troubled location and my own anxious anticipation of the door being answered as it is of voltage. I awoke to the curious face of my friends drunken father as he pondered what to do with a large, unconscious teenage girl collapsed on his front path and clearly visible from the nature strip, her assailant nowhere to be seen.

March 2015


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