the archivist July 1, 2012

I reached saturation point with lifestyle blogs, as I had previously with personal finance blogs, lifehack blogs, and probably more that have now slipped my mind entirely. It’s miserably hot here, by the way.

I love Pinterest, but it depresses me how 80% of pins are re-pins, and only 20% is new content. Of that 20%, of course, maybe only 5% will become the pins that are re-pinned by most users. So essentially it is a giant echo chamber, mostly of recipes and crafts. There is even a hilarious, potty-mouthed blogger who half-heartedly tests out popular Pinterest ideas.

For me, it is ultimately unsatisfying to see products and projects with no nod to the history and heritage in which they were created. There is a sanitization that wipes away culture and discourse, leaving only vague instructions and pretty results. And besides, no one re-pins any of my coolest pins, but if I post something halfway schlocky, it blows up.

On the other side of the scales, there is the overwhelming estimate of just how much is out there, how much to catch up on and experience and visit and revisit. The only comfort is that important things just keep resurfacing. Like TS Eliot’s ‘Four Quartets’. I keep stumbling upon mentions of them wherever I turn, it seems. Way back when, I spent so much mental energy on Prufrock that I overlooked this work,  and now I find I like it better.

It’s a bit long to post here, so I will leave you with bookends:

First the beginning…

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.
Other echoes
Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?

Then the beautiful ending….

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

T.S. Eliot, Collected Poems, 1909-1962