Blue in the Face

This morning, as I made my coffee, the Radiohead song “Creep” came on the radio. A few years ago I was sitting at the table at my friend Lois’ house listening to a video of a woman covering the song. The song had (clearly) a personal meaning to the woman singing and, it seemed, to Lois. To me the song is just a self-indulgent pity party. To Lois it wasn’t. She explained that to her seemed to be a cri de couer of someone who wanted to fit in. Yeah, I can hear that, too. Is she right or am I right?

Anyway, this morning, listening to it, I thought of language and art and poetry and the myriad ways we all understand things. Putting various languages and their intrinsic values on top of that?

I remember getting sick to the bone of endless discussions of the meaning of this poem or that poem in all my literature classes. Never mind the essays I wrote (and everyone wrote) that set forth a thesis and then supported that thesis with evidence supporting what was essentially a personal opinion. Some things in poetry are really there; some things aren’t. I thought of a poem by Yeats in which he mentions a thigh passing at eye level. I remembered my classmates being totally befuddled by that image. In their befuddlement, they made a LOT out of it when it was just an image of a man riding a horse in a parade. They had not seen that in real life; I had, many many times. When I made my point, the teacher jumped on it in joy. “Yes, Martha, exactly! It was a different world!”

It’s very difficult to know anything about anything and many of my classmates thought I’d made that up.

Featured photo, some clouds. You might see something in them, you might not. I did. But anything I see or you see or anyone sees is what we have been conditioned to see, to expect, even looking for recognizable shapes in clouds is something we’ve been taught to do. If we grow up with X mythology, we’ll see X (I did). If we grow up with Y, we’ll see Y. If we’re a meteorologist? Maybe we’ll see what the cloud really is; a passing storm that just dropped graupel on a lady and her dogs and then moved on.

P.S. I see the Bible God leaning over and stroking his lion, Ariel

11 thoughts on “Blue in the Face

  1. Seeing patterns in random visual things is pareidolia. That’s a subset of apophenia, which is seeing connectedness in random things in general. There’s a lot of that going on. Ockham’s Razor isn’t terribly popular these days.

    “Creep” pretty much defined my life for the first 20-odd years. The “meaning” of the song is painfully simple. One of those things that – if you’ve been there – is obvious. The guy believes he’s a creep and a loser. (Was probably told that often enough that he came to believe it but that’s not in the song.) This is his frustration at not even having a chance at a girlfriend. People looking for meaning often ignore the literal meaning of the words.

    Everybody wants to be appreciated and socially accepted to some degree and this is never more powerful than in adolescence. When that doesn’t happen it leads to depression. Occasionally, some other very bad outcomes.

    They could probably declare that to be the official song of Asperger’s syndrome. Of course, non-Asperger people can also feel the same way.

    • That’s how you hear the song, Fred. I hear it, too, but we have to live our lives however they turn out for us. People who feel that they don’t fit in are often oblivious to the fact that at a certain time in our lives, MOST of us feel we don’t fit in. We have ALL been there.

      We are trapped behind the lens of our own existence and our own being whether it’s Aspergers or having a crippled father that your classmates laugh at because he walks funny or because you wear glasses or because your brother is fat or (wow) because you’re smart. That was my young life. Kids are cruel AND no one ever really grows up.

      I personally feel it’s an important life skill to be able to say ‘fuck you’ to the normals and then understand that the ‘normals’ don’t feel normal, either.

      People want to belong to a clan or a tribe and will go to very great lengths — even abandoning themselves and their souls (as did my brother) — to belong. Other people identify with their “specialness” as a coping mechanism.

      I know that’s pareidolia, but what we see in the patterns is dependent on our conditioning and our expectations. It’s very very very difficult for us humans to see anything for what it really is. I wonder what we’d be like if we could actually DO that?

    • Absolutely, but only within the range of what we know and expect. It’s funny that with the tile in my bathroom, when I first got here, I saw a small person trying to carry a huge globe (Atlas). I don’t see that any more. that’s who I was when I moved here. 😀

  2. “Trapped behind the lens of our own existence” great way of putting it. We all see life through our own lens…always through our life experiences hopes dreams through our our perspective. Loved this one Martha.

  3. You are on a roll. I wish I had clarity of sight, thought, understanding – maybe for just a day… Sometimes not seeing the ugly of life is what keeps us trudging forward.

  4. I tend to see too much in clouds. I agree with writing an opinion and having to back it up with citations and footnotes. Creep is a favourite song. Thanks for joining in Martha 🙂 🙂

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