I want to speak about bodies changed into new forms. You, gods, since you are the ones who alter these, and all other things, inspire my attempt, and spin out a continuous thread of words, from the world’s first origins to my own time.
Before there was earth or sea or the sky that covers everything, Nature appeared the same throughout the whole world: what we call chaos: a raw confused mass, nothing but inert matter, badly combined discordant atoms of things, confused in the one place. There was no Titan yet, shining his light on the world, or waxing Phoebe renewing her white horns, or the earth hovering in surrounding air balanced by her own weight, or watery Amphitrite stretching out her arms along the vast shores of the world. Though there was land and sea and air, it was unstable land, unswimmable water, air needing light. Nothing retained its shape, one thing obstructed another, because in the one body, cold fought with heat, moist with dry, soft with hard, and weight with weightless things.
~ Ovid, “Metamorphoses”
No, actually I don’t want to speak about changing bodies and I’ve spewed enough of my thoughts on Earthcentric views limiting human imagination, although Ovid does have the excuse of writing long before anyone had the technology to see stars as much more than interesting pictures in the sky.
It is, however, chaos filling my brain today … okay, most days … so imagine how thrilled I was, or wasn’t, to learn the etymology of ‘chaos’ also leads one to ‘yawn’.
Greek χάος means “gap, gaping void, chasm, abyss”, from the verb χαίνω, “gape, be wide open, etc.”, from PIE *ghen-, cognate to Old English geanian, “to gape”, whence English yawn.
Well, no bloody wonder I can have a head full of swirling shit and still be bored!
During a conversation the other day with my dear friend, Brian — he of the blog Truth is Freedom and a fab poet — he mentioned an interesting critter he described as, “chaos vital to creation”, apparently a beastie that can be traced back to ancient times and blamed for just about everything.
Some of our discussion involved various methods we’ve employed in attempts to rein chaos in long enough to force it to take form, allowing us to get on with things in ways … well … less chaotic, but throwing a lasso around “a rude and undeveloped mass, that nothing made except a ponderous weight; and all discordant elements confused, were there congested in a shapeless heap” … another translation of Ovid’s words … is not only difficult, but also an effort with consequences.It shouldn’t come as any surprise that grabbing free-floating ephemera and wrangling it into concepts easily shared pretty much kills off the free-floaty bit and morphs any given ephemeron into engraving, nor that grabbing hold of a “ponderous weight and all discordant elements confused” might not feel too great.
If I had a choice in the matter I might very well let chaos bubble away in a primordial stewing on a back burner instead of constantly caving to the inclination to turn it into something I can serve up.
There sure are a lot of folks that can do just that, and I sometimes find myself envious of those without curiosity, people who manage to go through days and years and lifetimes never hearing the background noise, much less wondering where it comes from.
“Ever wonder why mosquitoes exist … other than as food … or vectors … or … ”
“No … fucking things … SLAP. Got any beer?”
I find it interesting that the words “random” and “hectic” are now synonymous, amongst the young and hip with excellence, excitement and … well … missing the style boat. Of course, youth is supposed to be hectic and random, and chaos fits like a sparkly glove when your biggest worry is parents reading your Tweets.
I Googled “random thoughts” and found 6,960,000 results … and managed to resist clicking on most of them in fear of the “ooooh shiny” thing since I do have work to do today … but this did nothing to advance my chaos theory that was to be the topic of this post.
In summation, then, I’ll simply ask, “Have you seen that story about living forever? I’m really not keen on the idea, myself, and can’t help but wonder …