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Apr 25 2012

Clues…

A small handful of commenters on my Rainbow Connection poll said they knew what I was getting after. Could be, actually. If you know me well, I’m pretty predictable. As a clue, a hint, to those people (and anyone else who wants to guess), I’ll refer back to a favorite verse, and my all-time favorite comment thread… after the jump:

First the verse (and a pic!)

I have no eyes to look behind
And view my brain, much less my mind;
I cannot know your thoughts, and you
Are blind to what I’m thinking, too.
These are the facts; we can’t deny
We have no working “inner eye”
Nor any form of ESP;
Your thoughts cannot be seen by me.

Your claim—that we can know ourselves—
Is countered by the miles of shelves
Of self-help books. Our knowledge hides
From where you tell us it resides!
If we could simply take a look
Inside our minds, why need a book?
We’d never ask “How do I feel?
Could this be love? Could it be real?”

If God or Science offered me
Some cranial transparency
So you could see my every thought—
The change of mind; the urge I fought,
The censored comment never spoken,
Secret kept and promise broken—
What fabled treasures! Wondrous finds,
If we could read each other’s minds!

But we cannot. Make no mistake,
Our skulls and minds are both opaque
We do, instead, what we can do;
We read the things in public view
We see the song, the poem, the kiss;
Infer from these that love is this.
In turn, each element we find
We sum, and call the total “mind”.

If I could see inside my head,
(A place where angels fear to tread)
And see how thinking really works,
The jumble of selected quirks
And if (what wonders “if” can do!)
I saw inside your thinking too
I think that I should never see
What now makes up philosophy.


The fish is a macropinna microstoma, the perfect antithesis of the metaphorical cuttlefish. Cuttlefish obscure their thoughts in ink, but macropinna has a transparent cranium. Utterly open; I’ve known people like that. Except that, no. You’d think you can read her face like a book, but you’re really just reading that book by its cover, and you know what they say about that. We can’t see what a macropinna is thinking. But we can see what it is doing, which is all we need.

Now, the comments. This is the link you want–in my opinion, the best damned comment thread ever to haunt the interwebs. Look at it. Wallow in it. Deep scientific and philosophical discussion, virtually all in verse. And I am not the best writer there. Second, maybe third. Recent research has pointed to the liberating effect of constraints on writing. (So has XKCD) This comment thread has to be exhibit A.

Oh– this is what it looks like when transferred across blogs, when formatting gets eaten by gnomes. It’s worth looking at, if only to see that the comments stand up as actual comments, rather than just as verse.

1 comment

  1. 1
    rikitiki

    Why are the religious
    So tweaked about rainbows,
    Did Noah monopolize?
    Rainbows are pretty
    All colors inclusive
    They don’t in a closet hide.
    All should be equal, that’s all we are asking
    With the rights of humanity

    We’re just now seeing
    The rainbow connection
    Where we all have equality

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