It seemed not so long ago a terrarium was a common sight in a home. Also fish tanks, turtle boxes, even freeze-dried sea-horses that you sent away for were trafficked more heavily in the pre-computer age. Little patches of life, microcosms and personal plots and spaces. Handheld domains sustained by the attention we brought to them.
We now cultivate social globes. We tend our Digitariums populated by “friends and followers”, and fed by our crafted personas. We spend swaths of time in prescribed webspheres made of input boxes, upload buttons, and php scripts. These are technically vivariums too, miniature worlds, but the contents of the bowl are linguistic and iconic rather than purely organic.
Yet they are similar in that we choose what to allow in, and what to keep alive, if we can. Whereas before, flies and water were the fuel, the nibbles now are snapshots, thoughts, and renderings of exploits.
Once in tender youth I sent away for the mysterious box of sea horse specimens. They arrived inert, suspended in some nether zone. Some came alive once submerged, most failed to animate. Damn, that was mysterious. Still is.
My hunch is that if our timelines held that much wonder, and our nurturings were as perched between life and death, we might be a more attuned and curious bunch.
the world is soaked in mystery
Gravity & music:
Astronomers in oxygen masks climb
16,700 feet above the Atacama desert
to reach the instrument that maps
the birth of the universe.
How to discern the geometry
of space-time? Listen to the music.
That originary mass of fire
rang like a bell, deep foundation note,
rising overtones. And the notes still sound,
background to all other notes, a key,
if we can learn to use it, to the great
net of gravity, fire, music & mystery
that birthed all forms of matter & mind.
Sea creatures use sound
to map their world. In dolphins
the acoustic cortex is dense & elaborate
as the visual cortex in our own brain.
Do blue whales hear the B flat
fifty seven octaves below middle C
sung by a black hole in Perseus?
Pythagoras is called a mystic,
a dreamer whose vision, the music
of the spheres, we are taught to regard,
with gentle tolerance, as quaint fancy.
But astronomers in oxygen masks
on the roof of the Andes have gleaned
this truth …. the Greek was right – it sings.
digitariums and sea monkeys
It’s a great analogy. I’ve been thinking about it all weekend.
The terrariums and such were fun but rather closed. We made them, though. It was a school project.
I recall bringing a bucket of tadpoles home once, and watched as they grew legs, dropped the tail, and hopped out to make the world a better froggy place for themselves. Much more open system.
The first major digitarium I recall was AOL. Recall not so long ago when everyone had to be on AOL. TV ads featured AOL keywords. Free signup discs were sent on an almost daily basis to just about everyone.
It was a closed system. People who lived in AOL world thought that AOL was the internet, though only other AOL users were a part of it. “Find us on AOL” sounded great to AOL users, but sounded like “we’re in a cave at the bottom of the sea” to other internet users.
The AOL tadpoles eventually grew legs and joined the rest of the internet.
We have built our own little digitarium here for the Brattleboro area, but it isn’t closed off. We try to provide many entry ways and escape routes for us critters to come and go. One need not register to see details of events or news.
I can picture some slightly more intelligent life somewhere in the Twilight Zone with their toy human arriving:
“Once in tender youth I sent away for the mysterious box of human specimens. They arrived inert, suspended in some nether zone. Some came alive once submerged, most failed to animate. Damn, that was mysterious. Still is.”
As for sea monkeys… the packaging was very deceptive. It used to show a whole royal court of sea monkeys, with a king wearing a crown and cheerful faces. The freeze-dried brine shrimp just didn’t live up to the pictures on the box. We try it out, fall for it for a while, learn, and move on.