Mainly, I was wondering: have you ever been struck by an old thought in new clothes that proceeds to master your mind? What am I talking about, you ask? I'm talking about some sublime arrow from ancient history that pierces you anew in a tender spot, and begins absorbing all your attentions. I'm talking about a burrowing beauty of a thought that thoroughly infects you and consumes your consciousness; something so insidiously captivating that you can't help but dwell on it, discuss it... meditate and mediate on it... to excess. Imagine a conceptual pulsar so potent that even your basic capacity to create overwrought alliterations cannot escape it. Have you ever been afflicted by some grand metaphor like this?-- one that you can't seem to put down, even as it co-opts all your other thoughts? Have you ever had a notion that took on a life of its own, and you slowly realized that this idea is no longer a part of your intellect, instead: your intellect has become part of this idea! In other words, have you ever had one of those daemonic episodes where you first feel like you've discovered something wonderful, and then (it seems like minutes but its really days later) you feel a maddening suspicion that this new concept will turn you into a one-thought zombie if you don't get away from it?
So, have you?
Well, I have. For the past week I've reflected on the way Adam Ant pronounces "following" in his song, "Strip". Yes, truly. Here's the lyric in question:
We're just following ancient history
If I strip for you will you strip for me?
Now I'll grant that, initially, this seems like a rather simple exercise. One might think that even an exhaustive examination of Ant's pronunciation of the word "following" couldn't require more than half an hour, tops. But that's only if you're viewing the matter from the outside. Verily I say to you: if you start thinking about "followeeng"-- really climbing into the topic and exploring Ant's use of the word, and seeing where it takes your critical faculties-- you've taken the first step down a treacherously addictive path. Sure, the first day of contemplation might seem like a holiday; an endless string of alluring intellectual vistas, one more beautiful than the next. But then the booby trap doors begin opening from under you, and suddenly you're in the company of far fewer angels and a lot more devils, as you fall irrevocably deeper into the subject. By the time your healthy curiosity turns into healthy caution, it may be too late. So my advice to you is: ignore the intellectual temptation to take on "followeeng", my friend.