Life as an Extreme Sport

strange serendipities

I have been reading William S. Burroughs’ The Adding Machine, and finding, to my delight, small bursts of creativity flowing from his words. I picked up a journal this evening to pair with the book, to record and expand my thoughts on what I’m reading (instead of scribbling on the back of whatever receipt is handy).

In one of his essays, Burroughs talks about words being viruses, and how Korzybski’s book argues that words without referents are words that should be dropped from the language. It stuck with me, since I’ve been thinking a lot about semiotics lately, and how much of Locke’s Essay deals in a sign theory that seems closely mappable to Lacan’s. I sort of wondered how my empiricism prof would take me tossing Korzybski into the discussion next week (before dismissing it outright since that would drag the conversation even more off track than we normally get), idly debated looking to see if the store had the book Burroughs referred to, and moved along.

I had decided I wanted to inscribe Stephen Greenblatt’s comment about wonder in the beginning of my new journal, and rather than just walk into the other room and pull Marvelous Possessions off the bookshelf, I decided to see if I had the quote in my blog. A quick search on Greenblatt pulled up not the quote on wonder, but a discussion of Douglas Engelbart and Korzybski. How very strange and serendipitous the world can be.