Abstruse Goose: Party!


AG’s hypermeta mouseover thing says something about being in company but forever alone, and really, no disrespect to anyone having this feeling because it’s surely occasionally universal, but it’s also self-pitying nonsense and just not the case.  Think about it for a minute:  let’s say AG got tired of party chitchat and happened to notice Orion rising over the mountains, so he left and drove to where he could get a better view.  The little star hanging off Orion’s belt is the Orion nebula in which, inside astronomically huge cold clouds, stars are lighting up, blowing their way out of the clouds in a blaze of ultraviolet glory.  The four stars at Orion’s shoulders and legs are Rigel, Betelgeuse, Bellatrix and Saiph, all of which are blue-hot and probably young and noisy except Betelgeuse, which is a red supergiant getting ready to die by blowing itself to smithereens.  No way is AG alone out there: Orion is major partytime.

Not to mention that all AG has to do is look up and what he sees is infinity.  Infinity, free gratis and for nothing, just by looking up.  Alone schmalone.



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7 thoughts on “Abstruse Goose: Party!

  1. Well, allegedly Arnold Kling came back blogging with a promise that his posts would edit out the harsh words because those never changed anybody.

    With a little – reframing. Just a smidgen of adjustment, this could be so beautiful.

    Yes, the utterly alone in company feeling is not uncommon I would think. You look deep into someones eyes and see tissue, no connection, the utter inpenetrability of the other. And, inside you is the galaxies swallowing you, and it cannot be shared.

    But, it could be also as in the post. The party is now noise, and the introvert needs silence, and you go out, in the vast fields, and look out into the even vaster universe, and think that each molecule in you is part of that universe. And, it is all grand!

  2. It turns on the meaning of “alone.” By varying the meaning, one can make the statement true or false. Yes?

  3. @Ase: Your smidgen is gracious and just what was needed. Thank you.

    @Alan: Yes, certainly. Maybe “alone” depends on what community you feel part of.

  4. I love this cartoon. It kind of reminds me of my favourite Robert Frost poem, the Star Splitter, in which a man burns down his farm house and his livelihood to get insurance money for a telescope – and is much happier for it. It starts

    “You know Orion always comes up sideways.
    Throwing a leg up over our fence of mountains,
    And rising on his hands, he looks in on me
    Busy outdoors by lantern-light with something
    I should have done by daylight, and indeed,
    After the ground is frozen, I should have done
    Before it froze, and a gust flings a handful
    Of waste leaves at my smoky lantern chimney
    To make fun of my way of doing things,
    Or else fun of Orion’s having caught me.
    Has a man, I should like to ask, no rights
    These forces are obliged to pay respect to?”

    So Brad McLaughlin mingled reckless talk
    Of heavenly stars with hugger-mugger farming,
    Till having failed at hugger-mugger farming,
    He burned his house down for the fire insurance
    And spent the proceeds on a telescope
    To satisfy a lifelong curiosity
    About our place among the infinities.

    But the bit that I’m thinking of comes later, when they reflect on the farmer’s acts,

    If one by one we counted people out
    For the least sin, it wouldn’t take us long
    To get so we had no one left to live with.
    For to be social is to be forgiving.

    I’ve always thought of these lines and the next few as: we all need loners and their eccentricities!

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