Friday, February 09, 2007

Serif Metaphysics

I have always loved infinity. And especially, the symbol for infinity – that Mobius strip that exists in one less dimension than it should. I don’t think of A as representing an oxhead as it originally did, but am always aware that the symbol for infinity is a visual representation of the concept of infinity. It is an endless loop, spacetime turning around itself, a conceptual ouroboros, doing a 360 twist before bending back to eat its own tail.

And I wonder what infinity has to do with eightness? Eight on its side. Is eight infinite when looked at in a certain way? What if I looked at W on its side – would it reveal something transcendent. Another forever?

And infinity makes me think of 6. A 6 is infinity broken, a forever halted halfway before the final turn.

Infinity represents the idea that something has no beginning and no end. But the writing started somewhere. Writing infinity means starting somewhere and beginning again without a trace.

The circle is traditionally the symbol for something that has no beginning and no end. When I got married, we exchanged rings. In Jewish tradition, the rings are supposed to be unadorned, a simple of endless and perfection. You don’t need chatkas to adorn your endlessnessness.

Which brings me to O. It’s nothing. Is it the enclosure of emptiness? An empty basket? A full moon but a blind eye? Is nothing a sense of getting nowhere? Is it half of infinity? O O O O that Shakespeherian dread nought.

Nothing is a sense of holeness. Of wholeness.

It’s easy to write O sans serif. But it is metaphysical to write O with serifs.

An endless serif. A hidden serif. A lost serif. An eternal serif. A secret serif. A single unbroken serif. An infinite number of potential serifs. O serifim of the possible. Font of the ineffable. O serifable O.

The name for the symbol is actually the lemniscate. (And so perhaps the above is solemniscate).


Angelo said...

Funny story about the lemniscate. I never heard the word until -- and I probably should be embarrassed about this but I'm actually truly not -- I read it on/under a Snapple bottle cap. Yup, it's true, about six or seven years ago. I have the bottle cap around here somewhere and I'll have to photograph it. But then I also read on a Snapple bottle cap that 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 123,456,789 or something like that (I'll have to find that one, too). Hey, amazing stuff is where you find it, right?

Something tells me you'd be interested in the writing group I participate in. It's called The Writhing Society and we practice writing with constraints in the tradition of the OuLiPo. You can observe our exploits on their Facebook page.

Anyway, thanks for many interesting things. If you're ever in NYC, we meet on many a Wednesday at 7:00 P.M. in Brooklyn, New York.

gary barwin said...

Hi Angelo,

So glad to hear from you. The Writhing Society sounds intriguing and I'll keep it in mind when I'm next in NYC, which does happen sometimes. Snapple. The Bottle of Revelations indeed. Or maybe, it is just the cap, some kin of contemporary cappallah.

I'll check out the group on Facebook and maybe even find some of your work there.