Monday, February 03, 2014

At the bus stop today I noticed that there were some puddles mingling with the ice on the sidewalk. It rained heavy on Saturday and got cold again. Ten inches of snow due tomorrow evening. But I was wondering how there could be water on the ground when the weather machines tell us the temperature is below freezing. Maybe these numbers are more of an average, and the "real" temperatures are more dynamic, where the sun hits or where the feet and the tires keep coming through. That it might be 26 degrees in one spot, and 34 a few inches away. And then an hour later, maybe this shifts, because the sun moves or traffic gets redirected. All that is to say that maybe the temperature is not a fact, but an approximation, and while it means something to us, paying attention to the moment to moment of where we are and what we are doing is another way to consider the weather. The colored temperature maps on our screens make it look like we're all of one thing, but maybe our sense experience isn't so universal. 

These thoughts vaguely related to the reading I've been doing in post-modern rhetoric, thinking about "modernism" and the almost impossible-to-imagine idea that there was a point in history (pre-modern, pre-Enlightenment) when ideas of universal truths weren't what we were going for. Pre-science, pre-searching for facts and 'better' ways to do things. Books like Stephen Toulmin's Cosmopolis and Heidegger's Parmenides suggesting that it hasn't always been the case that us humans have been looking for answers to questions of why and how. That history hasn't always existed, and we haven't always wondered where we came from or where we are going.