Donnerstag, Mai 30, 2013

Pragmatism and concordancing

I fell in love at the Pantibar. And it could've been Belfast or Berlin even, because geography is so overrated. Maybe if we'd tried a little harder the world would've crumpled under that Glasgow moon a few days later. How foolish it seems now to be scared of the apocalypse! But, alas, the world continued its endless rotation and you found that angst was a theme we carried well. I fell in love at the Pantibar and as a firm believer in plot twists I shrugged off all the warnings, because everybody knows that in the end even a doormat can become a queen, right? And plot twists we had! I quit drinking and smoking because I was so afraid of killing myself directly, when I'd obviously rather kill myself by proxy. Heaven knows I came close. Right now, I am not more damaged than most people at this point and I hope neither are you. After all, we tend to accept the love we think we deserve. So maybe we should reconsider our thoughts on this.
Which is why I am leaning into a pragmatic understanding of the world (which is as ridiculously doomed as it sounds - me! Pragmatic!)... and I have to say it kinda works. It goes well with a certain fatalism I acquired and it surely makes room in nihilism for a hopeless romantic. I discovered that it is in fact really easy to make this love/relationship/romance/fairytale stunt work. Considering that all you need is a minimum of attraction, an initial spark and above all the willingness of both parties to connect all the bits and pieces to a thing. Nothing fancy about it. Which makes it even sadder that people fail time and again in making it happen. After all, it can't be that difficult to deceive ourselves and weave hormonal chemistry and good timing into destiny, right?
Pragmatism basically consists in measuring all your hysterical pathos against that one simple truth: Still breathing, still alive, just another day.
That said, I am not waiting for another plot twist. I am not even hoping for it... but I have to admit it would be tremendous and epic and larger-than-life in Italian and with subtitles. And if it came along I would totally tear myself apart jumping right it, because when your life turns into an opera you stand up and sing.

Now to concordancing. I have been concordancing for a long time now. Without actually knowing it. I learned the vocabulary just a year ago in one of my seminars. I use Google to check for spelling (the option that gets more hits wins) or collocations (though they have tinkered with the "**" function I think... in all their optimizing they made quotation queries less sharp...) and when I think it is really important, or I need more detailed search functions I use on of the linguistic corpora as a concordancer. I like concordancing, because it doesn't tell what to do, but rather gives you the statistics about what the rest of the world does. And if you decide to say things differently then you have it your way.
Sometimes I wish there was something like concordancing for life. Because in our religious egoism we feel so unique (though some small voice in the back of our heads knows we probably aren't) and I think it would be good to simply type in a few words into some concordancer and see: "writing applications after graduation" gets more hits than "not writing applications after graduation" but the difference is not a great as expected. Or: "Thinking your life has changed when it hasn't" is not as uncommon as you want to believe - our brain is sneaky like that.
Of course, we would still be clueless about where to go from here, but at least we would be absolutely certain that millions of others are just as confused.

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