In the gathering dust, Schrödinger’s zombie cat has no name…
Every time I looked at my reflection today I thought “Minerva’s owl.”
I even considered naming the owl on my shirt “Minerva” for a brief moment before I realized that this would be tantamount to naming my dog “Pavlov” or my cat “Schrödinger” and I hate it when people do that.
Minerva might chill with a sacred owl, but she is NOT an owl. She is a goddess.
And Pavlov and Schrödinger were humans who, to the best of my knowledge, didn’t even own the animals they tested their famed theories on. Come to think of it, I don’t think Schrödinger’s cat ever even existed outside of the mind.
I hope not, anyway…
Even if, for some reason, Pavlov owned one of his salivating dogs, the dog’s first name wouldn’t be “Pavlov” – it would be Sparky or something. Sparky Pavlov. Surely it was uncouth in the 1890′s for bros to casually address each other by their last names as men do now… let alone dogs!
Could you imagine?
I’ll spare you any more of this “look at me I have a liberal arts degree!” banter.
Those of you who are more educated than me are probably thinking that I’m an idiot who’s trying to sound smart, and those of you who are less educated than me are probably thinking that I’m a huge, pretentious douchebag and you just want to get back to streaming Dora The Explorer’s Pirate Adventure already.
Perhaps I’m a douchebag idiot. Or mayyyybe, just maybe I’m a super awesome COOLSTAR.
The quantum theory of superposition suggests that if you place me in a sealed box shielded against environmentally induced quantum decoherence, I could be both at the same time.
Get it? Me either.
The point of this wonky tangent is that I like my owl sweater because it reminds me of an essay by Harold Innis based on a quote by an extremely influential 19th century pre-Marxist German philosopher named Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel:
“Minerva’s owl begins its flight only in the gathering dusk…”
I am a scholar / super fan of both Innis and Hegel (more so the former than the latter), as well as enamoured with this particular theory and all that it has come to represent in my life – in all of our lives. Increasingly so, I fear…
I like owls too.
The jist of Innis’s “Minerva’s Owl” essay is that the richest flowering of an empire comes just before its decline and fall.
“The idea is hardly a new one, that a culture begins its disintegration with its highest and most creative period; Hegel, the young Marx and Toynbee certainly all thought so…” writes Robert Burnett. “Innis followed the flight of Minerva’s owl into new quarters, however, suggesting that the process of cultural growth and expansion flows not from genius or empire but from media…Today Minerva’s owl would surely be surfing the Internet.”
Perhaps it’s best not to think about this right now. We haven’t peaked yet, as a civilization… right? I burned myself with a hair straightener just the other day.
Minerva was not an owl.
P.S. I feel as though the time I just spent writing this would have been better spent catching up on my sleep.
It takes a lot of will power to let thoughts simply pass through one’s mind unrecorded in an age of Tweets, texts and Tumblogs… Status updates, scrolling screens… Smarrrrtphoooones….
OMG closing the lid. I’ll be up till 5:51 a.m. if I don’t stop now.