Wednesday, May 5, 2010

World in a Tangle

     It is like the flowers falling at spring's end,
                   confused, whirled in a tangle.

     “Exile’s Letter” by Ezra Pound 
     (from the Chinese of Li Po)

Deliquescence is the opposite of inspissation,which is a form of viscosity that derives from dehydration. Does this have anything to do with the 0th Law of Thermodynamics, which mandates the transfer of heat between systems in a state of disequilibrium? The answer is no, though the facility of movement is really the question. It’s like cold war politics, in which the Wall inhibited travel between East and West. In oil pipes and on freeways, flow is constricted by a thickening of the mass that is attempting to move through a narrow space. The problem takes on Malthusian dimensions when it is bodies that are causing the constriction. Bodies fill the narrow streets of Little Italy during The Feast of San Gennaro, making it practically impossible to walk. So many cars are needed to accommodate all the bodies heading out to the beaches of Long Island on Fourth of July weekend that the Long Island Expressway, the Grand Central, Meadowbrook and Northern Parkways become like J.F.K., where the number of planes taking off for England, France, Germany and points East exceeds the capacity of the runways, creating long queues and delayed departures. Of course arrival in London or Paris via Heatherow, Charles De Gaulle or Le Bourget will be no improvement, as there simply is not enough road space for the landing flights. This is also true in Barcelona, Milan, Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna and her sister city on the Danube, Budapest, and it is sometimes no easier to travel between Buda and Pest than it is to navigate through the West Village on Halloween. Inevitably, the proliferation of matter creates a black hole that belies the Milesian notion of flux.

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