Saturday, February 7, 2009

Nothing New Under the Sun

This blog is open, meaning anybody can find and access it using the right search words if they don't actually have the address. Although only the three of you have the address (and are automatically e-mailed when I post), I eventually got used to the idea of baring my soul a bit and fantasized about some random person seeing it and adding a comment. Actually, looking forward to it, even if it was unflattering or outright profanity. The idea of someone finding this blog out of the millions out there struck me as pretty cool.
The other day I thought I'd see how accessible it really is: I googled the phrase "The Truth Eludes Us" and found millions of hits. After looking through the first ten pages or so, and shooting ahead a few hundred at random, I could not find my blog. More telling, none of the hits I looked at were even part of a blog, let alone the title of one. So I googled the title and the word "blog;" again, I could not find my blog. OK, time to quit fooling around; I googled my blog title and the exact title of one of my posts, which I thought I made-up and was very distinct and original, "The Pavements of Summer," and told google to get the exact phrases. Now it gets interesting--my blog was on page 2, which means an entire page of entries contained these words/phrases and aced-out my blog. Most interesting was an article entitled "The Truth Eludes Us: The Pavements of Summer." It was about nuclear weapons, of all things. I was stunned on several levels:
First, that someone else strung those exact phrases together. Second, I thought I had come up with an original phrase "pavements of summer," I even played with different combinations of words before i decided these best described sidewalks. Last, how in the world do these phrases connect to nukes?
When I used these phrases, was I experiencing some sort of subconscious recall of random terms I came across in the distant past? Or is it possible that in the info age, there is truly nothing new under the sun, as postulated in no less a tome than the biblical book of Ecclesiastes?
There's more evidence of the latter...
--I have a daily e-mail reminder to use the commercial search engine from in order to enter in their various sweepstakes. It is puerile, I admit, but it's over quickly and maybe the prize patrol will come to my door and...but I digress. To get it over with, I often type nonsense words or random keyings into the keyboard and always get dozens or more results. The point is, I completely make up words, and they are in the web--try it!
--I use the name "Ambivius" for my blog name; when I created it, it was supposed to be a cutesy fusion of "ambivalent" and "oblivious." Guess what? Ambivius was an actual ancient Roman actor, and he gets 10,000 hits on google. Even if you spell it ambivious, which would have been a more correct fusion of the two words, you still get 139 hits.
--I've googled my name, who hasn't; and though I didn't find me, I really wasn't surprised there are many, many people with my first and last name, though many fewer with my middle initial --and I think I'm alone if I use my full middle name; but when googling my father Roy Austin Stephens, there are at least 6 out there and none of them are him. I mean come on-- ROY+AUSTIN+STEPHENS?
--Suffice to say, all of you, my children, have dopplegangers in the web--and I have found you all at least once among the many--a pleasant surprise!
Have you ever turned on the radio and the exact tune you were thinking about is playing? Or think about someone right before they call you on the phone, or better, pick up the phone before it rings and the person you were going to call is on the other end?
There is a whole school of philosophy whose premise is there are no coincidences, but if so, then what the heck does it all mean when something weird goes down?
I realize all of the above is explainable through finite sets of variables (i.e., name combinations) and vagaries of the mind--in fact, recently scientists have offered a complete, thorough and authoritative explanation for the experience of deja vu. And yet, I can't really accept that somewhere out there, in theory, millions of monkeys are at typewriters randomly key-punching in the exact replica of "War and Peace."


mvorpal said...

To Anonymous, who was kind enough to comment on this post with a nice story about how she found this Blog by searching for "Put on Your Big Boy Pants...," and how she made a DIY success with hubby and the hot water heater. Apparently when I change/correct a blog, it drops off the comments that went with the unedited post. I just wanted to say thanks for your comment, which I cherish; and I'll be more careful in the future.

mvorpal said...

Update: I found out things are not so creepy as I thought; the search term "The Truth Eludes Us: The Pavements of Summer" actually returned my own blog(!), which had been captured, synopsized and copied into a compilation blog by a special interest group using something called a "content management system." Suffice to say, the trigger words in my blog that caused me to become part of some "Big Brother" operation will never be used by me again! Sheesh!