How often it is, that small gestures begin great trends in our lives, and spin out events in a vast web of coincidence that catches us up, and connects us with others in ways we never imagined possible.
That was supposed to be, and it still is I guess, the last line in the follow up story to Reflections on a Talking Robot. The second part was not so much about adding new pieces to an already large collection. It was about being given a computer, which I did not want, and getting hooked up to the internet, which I figured was just a waste of time.
But before I continue, I would ask you, the one of several or so visitors to the world famous blog to consider for a moment how you came to be reading this. Perhaps you are one of the Gagdad Bob's Friendly Order of the Transdimensional Raccoons, or BabbaZee's Feral Remnant. Perhaps you are visiting from Robot Japan, or Toybox DX. Maybe you just stumbled on this place by accident the way I did a couple of weeks ago. In any case, trace the steps backward. You are here because you followed a link from somewhere else on the internet. How did you find that somewhere else? Keep tracing it back. What was your first field of interest when you first went on line? How did it change, and what changed it? What led you to get a computer in the first place? Keep it going, and you will begin to see a few strands of the Web of Coincidence that enmeshes all of our lives. Some time late in 1977, my girlfriend gave me a talking robot. Now I probably would have ended up with a computer anyway. Anymore, the computer question is more like: How did you end up with a telephone?
So take it out of the realm of cyber space. How did you meet the person who- Oh hell, you get the idea.
My first group of friends on line came from Ed Sanford's Robot Japan BBS. Before that, I had never spoken to a single other human being who had even heard of collecting Japanese science fiction toys. I was to find out that there is a scattered cult of robot junkies all over the world. I went from 'never heard of anyone else', to trading notes with people from more than a dozen different countries on every continent on the globe.
Now, the question gets a little deeper when you remove the narrow, and very specific element in common of Japanese toy collecting. I have come to regard the group from One Cosmos as a family of sorts. Ben and I were trading notes on this the other day. Who is Ben? Or Robin Starfish? or NoMo, or Walt, Julie, Ricky Raccoon, River, or, Van? I would not recognize any of these people if we were seated next to each other on a bus. Yet they are close to me, and they matter to me, and I value their opinions of me. I feel a deep connection to them that has deepened since I got this blog. What connects us then? Nothing but our words. And the blogosphere strips those words of everything but their meaning. I can't draw any conclusions based on voice, or even on handwriting, or choice of stationery, or even choice of font. And the typewritten words are composed of letters which have, in themselves, no meaning at all. What connects us is as close to pure thought as I believe you can get. And what is thought? See? We're getting pretty damn metaphysical here without even trying hard.
Where am I going with this? Just this morning I finished my morning prayers and went on line as I always do. Something, I won't say what, impelled me to check out Listening Now first thing. I began reading the latest installation of Ricky Raccoon's The War. I was idiot enough to major in English in college. I got dragged kicking and screaming through more "Great Literature" than I care to remember. Nothing prepared me for The War. It is hands down, the finest thing I have ever read. Let that last sentence be a strand in your own web of coincidence.