John Crowley tries to make sense of it all

John Crowley has a LiveJournal post in which he tries to make sense of the week’s news (Palin, the Large Hadron Collider, the stock market, etc.): The Triumph of Evanescence. It is of course all written in characteristic Crowleyesque prose:

The events on Wall Street add also to my sense that things appearing as large, even huge, and substantial, and long-lasting, and solid, are in fact not so. Billions and trillions of dollar values evanesce in moments, just like the universe eaten by a perfect vacuum. Firms housed in marble halls, on whose worth real lives are founded, vanish like fairy castles. I don’t think that they were fake, or Potemkin villages, cheap impositions on credibility that ought to be replaced by more actual (!) structures that could be better relied on: I am feeling as though substantiality itself is not all it’s thought to be. Great huge long-lasting things are not different from small ephemeral things. “All that is solid melts into air.”

What I am puzzled about is my emotional or spiritual reaction to these things. I feel a weird exhilaration. I don’t mean I feel weird; I feel exhilarated and in some way comforted or uplifted or both; it’s weird to feel that way.

An anonymous person in the comment section replies, “Oh my—a little bit more and I join your cult. Really.”

Meanwhile, Scientific American has just reprinted Benoit Mandelbrot’s 1999 essay How Fractals Can Explain What’s Wrong with Wall Street.


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