Murmur is a novel by Will Eaves that is patterned on the life of Alan Turing. It’s a plunge into the mindset of a character receiving treatments for chemical castration and in passing is a meditation on how one makes meaning and the reach of intelligent machines. This struck me:
It isn’t knowing what another person thinks or feels that makes us who we are. It’s the respect for not knowing.
This hard won realization is prefaced by the speaker in distress: “He breathes into a point of infinite and traceless pain. He stares hard at a carpet tile that’s come unstuck and wanted to say: It isn’t knowing […]”.
The respect of not knowing opens a sort of plenitude:
We are consoled by someone’s efforts to conceive us, and that effort’s keen shortfall. We are unreachable. A shared mind has no self-knowledge. A field awareness cannot be unique or self-conceal: it has no privacy of mind.
A nice slide from efforts to the shortfall of one. Something is happening in this passage from plurality to unicity. Something unknowable, unreachable, private.
The notion of respect is complicated.
And so for day 2190