21 November 2006

Compressing images of the Tree of Life

every human branch
at every instant
possesses a unique
compressed image
of the whole Tree of Life

that has its origin
as the infant's image
of itself
and its local world

then its comparison
of self with others

its generalisation
of the 'usual' other

its cataloguing of
unusual others

experienced firsthand
or heard tell of
2nd- to Nth-hand

as the spatial boundaries
of the imagination
extend outward
to the ends of the earth
of the universe
to the ends of time

so that a query
about any particular
region of spacetime

generates a best guess
about that region's occupants

their similarities
to the local 'usual'

their degree and style
of un-usual difference

and much human conversation
spoken and also written
involves tweaking of these
'packed' general images

and instantiation of specific
branch biographies

named individuals
whose life histories

are 'usual' in most ways

but whose specific
un-usual differences
are itemised

conventionally in sequential order
but alternatively
in order of importance
or grouped by theme

less important differences
meriting less discussion

better documented differences
propagating more discussion

storytellers confabulating
you-are-there reconstructions

maybe prefacing the conventional
biographical sequence
with a vivid flashforward
that previews the un-usual significance
of the whole