The Illimitable Ocean of Inexplicability

Month: March, 2011

The Varieties of Circumstance


“What has once happened, will invariably happen again, when the same circumstances which combined to produce it, shall again combine in the same way”

– Abraham Lincoln


      When beginning my examination of Slightly Varying Circumstances I began with the main subject which is,of course, the circumstances. Being that the word ‘circumstances’ is the plural form of circumstance this suggests the possibility of an unlimited number of circumstances. That these ‘Circumstances’ vary would seem to be a given and make each easily distinguishable from the other. Unfortunately, the first word in the title creates difficulties not easily surmountable. The fact, as stated in the title, that these circumstances vary slightly can cause one to overlook any number of circumstances and lead to an erroneous conclusion about how the circumstances relate as a whole. Now, one could imagine, if there was only a single circumstance that the reasons, or, a reason, could be assigned to it,and, with a small amount of research and contemplation, the whole thing would be wrapped up quite nicely. However, like life itself, it is not as easy as all that.


“You can not always control circumstances, but you can control your own thoughts.”

– Charles Popplestown


         To begin the identification and differentiation of the circumstances I went back to the image and tried to imagine what it was I was thinking when creating the drawing. In all likelihood the original idea for the drawing came a considerable time before and was not at all envisioned as the resulting drawing. This lag between the idea and the putting it down on paper could have resulted in a distortion of what the original intention was. Not to mention that, as I said previously, each person comes with their own individual interpretations of words and pictures resulting in what is probably not the exact or correct interpretation of what I was attempting to convey. The time between each portion of the process of bringing the idea out is much like a game of ‘telephone’ or what the British call ‘Chinese whispers’. This game involves a person whispering to another person a short phrase which is then whispered to another and another and so on until the resulting phrase is nothing at all like the original. Of course this is quite entertaining and almost always ends in a good laugh for all involved, but, it is a game, and that is it’s intention. My intention was not at all for the meaning to become distorted, however, like the game, it may be a result that is inevitable. After all, I can’t say for sure what it was I meant when this whole idea got started.


“The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and , if they can’t find them, make them.”

– George Bernard Shaw


    So, where does all this leave me? Not where I first started a year ago, but closer anyway, much closer. The circumstance or circumstances surrounding the birth of this idea seem to be becoming clearer. Will I ever know for sure that the conclusions I come to are the right ones? I would have to say,no, I will never know for sure. Yet, with a concerted effort it is possible for me to get close enough,and then it simply becomes a matter for me to, as they say, fake it until I make it.

Under what Circumstances?


“You have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea”

-Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso


I knew nothing of Slightly Varying Circumstances before the idea came to me. Sure, I was familiar with each of the words that form the title of the project, but I had never combined or even considered them as a whole. These three words were not (when I think back on it) the beginning of the idea, but were instead a revelation of the connections that existed between several thoughts I had been having at the time. The exact date of this revelation is now lost to me,but, I can recall a light (probably my desk lamp ( a clamp light purchased at a local hardware store)) and papers upon which I was making some kind of marks, either drawings or letter combinations forming words, which eventually became what is now Slightly Varying Circumstances. At the time, it seems, I may have known the importance of this event, for I wrote down the words over and over again in one of my composition books which, because of the amount of times the words occur within its pages, was given the title Slightly Varying Circumstances. Now, it being most likely a year ago that all this happened, I am forced to recreate most of what transpired from vague memories of events which (it is possible) I may now be combining in ways that are not at all true to what actually took place. My intention is not to mislead anyone (myself included), but is instead to go back in time to the origin of the idea which is what it was then as opposed to what it is now.

It’s detective work really, and as most of you know (because of the popularity of detective fiction and non-fiction (be it on the television, in books or upon the silver screen) detective work is fraught with danger, dead ends, and, of course, the occasional attractive lady. Tracking down leads is a tricky business. All of the evidence can be right in front of you (like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle), but, how each fits together takes time and patience to figure out. Not everyone enjoys putting jigsaw puzzles together, and, of those who do, some are better at it than others. Most people who do put together jigsaw puzzles purchase them from toy stores or maybe even pharmacies, and these puzzles that they purchase have been created by and mass-produced by someone else someplace else. This means that the person who puts the jigsaw puzzle together had nothing to do with it being cut apart in the first place which (it would seem)(although a photograph of the completed puzzle is provided)) would make its re assembly more difficult. However, I can’t help but wonder if one was to create their own jigsaw puzzle would it be easier or more difficult to put back together after it was separated into thousands of pieces? At this point in my investigation my answer to that question would be that it is considerably more difficult. And the reason for this (maybe) is that since I was the one who chose the original picture and then made the marks upon it which I then carefully followed with the blade of my jigsaw (separating the whole into numerous parts of the whole) I would be under the impression that I (more than anyone else) was aware of how these pieces fit back together. Except, because of my belief that I knew this puzzle so well, I may be ,in fact, actually coming to false conclusions because of  the very feeling of thinking I knew what it was I did in the first place when beginning the creation of the puzzle.

Anyway, as you can see, this case is not an easy one, and perhaps it’s the kind of case that would be enjoyable to watch on the TV or at the movie house, or maybe even read about in a book just before you go to bed on a dark and stormy night with the threat of unseen dangers all around. Whatever your answer to that question is I am going to be on the case, staking out the possible location of events, following leads and asking questions, doggedly pursuing every possible angle until I crack this wide open. So, that’s it, until we meet again, next time, under Slightly Varying Circumstances.

An Examination of Slightly Varying Circumstances


1. To a small degree; inconsiderably.

1.  Change from one condition, form, or state to another.
1. A condition or fact attending an event and having some bearing on it; a determining or modifying factor.

Inconsistencies of opinion, arising from changes of circumstances, are often justifiable

 – Daniel Webster 




                       The drawing above (measuring a mere 3 x 5 inches) is now lost. The image of it here being simply an electronic ghost of a once physical object. However, its physical existence (or anything’s physical existence for that matter) is not at all necessary for an examination of it in order to establish what it may be about. Not without reason I will begin the examination in the lower left hand corner with what appears to be a structure probably identified by most as a house, albeit a very crudely drawn house, really more of a symbol representing (in western minds at least) the idea of a house. For the purposes of this exploration of the drawing (and for my convenience) I will call the structure a house, though, with only an indication of what we may assume is a door, but with no obvious windows, whether this is a house or not remains in question. The house sits alone on an empty flat ground that is suggested by the line running from one side of the picture plane to the other. This line representing the horizon (and like the house itself) more of a symbol recognized by most everyone as being as far as the eye can see in the distance than a depiction of an actual space. Now, the fact that this house sits alone on “the ground” asserts the importance it holds within the picture as a whole. Furthermore, above, in what we imagine is the sky “floats” an arrow pointing directly at the house which demands the viewer see that what is of the utmost importance to “the picture” is the structure which I have been referring to as the house. This arrow floating above also reinforces the idea that the representations within the picture are not meant to represent an actual place or time, for, unless I am mistaken ( which I have been known to be, but in this case do not think I am) a giant arrow has never been reported to have been seen floating above anyone or anything anywhere in this world that we all share. Finally, above the arrow in “the sky” (or above what we would recognize as being the ground upon which the house sits and subsequently (due to experience) identify as where the sky would be are a series of letters arranged in a way that spells out (in English) the words “Slightly Varying Circumstances”. I have included here definitions of each of these words, though, every viewer is sure to come to the picture and these words with their own ideas of what they mean. That these words are at the top of the picture would lead most to believe that this is the title of the picture, and, as the title these words in some way provide a clue to the deeper meaning of this 2 dimensional representation of a place most would agree does not exist within what we know as reality. It is possible that the words (like the house, the horizon line and the arrow) are deliberately ambiguous either in order to hide the meaning of the picture or to hide that there is no meaning to the picture. Being that I am the one who drew the picture and chose to include the words it would seem probable that I was in the possession of the answer to any and all of these questions and could easily explain it to anyone at all interested. This is, I think, most unlikely, but, then again I said the actual drawing is no longer in existence having been used to ignite a fire on some cold morning of this past winter which would suggest to most an unimportance of the drawing and it’s message to its creator who decided it was more important to be warm than to hold on to a small (merely 3 x 5 inches) drawing no matter what it was ultimately about.