Consider the Circumstances

.These are the circumstances as they stand thus far, appearing in their original order and condition.

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An Examination of Slightly Varying Circumstances

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slight·ly: To a small degree; inconsiderably.

varying: Change from one condition, form, or state to another.

cir·cum·stance: A condition or fact attending an event and having some bearing on it; a determining or modifying factor.

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slightly

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

– Daniel Webster

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    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.

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Under what Circumstances?

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“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

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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.

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The Varieties of Circumstance

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“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

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    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.

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

– Charles Popplestown

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         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.

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“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

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    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.

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.Circumstances in evidence

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Round the world and home again
That’s the sailor’s way
Faster faster, faster faster

There’s no earthly way of knowing
Which direction we are going
There’s no knowing where we’re rowing
Or which way the river’s flowing

Is it raining, is it snowing
Is a hurricane a-blowing

Not a speck of light is showing
So the danger must be growing
Are the fires of Hell a-glowing
Is the grisly reaper mowing

Yes, the danger must be growing
For the rowers keep on rowing
And they’re certainly not showing
Any signs that they are slowing

 

 

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Until now my investigation of Slightly Varying Circumstances has relied solely on one drawing (used this past winter to start a fire) and whatever vague recollections I could stir up in my memory of the events that surrounded the beginning of the idea. Then, just recently, as I was searching through boxes for one thing I found another. Inside one of the boxes stored in an unfinished bathroom on the main level of my home was a sketchbook with the words ‘Slightly Varying Circumstances’ printed neatly across the cover. At first I was surprised and excited and then slightly horrified. I had completely forgotten that this sketchbook existed and its contents at that moment were wholly unknown to me. The prospect of the sketchbook containing information that I had not imagined in my investigations made me hesitant to turn the pages. The thought that what lay inside could destroy all of my theories, all of my beliefs about the nature of Slightly Varying Circumstances made part of me want to place it back inside the box and pretend that I had never seen it. Yet, even with this fear, I knew that I must look, and so, with sketchbook in hand I went to find a comfortable spot for where to see what I did not know.

 

Soon, what I did not know transformed into what I did not understand. This sketchbook, filled with drawings and writings which I had no memory of producing, filled me with a fear that the answers I was looking for would be forever beyond my reach. Page after page I turned, and while many of the drawings were merely variations on what we know as the finished piece, their slight differences offered no apparent answers and created in my mind questions I had never considered. The time it would take to examine each page thoroughly would be immense, and then, even then, having forgotten the act of filling these pages, it would seem that any answers I came up with would be, just as before I found this sketchbook, simply guesses. However, having looked upon this book full of riddles I was determined to make some sense of it.

 

Below is a page from the Slightly Varying Circumstances sketchbook which I have chosen as an example in order to illustrate the methods I will use in examining each of the pages in the hope that by doing so a better understanding of the origin of the idea will become clear.

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I will begin with what is familiar, and that is the formally framed drawing on the lower half of the page I have titled example one. As you can see it shares many similarities with the finished piece I have examined previously. There are the words ‘Slightly Varying Circumstances’ centered and at the top of the drawing, the ‘house’ in the lower left hand corner, and the ‘horizon’ line starting at one side of the picture frame, passing behind the ‘house’ and ending at the opposite side. The one thing that is not like the other is the object that occupies the space which in the finished piece is an ‘arrow’. This object, not immediately recognizable as anything, also differs from not just the arrow, but also from the ‘house’ in that it casts a shadow. As I had determined before that this drawing and specifically the objects that make up the drawing were only symbols the shadow creates the illusion that this object has substance and is more than merely a symbol for something else. So, if the object is, as is suggested by its ability to cast a shadow, to have substance then its substance would suggest that the object, though part of the drawing, is somehow not governed by the same rules that apply to the rest of the drawing. The meaning of this object’s difference can only be determined by first concluding what the object represents. The two choices that come to my mind for what it is are either a cloud or an unidentified flying object. The object’s shape may be too symmetrical for an actual cloud, but there is the possibility that while this object casts a shadow, as clouds do, it could be both a symbol and an actual representation. A combination of the two possibilities while expanding its meaning also makes the determination of the meaning illusive. However, if, in fact, it is a cloud this brings to mind certain ideas about the appearance of clouds in the sky such as the disappearance of light and the threat of a rain storm that could cause someone to have to seek some form of shelter in order to not get all wet. Therefore, the cloud, if that is what it is, can be seen as a threat and in turn make the ‘house’ a structure for which to escape to. If the object is an unidentified flying object which at this point, within the confines of the drawing it is then I believe it still represents a threat, but a threat unlike the cloud in that the structure of the ‘house’ appears a paltry defense against the threat this object exemplifies. Of course there is no way to know for sure which of these choices is the correct one, but, as I think I have shown, both of the choices that I have presented share in common the idea that this object that casts a shadow, this object with substance, is a threat.

Moving upward on the page we come to the phrase “As it was intangible necessity obliged I imagine some form”. Due to its proximity to the drawing this phrase could be a commentary on the drawing which suggests that the symbols were used because what was trying to be conveyed has or had no physical existence, and that whatever the ‘Slightly Varying Circumstances’ were or are, they exist completely in the mind. This conclusion is backed up by the use of the word ‘intangible’ which according to the Oxford dictionary is something that is “unable to be touched or grasped; not having physical presence”. This would explain why I had to “imagine some form” , however another definition for intangible, again from the Oxford dictionary, is “difficult or impossible to define or understand; vague and abstract” which may explain why the meaning of ‘Slightly Varying Circumstances’ has proven to be so difficult to grasp, and that if the original idea was intangible any attempt to relate it in a physical form through a drawing would be very difficult, and that doing so would in no way make any understanding of the original idea easy to come to by either for the viewer or the creator who could not remember creating it in the first place. Having said that it seems apparent from the rest of the phrase that at the time of writing I felt compelled to imagine a form for what was intangible. The word ‘necessity’ defined by the Oxford dictionary as “a state of things or circumstances enforcing a certain course” suggests that events set into motion by this thing with no physical presence then set in motion events that , as the word ‘obliged’ is defined, bound me to an action or course of action. This action being the creation of the finished Slightly Varying Circumstances drawing as well as this page from the sketchbook I am now writing about. In fact, this very action of attempting to make clear what is unable to be touched or grasped is also part of that action I am bound to. The cause for my being bound to this course of action could have been, according to the Oxford dictionary definition of the word ‘obliged’, either because of lawful or moral reasons. I don’t think it was either, for I have had little to no trouble with the law or with obeying the law during the course of my life, and it is highly unlikely that there were any moral reasons that would necessitate a drawing being made and if there were what good it would do to do so is beyond me. So, it seems there are more questions to be asked.

Again, we move upward on the page coming to the words “time line” sitting just below what is a line, or, two lines running parallel to one another to be exact. This, it seems apparent, is a time line the likes of which you might find in a history book describing the rise and fall of the Roman Empire or the duration of a world war. Taken on its own the time line offers no clue as to why it would be there. However, with a slight shift of the eyes upward its purpose may become apparent.

Looking up from the time line our eyes fall upon the phrase “Nothing has occurred to me”. If this phrase refers to the time line below it may explain why there are no times, dates or events listed on it. That in attempting to create a time line I was unable to think of anything of importance to make note of and therefore left it blank. What events I may have been trying to think of though remains a mystery. Whether they were events having to do with the Slightly Varying Circumstances that lead to the idea, and subsequently to the finished drawing, I have no way of knowing for sure, and like so much of the contents of this page and the other pages within the sketchbook, this phrase only raises more questions than it answers.

“The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a wide-spread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible”

-Bertrand Russell

As I write this, wondering if there is any end in sight, a horrifying thought about the time line passes through my mind. What if the time line was meant for charting the course of a previous and now forgotten investigation into the nature of Slightly Varying Circumstances and the words “Nothing has occurred to me” is a result of all my efforts being in vain? This question rings in my head now as the time line on the page grows infinitely long and the words above it take on a menacing aspect making me wish with all my heart that I had never opened that cursed box.

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An Excerpt From The Next

Slightly Varying Circumstances

Knowing that there may be no end has not dissuaded me from my journey into the depths of meaning that lie between the covers of the Slightly Varying Circumstances Sketchbook. After all it is not the end I am after, it is the beginning, the origin of the idea that started it all, and the absolute truth about each and every possible slightly varying circumstance no matter what obstacles may be ahead or hardships I might face. To look through the Slightly Varying Circumstances sketchbook with the hope of understanding is to travel through a maze within which every corner is only slightly different from the next and to make it through you must recognize each of these differences and understand their relation to the whole as well as grasping their own individual meaning. To turn back is not an option, no string could stretch far enough, and not all the bread ever baked could produce enough crumbs to mark the path you would be on.

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The Extenuating Circumstances

 

“Knowing that there may be no end has not dissuaded me from my journey into the depths of meaning that lie between the covers of the Slightly Varying Circumstances Sketchbook. After all it is not the end I am after, it is the beginning, the origin of the idea that started it all, and the absolute truth about each and every possible slightly varying circumstance no matter what obstacles may be ahead or hardships I might face. To look through the Slightly Varying Circumstances sketchbook with the hope of understanding is to travel through a maze within which every corner is only slightly different from the next and to make it through you must recognize each of these differences and understand their relation to the whole as well as grasping their own individual meaning. To turn back is not an option, no string could stretch far enough, and not all the bread ever baked could produce enough crumbs to mark the path you would be on.”

– The President and Founder

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Then, sir, said she, follow even this highway, and it will bring you unto the Chapel Perilous; and here I shall abide till God send you here again, and, but you speed, I know no Knight living that may achieve that adventure

– Le Moret d’Arthur Book 6

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I have become lost in the maze. I must admit, at this point, my thoughts about what I am doing have taken an unforeseen turn, things seem to be falling apart. My initial beliefs in the direction my investigations were headed have been overwhelmed, drowned by doubts; my convictions about what I thought I knew are lost. I wonder what this revelation could mean for all the slightly varying circumstances, and what lies ahead, if anything. As I think on this a dark image troubles me, its dominating presence pitilessly burning through all I had learned. That the discovery of an object I had made could bring such a nightmare, a nightmare slow in coming but coming none the less, is something I had never considered, but now as I do consider it, as it moves lazily through my mind I find myself wishing I could somehow abort this rough beast before it is born, but I’m afraid that it is too late.

This object was not so much discovered as it was remembered. Only days ago as I paced the floor of the room within the red shop building I recalled this object and where I’d left it months before. Behind some heavy oil soaked boards and a stack of abandoned paintings on plywood sat this object, a small wooden house I’d built nearly a year ago. As I reached out to retrieve the house ideas formed and connections were made. In an instant I believed that this was the turning point into a new and unexplored area of the maze which I believed would lead me quickly to the end, to the answers I was looking for. Immediately, with the house in hand, I hurried to one of my composition books in which I proceeded to write out all that had come to me.

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“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. Which road do I take? She asked. Where do you want to go? was his response. I don’t know, Alice answered. Then, said the cat, it doesn’t matter”

– Lewis Carroll

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It doesn’t matter. Turning down this new path without looking, running from the start, eyes set firmly on nothing in the distance but a belief that what I was after lay there waiting. The words I wrote came quickly, misspelled and run together, I’d fix it all later, I thought.

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The original Extenuating Circumstances

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Below is a digital image of the house which is constructed from wood and painted in a haphazard manner. Although I can recall the building of this replica of the representation that symbolizes an idea as of yet determined the exact plan I had in mind for its use is not known to me now. I do remember soon after its completion once or twice holding the house in a manner much like how I imagined a giant monster would hold a house he had just torn from its foundation. While holding the house, like a giant monster, I would laugh while shaking it as if trying to dislodge any occupants, one of which I imagined I was after for his inability to adequately answer some question I had asked regarding the mysteries surrounding certain slightly varying circumstances. On several occasions, when not imagining myself as an angry giant monster, I made photographs of the house all the while unaware of its connection to the Slightly Varying Circumstances drawing, but thinking at the time that there was a reason for this house that would eventually come to me, and it did! That is, I have now decided that my original intention (unknown to me until now) was to build a model of the Slightly Varying Circumstances drawing for the purpose of examining the interactionof the various symbols within the drawing in a 3 dimensional environment. The reason for this is that seeing something in 3 dimensions is very different than seeing it in two. Imagine you are looking at a postcard of a carousel located in the 19th Arrondissement at the bottom of a hill atop of which sits the Sacre Coeur. Now imagine instead of looking at the postcard you are actually on that carousel riding one of the brightly colored creatures while waving at an attractive person who is on holiday with you in the city of lights. Or, imagine you (somehow transported back in time [because I don’t know any current models name and must go back 30 years to make this example work]) are looking at Cheryl Tiegs in a copy of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition and then compare that to sitting comfortably in a swank penthouse apartment as Cheryl brings you a cold beverage of your choice. Are you getting the idea? The reason for building the replica is because three dimensions are what we all live in, it is what we know, if not well, at least best.

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“Only the unknown frightens men. But once a man has faced the unknown, that terror becomes the known.”

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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Now, since I have not built the Slightly Varying Circumstances diorama it is necessary that I get inside my own head and try to imagine what it is I would do with the diorama that would help me to better understand the original idea that lead to the idea of the diorama that has not been built because of my misplacing of the model ‘house’ at some time in the past year. Before moving on I would like to say a few words about my use of the word diorama to describe the 3 dimensional representation of the Slightly Varying Circumstances drawing. If one were to look up the word diorama in the Oxford dictionary they would find the following definition, “a model representing a scene with three-dimensional figures, either in miniature or as a large-scale museum exhibit”. As I have no intention of ever building a large scale model for use in a museum we can remove that part of the definition, and, since there will be no figures (if by figures one means human or animal forms) in my scene that part can also be removed from the definition. This leaves us with “a model representing a scene in miniature” as the definition of diorama. Unfortunately this definition does not exactly work either for the reason that my 3 dimensional representation would not be a scene in miniature because it would actually be larger than the drawing it was attempting to represent. So the definition for diorama, in the case of my model, is “a model representing a scene”. For the sake of brevity I will not go into the definition of the word ‘scene’ within my definition of the word ‘diorama’, but mention it here only to let you know that I thought about it and that if I was to choose a definition it would be “a place or setting regarded as having a particular character or making a particular impression” although there are many problems with this definition I have chosen to ignore them here and would appreciate it if you did the same.

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In order to begin the diagrams of the diorama that has not been built I had to first establish the exact measurements of the ‘house’ that already is. Below is a diagram illustrating the measurements of the 3 dimensional ‘house’. (All measurements were taken using the United States customary system.)

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After determining the measurements of the house I then proceeded to think about the dimensions of the box within which the scene will be represented. Of course it had to be large enough to accommodate the already existing ‘house’, but I also thought that the meaning of the numbers should be taken into consideration. For instance the height of the box could be 15 inches and work very well, however, according to Joshua David Stone PhD, “there are “laws of manifestation” with the number 15 concluding the fourth level of spiritual manifestation. Because 15 may be divided by 3 (which signifies harmony) and 5 (which represents life), this shows that 15 represents matter in its most harminous (sic)form.” while the number 16 according to R. Allendy, represents “the role of the Karma 6 in the cosmic unit 10. This role consists in creating a current of evolution (1 + 6 = 7) but towards two opposite directions, so that, by itself, 16 even number (sic), is unable to choose.” So, on second thought, after reading all of that I decided that taking all this into conscious consideration would be more than I felt like dealing with and that picking the numbers by what worked would be for the best while also possibly bringing more significance to the numbers chosen if they were decided upon merely by chance or convenience.

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“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right”

– Thomas Paine

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The quote above is where the original Extenuating Circumstances came to an end; it is written on the side of the path inside the maze I wander. It is where all began to seem lost. Tolkien said “All who wander are not lost” which may be true for some, but not for me, not now. Whether the above excerpts from the original Extenuating Circumstances manuscript makes any sense at all or is leading anywhere but in circles I do not know. The words did seem to make sense when I wrote them, there did seem to be a point I had in mind, but none of it matters now. Perhaps I moved to quickly, became dizzy, a little sick, and only require a quick lie down to feel better, for everything to be right again. Maybe. I don’t know.

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A curious set of circumstances

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The undiscovered country from whose bourn

No traveller returns, puzzles the will,

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than fly to others that we know not of?

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,

And enterprises of great pith and moment,

With this regard their currents turn awry,

And loose the name of action

– William Shakespeare (1564-1616)  The Tragedyof Hamlet Prince of Denmark

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I believe it was that old Spaniard Picasso who said “I do not seek, I find”. I have no idea what he was referring to with that statement, perhaps his art, but it doesn’t matter because I’m going to use the quote for my own purposes. However, in the context of my investigations into the slightly varying circumstances the statement would be better as “Sometimes without looking I stumble across things”. The Picasso quote is much more dramatic, he seems determined and assured where my quote gives one the feeling that I have no idea what I am doing and that if I am in any way successful at whatever it is I am doing it is purely by accident. This may be the case. What does it matter? It doesn’t, for I have stumbled, once again, across evidence pertaining to the circumstances that vary slightly and as that is, for the most part, my life’s work at this moment and ultimately how it was discovered is unimportant. Although, I do understand that there are those who wish to see behind the curtain, to know the process as if they could somehow duplicate it and achieve similar results, results that I have achieved only through the accidental allowance of the accidental, through the following of a philosophy best described as ‘If I stand in one place long enough something is bound to hit me’. So, yes, please, attempt to duplicate, to recreate that which was not created, that which was born of itself, that which stands, to paraphrase Darwin’s Bulldog, on an isthmus in an illimitable ocean of inexplicability.

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Discovering what I forgot

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“Man’s progress is but a gradual discovery that his questions have no meaning”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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Like ancient secrets, the circumstances that vary slightly were, for whatever reasons forgotten by me. This, I have thought, could be because that which completely obsesses me now was at one time only a passing fancy, a whim that had no meaning other than a passing of the time, an amusement short lived that, while ‘fun’, is a poor reason for going to the lengths I have now been going to. It could be as if I was desperately trying to come up with meaning behind my reasons for having toast instead of cereal one morning, and while I have no doubt this could be done, it does seem to be what some would call ‘a colossal waste of time’. Some are usually wrong though, you know this, well, some do, maybe not you personally, but you are at least aware of the phenomenon of some knowing something even if you do not. And, as far as reasons, for toast instead of cereal, or anything else for that matter, once it is done it is done, though I myself have been known to ‘cry over spilt milk’ as they say. So, if you would like, please shed a few tears right now for the milk on the floor which I am attempting to soak up with a dish towel and then rinse and ring out over the sink. Should I, should we give any more thought to that now diluted milk streaming away through so many pipes on its journey to the treatment plant or into some river somewhere? I cannot answer that for you, but I can tell you my answer, it is “Yes, yes we should”.

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“As a working hypothesis to explain the riddle of our existence, I propose that our universe is the most interesting of all universes, and our fate as human beings is to make it so.”

– Freeman Dyson

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There is the material world, and some believe, the spiritual world, then there is, as I am sure you are aware in some way if you are reading this, the digital world. These recently discovered drawings exist only in the digital world, there physical existence ended at some time in the past, yet their digital selves can still, if we are receptive to them, reach out into this world and perhaps provide us with answers or at least more riddles for us to ponder in our spare time. So, let us now move down the page on our electronic Ouija boards and have a look at these residents of the digital ether and remember in our nervous anticipation that the answers they provide depend upon the questions we ask.

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At one time there were at least 4 Slightly Varying Circumstances drawings each varying slightly from one another

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4While varying more than slightly from the original Slightly Varying Circumstances drawing this drawing does contain the ‘house’ and the ‘arrow’

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3Again the ‘house’ makes an appearance. This time seemingly isolated from something by what could be a moat, definitely a deep ditch which surrounds it on all sides leading me to believe it was constructed to keep someone or some thing away. Or, maybe, to keep the inhabitant of the ‘house’ from escaping!

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13 Here is the ‘house’ and arrow repeated as well as the second occurrence of the ‘X’. The meaning of the ‘X’ while seeming to be a ‘place marker’ as in pirate treasure or shopping mall maps is still to be determined exactly.

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8 Once more the arrow and the ‘house’ that appear in the original Slightly Varying Circumstances drawing. In this drawing the placement of these symbol/objects most closely resembles the original. The quote is believed to refer to the inhabitant of the ‘house’ although this is merely a guess and should not be believed so wholeheartedly that you lose touch with reason.

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That is it so far. This is where we stand. Where to now, I wonder? I have no idea and could not hope to answer that question here in a fashion that would please me or appease you, so, I will leave you until next time with the words of that other British bulldog, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill.

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“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

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A stupid but convenient phrase

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Three months have passed since last I wrote of the circumstances which vary slightly, and, in that time I did my best to give them no thought. Overall my efforts to forget were quite effective and for many days my mind was not bothered with the investigations which had once so obsessed me. To you this may seem no great feat as I am sure any thought you had given to the subject left you immediately after reading my last entry, if that is, you ever read it. For this I envy you, to so easily pass the days without the weight of the unanswered questions that I alone did ask, and, as I realize now, am the only one who can answer, is a bliss that I only knew fleetingly, and now, I fear, will never know again. My time of happy contentment ended abruptly when one evening while preparing to retire to my bed I picked up a recently discovered volume which due to its age, and the fact that it had been stored away for some time possessed an odor which was both reassuringly familiar and noxious to the senses. Opening the book randomly I came upon a story titled “The Oblong Box”, and, soon after beginning to read I was struck by the paragraph below.

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“The morrow having arrived, I was going from my hotel to the wharf, when Captain Hardy met me and said that, “owing to circumstances” (a stupid but convenient phrase), “he rather thought the ‘Independence’ would not sail for a day or two, and that when all was ready, he would send up and let me know.” This I thought strange, for there was a stiff southerly breeze; but as “the circumstances” were not forthcoming, although I pumped for them with much perseverance, I had nothing to do but to return home and digest my impatience at leisure.”

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This paragraph, specifically Captain Hardy’s “stupid but convenient phrase”, “owing to circumstances” brought back to me in an instant all of which I had forgotten of the investigations, and, like a spotlight blinded my eyes with the horrible image of that Slightly Varying Circumstances drawing which I had hoped to never see again. Then and there the madness once again overtook me and any sleep I had wished for to have that night never came, but instead I spent the dark and quiet hours wandering through the rooms of my private residence and at times frequently stood upon the large covered porch staring at the moon which was fuller and brighter than it had any right to be. Over and over I repeated those words, “owing to circumstances”, a stupid but convenient phrase maybe, but one that worked a dark magic upon me causing my imagination and memory to combine and send me spinning once more into the maze that though I hurriedly wandered its terrible halls as if around each corner would be an exit I knew as I had always known there was and never would be an end. And so, though the circumstances are not as of yet forthcoming, and although I pump for them with perseverance I too have nothing to do but to return and digest my impatience at leisure.

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