Monday, April 7, 2014

A Day in the Life of the Mosquito and the Idea

There are times when ideas remind you of mosquitoes.  Each has an agenda involving you.  Both buzz around, sensing some vulnerability, looking for the equivalent of a point of entry.

You know right off what the mosquito wants, based on a long experience with the species and your general observation that mosquitoes have preferences; they do not regard all potential targets with the same priority.  On a scale of one to ten, with one being the least desirable, you are likely a three or four.  

There have been times in your experience where, even though you knew a mosquito was on the job, patrolling, you were not selected.  Perhaps you give off a scent that is, in relative terms, off-putting, unappealing.

There is no intention to say there have been times where not an absolute smorgasbord, perhaps for two or three mosquitoes.  But in general, so far as you're concerned, the worst thing about the mosquito is her sound, and no, you are not being bigoted.  Female mosquitoes are the predators.  And the buzzers.  In the midst of all this certainty, you have no idea how or what the male mosquito eats.  Now that you've verbalized that awareness, perhaps you will be motivated to find out.  This information will not make you a better person, nor will it give you any great satisfaction.uito an

The poet, Alexander Pope, himself a pretty savvy guy, put the matter in a way that pleases you:

A little learning is a dang'rous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:

There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,

By which he means exactly what he says, a little learning can have intoxicating effects, allowing you to think, because you know a bit about something, that you have power.  As Pope concludes the quatrain, And drinking largely sobers us again.  By this, he means the right amount of knowledge makes us more aware, uncomfortably aware, of the implications of learning.

Bottom line with the mosquitoes you sometimes find where you happen to be thinking to sleep without having your blood drawn, is that for reasons known better to them than you, mosquitoes will go to you more in desperation than appetite.  Should one of them score, you will experience a bump on your skin and a subsequent itch.

Another part of the bottom line is that if a mosquito does come upon you in a darkened room, dive bombing you and otherwise taking stock of you as a target of opportunity, the moment you turn the lights on, said mosquito will--no mixed metaphor intended--play possum by finding a place to light until you tire of chasing it, whereupon it will get back to business.

You are also aware that you are somewhat less likely to interdict an errant mosquito than you are a fly, and so far, you've had miserable luck with flies.

Ideas are yet another matter.  When you're aware of one of them, buzzing about you, Alexander Pope's observation also haunts you.  Drink deep of the idea or shoo it off, smug in the notion that ideas, like mosquitoes, have on occasion stolen into where ever you happen to be at a given moment, wishing to have their way with you, as it were, requesting an audition.  

A number of such ideas have found their way into books, stories, essays, or reviews you have written, all to the end of causing it to seem you know your way around ideas; you in effect have some sense of how to deal with them.

There is no intent here to suggest you always know what to do with ideas or that you give them such cordial reception that they are going to be drawn to you; all you'll have to do is snap a finger or two and a few of them will come buzzing to see why you called.

Some ideas draw blood in the sense of you spending some time in a heated dialectic with these concepts, to the point where you might tend to ignore the more practical aspects of the day.  Score yet another recognition for Alexander Pope, who was in so many ways a remarkable thinker.  He seemed to have the matter of coping with ideas well in hand.

For your part, when seen from the merest of distances, an observer might well think you were coping with a mosquito when you were in fact coping with an idea.  

There is some sense of rough cosmic justice in the knowledge that ideas, as well as mosquitoes, can draw blood.

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