Transferring Qualia

Qualia is a word used to refer to those experiences that can’t be described. Things like the taste of sweet, or the feeling of pain. There’s a cliche about describing blue to a blind man, and although that blind man might be able to understand blue as being similar to a high-pitched sound spread out across a surface, that’s not the same as actually seeing it, is it?

Out of these primitive experiences, much more complex ones can be built. From the sounds of the human voice, comes the ability to understand words. From the taste of sweet and the ability to understand words, comes the sensation of sitting down with your family for dinner. And from the multitude of meals and trips and just time spent together, comes the emotion of love.

I have long fantasized about people being able to experience these complex qualia directly. I have wished for a kind of mystical process by which people can feel what it’s like to be another person. To see the world with the eyes of another, and to understand that what they see isn’t always what is actually happening.

I once met a man that could not visualize his imagination. At least, it would explain why he couldn’t do math in his head if he couldn’t. It’s actually not that unusual. I myself seem to only half-visualize things, with vast chunks of the picture missing and I only realize this when I go to draw it. And these people with no visual imagination? They frequently grow up assuming that people talking about seeing things in their heads are speaking in metaphors.

The scope of human experience is huge. One human can be an existence incomprehensible to another human. I wish that there was a way to make the chasm disappear. But the best that I can do now is to write fiction, and to try to describe with words what cannot be described with words.

Poetry: United in Hate

We never wanted this
Didn’t want to stand
Side-by-side,
Fighting the same foe

He hates me, I’m ashamed of her
The only thing that keeps us together
Is to get what we need

But it’s our divisions that make us strong
To remain attached, aiming for our goals
Antipathy keeps us on task

Now we’re facing you down
Solidarity missing
Fighting each other and you
Strengthened by conflict
And united in a brand-new hate.

Using the Home Town Pop

The live audience of a professional wrestling show is, simultaneously, 1) the people watching the show, 2) playing the part of people watching a real fight, and 3) playing the part of people watching a staged fight that is thought to be real. A smear is drawn across the entire spectrum between reality and fiction out of necessity, in a strange phenomenon called kayfabe.

To interact within kayfabe, wrestlers and their audience have developed a complex language, consisting of sign and countersigns, with both sides dynamically reacting to the other. This is a subject that far to complicated for me to describe here, and even then, I don’t really understand it much, but something I have noticed is that the crowds cheer louder for local wrestlers.

I suppose that some of this is that the kinds of people that are willing to go out on a weekday night for wrestling includes the kinds of people that go to independent wrestling shows, so there’s some level of “I was a fan of this guy before he made it big,” but that isn’t all of it. It’s part of the language, just like turning to the crowd after a really good dropkick.

Furthermore, a wrestler can be billed from two different places, the place they were born and the place they currently live. The ring announcers will mention both, if the wrestler is performing in the one they aren’t usually billed from. The audience doesn’t really make a distinction between either.

One thing about this is that the cheering also applies to the heels. In AEW, the promotion I watch, this is most noticeable with MJF in Long Island, when he’s otherwise such a dedicated heel. But then again, when he’s in Long Island, he kind of acts like a face, like Long Island is the one place in the world he actually likes and doesn’t act like a complete asshole towards, when that’s otherwise his entire gimmick. But that gets back into the language thing, doesn’t it?

The upshot of all of this for the promotion, is that sometimes a heel needs to win the last match of the night, the climax of the show. The good guys can’t win all of the time, after all, but on the other hand, if the bad guys win, the fan feel disappointed. This convention of heels being a little bit of a face in their hometown, means that there’s a particular place that’s a good place for them to win.

This started back in the NWA days. Nobody wanted to embarrass themselves in front of the people they could meet in the street, and this has evolved into a set of conventions around the from part of the wrestler’s billing. It’s just something fascinating that I noticed about the strange art form known as professional wrestling.

Towards a New Project

I need to start writing long fiction again.

Each chapter of Occulted that I wrote took all week to write. I’d come home and write about 300 to 500 hundred words in an hour, and that would be my entertainment for the night. And once I was doing this for a while, The House Apart was starting to get popular. And since I stopped, the bars haven’t been nearly as high.

But I can’t just throw something out there. I tried that with my microfiction serial, and it didn’t quite feel right. Of course, I came up with the Veridity universe with very little planning aforethought. That might have been the main problem with that thing.

I think I might need to look at something that’s been rolling around in my head for a while. Something that I already have an idea for the mood and the theme. Now’s a bit of an awkward time for me to start on a huge writing project, however. Wish me luck.