14 April 2010



Grammatically speaking, the word “block” can be taken in two acceptations, as a noun or a verb.

If a noun, then a block can be defined as something that is solid and immobile. Now what qualities do we note when making an appraisal of a block of cement? Admittedly, not exactly a stimulating exercise, as cement blocks are not very interesting existents. Nonetheless, we might still glean some insight.

Now the first property we observe is that the block of cement just sits there. It does nothing. It presents itself as such. It is what it is. That is all. It is bland and boorish. It takes no notice of that which is outside itself. Offer your hand to it in friendship and it remains motionless. If you speak to it, no rejoinder comes. Silence. Thus its alien, inorganic presence becomes even more obtrusive. It has accomplished its first task - obviousness. Any attempt at communication with this thing is fruitless. Any word or deed which makes an effort to go through the block is, in the final analysis, an impossibility. The block is impassable.

Alienation is not imposed upon the block. It alienates itself by its very substantive attributes. Both its existence, or its physical aspects (e.g. rigidity, hardness), and its essence, or its nature (i.e. how it is represented to the person who senses it) are the same.

The block cannot really know about anything outside itself since it is enclosed within itself. Anyone who does not assent to it is shut out. If you pour some water on the block to cool down on a hot summer day the water only flows over the sides into the ground. If some water does pool atop the block, it rapidly evaporates. The water does not interpenetrate the block. It functions only as a transient sheet, a juxtaposing veneer, temporarily soothing the severity of a desiccating heat which the block experiences. Water and the block concatenate but do not intermix. The water does not go through so as to transform.

If a reversion is made to violence by taking a sledge hammer and pounding the block into minute fragments, one could still not understand how the block is within. Such an action would only modify the relative magnitude of the block’s internal contents. Each of the shattered remnants would maintain the same identity as the original block. It is what it is.

The second grammatical acceptation of a block is conveyed with a verb. Here the block functions, it acts, meaning that which impedes progression or that which interferes with an attainment. It forms a blockade, prohibiting interchange, designating unbreachable boundaries. It interrupts the affairs of the day, so to speak. Resultantly the block as a verb in this context isolates itself from that which is outside itself. It bars off from view that which does not accord with its aims.

Is there a block of cement in your life?




Mary said...

"Is there a block of cement in your life?"

You betcha, sir. You betcha.

Your rant is NOT bizarre at all.

Old Bob said...

Rant? Yes. Bizarre? NO! The first thing - and I'm glad you repeated it - is that it is what it is. (I've met a lot of people who think it can be whatever they want it to be, like they think of unborn babies.) The common sense of ordinary humanity, especially masons and bricklayers, says that it is what it is, and if you want to be its master you have to be its servant, in a manner of speaking. This is engineering, which is actually a very humble science.

Al said...

But don't forget that according to Rolheiser that "block" "it is destined to share eternity with us. It too will go to heaven." since it is on a par with us. So, you better have a good reason for smashing it to atoms. Sorry, couldn't resist the sarcasm. Although your desription of the blog being impenetrable does fit a lot of those who buy into his BS.

TH2 said...

Mary: I guess I'm not the only one. Thank you, dear lady, for the consolation. "You betcha" - I really like that kind of phraseology.

Bob: Your comment is the reason why I regularly check your blog. Simply excellent.

Al: LOL! You're the best.

Anita Moore said...

There are lots of cement blocks roaming around, on countless pairs of shoulders.

TH2 said...

Here I am concentrating, working at night, and then my e-mail shows a message from Anita that makes me laugh out loud. Thank you. I needed a break. Maybe I will now stop.

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