When I visit a hardware store or a paint store or a big box all-in-one home store, almost invariably I gravitate toward the dozens or hundreds or even thousands of paint samples. I like colors. Even colors I don’t like attract me. I suspect I could make this odd idiosyncrasy productive in some way if I were to embrace it with more zeal, but my interest lacks the fervency such productivity would require. So, instead, I allow my interest in color to dispassionately occupy the position of shallow periodic pass-time.
Yesterday, while trudging aimlessly from website to website, reading about Jorge Luis Borges, then Karl Popper, and attempting to understand some of the arguments made by Popper’s critical rationalist adherents, I stumbled badly off-course and into comments about paint pigments, reminding me about my odd attraction to paint sample displays. As I read the comments (the whereabouts of which I almost immediately lost track), I began wondering, again, what sorts of things are used to create paint pigments. During the course of my very casual search, I managed to get to an article entitled “The Pigment Connoisseur,” in a magazine entitled Cabinet. It’s an interesting read, regardless of one’s interests in colors, I think. My interest in the sources of pigments grew yesterday, the more I read, into an interest in the hosts of pigments, that is, the “stuff” we know as paint and the like. The term for such stuff, as I understand it, is “pigment dispersions.”
Somewhere along the line I stopped by the website for Reitech Corporation, one page of which includes the following: “Our resinated dispersions are formulated with an acrylic solution resin chosen for its compatibility with a variety of letdown polymer systems, minimizing shock on letdown.” I knew, the moment I read the sentence, I was in over my head. While I have an interest in knowing such stuff, I have limited capacity to process information that requires a return to my high school chemistry course, the only course I’ve ever failed (fortunately, I failed only the first six-week session, barely recovering the following spring).
The problem, I’ve discovered, is laziness. I want to know things. I just don’t want to expend the mental energy, nor the time, to learn. There must be a solution. I suspect there will be, one day.
I long for the discovery of the electrochemical characteristics of specific information in our brains, and the practical means of achieving and storing unique electrochemical states. The idea is that the delivery of a precise electric current, coupled with a relatively painless injection, would manufacture knowledge in our brains. I suggest information (“data”) about a specific aspect of trigonometry, for example, is recorded exactly the same way in the brains of every person who understands that aspect. It’s simply a matter of measuring exactly how that bit of information is stored and how to replicate it, using jolts of electricity in concert with mind-altering chemicals. (It’s really quite simple, don’t you think?)
The initial application of such processes would be crude; a fully-formed understanding of pigment dispersion chemistry might require several injections and shock treatments over the course of a month or more. But I am confident the process would evolve quickly into one in which a visit to the pharmacy would supply the required materials for injection. Then, once at home, a properly equipped iPad accessory would deliver the injection concurrently with the necessary current to the brain. Presto! You’re an expert in pigment dispersion chemistry!
The uses for such a breakthrough would be staggering. Instant fluency in foreign languages. Full knowledge of K through 12 coursework delivered concurrently with childhood vaccinations. Four-year degree equivalency in the time it takes to buy and skim Cliffs Notes for To Kill a Mockingbird. The educational system would be turned on its head; it would become largely unnecessary, save for post-graduate research, which in turn would feed into the military-industrial electrochemical complex.
It took such a short span of time for my interest in colors to metastasize into a post-knowledge economy fantasy. I have a very long attention span, if I combine all the infinitesimally short spans of attention on any given topic.