(What Goes On Inside My Head)
Hi! It's Charluxx.
If I ask you to define a match, you might take one of several approaches.
1) You might use the purpose method—what it does—and tell me that it is used to light something on fire.
2) You could describe, as if to a blind person, that it is a small and longish stick of wood cut in a rectangular shape with a mixture of chemicals forming a teardrop shape at one end.
3) Going deeper and being more precise you could ad that when struck against an abrasive surface it will trigger a chemical reaction that results with the mixture catching on fire.
4) You might use an anthropological perspective and explain that it is the one true revolution of humankind’s history based on the deeply routed and primal need to harness the power of fire.
5) You could take a philosophical approach and theorize on the importance of this invention as embodiment of a metaphysical constant of the world.
6) The scientific point of view explains in minute details the different chemicals involved and the Newtonian law of physics that states that for every action, there has to exist an equal and opposite reaction.
There are so many routes to take when defining something. In my former life as a graphic design teacher one of the exercise I did with my students is give them a blank piece of paper and a pen and ask them to draw a line. Do not think about it, just draw a line. Everyone draws something different, because in our mind is an image of what that looks like and, this might come as a shock to you, but everybody is different. Every brain is unique. Every soul is who you are. It is who you are and how you are wired by society, your own history, and genetics.
When I think of a match, I think of stable and unstable matters. How they can both be found on one object. However there is a catch, at first both these matters are stable but each as it’s own set of conditions to become unstable. A bit like humans in that a given set of circumstances, state of mind, and a specific stimuli will trigger an emotional or physical reaction. Taken one step further, the fight-or-flight response. I then—and first—examine the “business end” of the match and ask myself how it is made. There is a laboratory somewhere that creates the mixture with a very precise ratio of all the required ingredients.
At this point I should tell you my background so that you understand where I’m coming from as a person. I would describe myself as a self-trained observer. I do have a degree in Anthropology, but I have never worked a day in my life as an anthropologist. I left University partway through my Masters degree. I started working as a graphic designer because I wanted to. I looked, I learned by watching professionals work and documentaries, by reading lots of books and emulating what I liked. I raced cars, I ride an needlessly overpowered motorcycle. I worked as a chef, I worked for IBM, Adobe, Apple, I taught at colleges. As you know, I'm a musician, I play various instruments and compose music. I enjoy music, movies, reading, and video games. From all these experiences I surmised the information that was important and dismissed what insulted my intelligence (to paraphrase Walt Whitman). By now you probably have the notion that I am not a “typical” person.
Back to the match and the science behind it, once the mixture is ready it is placed mechanically on a specifically engineered piece of wood or cardboard whose standardized dimensions are created in a processing plant, from an exact wooden or paper source. It is then packaged, distributed, then sold or given away to be used. The chemical composition is important and it is created to always, and without fail, react the same way. From what I can surmise, there are two kinds of matches: the ones with a single compound, and the ones with a combination of two composites. They have slightly different requirements to achieve the same result. The ignition of the aggregate is achieved by scrubbing the material against the grit of a rough surface, or a rough chemically treated surface in the case of the single compound match.
It is then that the atoms shift and transform from a stable state to an unstable one. The resulting flame then goes through the three phases of life as we understand: birth, life, death. A matter that maters but for a few precious seconds. Molecules are formed from the atoms released from their containment, and quickly change again until they must finally part—always the finality. Things are, and then they aren’t.
This fire becomes the catalyst that sets off the stability of the second matter—the wood or cardboard—that causes it to ignite and itself burn. The difference between the two matters is essential, and they must coexist in order to achieve the desired effect. The wood or cardboard cannot inflame by itself, just as the flame could not persist without the fuel provided. That is the very essence of life. However much we try to fool ourself otherwise, that is the core of society. Our differences makes us be, makes us strong. Love, peace and understanding is what we can gain by contemplating a simple apparatus that is used to either keep us warm, help feed us, or let us see in the dark. Or you can willingly choose the appeal of its destructive powers—you are after all the byproduct of environmental factors and genetics.
One of my “pet peeves” is how some people will go too far back in time to tell you a story, or will use an extraordinary amount of information to explain something. In that context, the story of how I look at a match seems to fall into that category... but really does not. All of the above, it happens in a matter of seconds in my head. The trick in life is to distill that information and impart the vulgarized version of it—when you think of it that is a horrible way to describe the process of making something simple: vulgar. I consciously “go straight to the point” most of the time, it is communicationally more efficient. Imaginably not unlike a volcano that appears calm on the surface but is very active inside. Once in a while a little eruption relives the tension, and I explain my thought process.
The important thing in life is to train yourself to look at things differently, from a variety of perspectives. Think of things, really think about them. Synthesize. Then divulge the essence, the “gist” of it. It might not make you a better person but it will make you a more understandable human being.
All of that goes on inside my head... including thinking about this story, and telling it to you.
Peace and Love,