Monday, January 5, 2015

Rock Love

    What is it about rocks anyway?  Why do crystalline forms fascinate us so completely?  We may decry how they are gathered for our use and appreciation, but we cannot escape their profound effect on us.  Dazzle, sparkle, shine, and glimmer, their ability to catch and refract light seems to beguile us endlessly.  And like in my post yesterday, this attraction seems to be hard wired, universal.  Every culture has its share of glitter and gleam that it elevates to high status.
    And this, of course, has become a significant force within the Attire language.  The presence of gemstones, or even the sham appearance of them instantly implies status, wealth, and temporal power. It does not, however, instantly convey taste or discernment.  We can often regard excessive jewelry with disdain, as being a vulgar display.
     But we can also lavish gemstones on things as a way to separating them from the common run of objects, like this, the literal skeleton of martyr St Gratianus, which is on display on the Marienaltar of the Basilica of Waldsassen in Germany.  In this case we use apparel, and the shine of these gems, to honor this deceased man above others for his sacrifices.
     Lets all just face it; shiny gets our attention, whether its rhinestones made of glass, or whether its emeralds, gleaned at terrible cost from the deep places.   Perhaps its that they seem to capture something that has no physical form we can touch; light.  They make light something more tangible, and therefore, on some level more understandable, and controllable.  And we do like control, after all.  We like being able to put things into categories so that we can feel as though we can manipulate them at will.

    As a part of the Attire language, we have strewn precious gems on every part of our bodies as jewelry, and also as a real part of our clothing, drilling holes in gems so we can sew them to our garments.  And these days we have even gone so far as to insert them into our teeth and skin directly.  Our desire to possess these small lumps of visible light has not decreased, even though we can now make them by the ton with machines.
    From the first moment in our unknowable past, when one of our forebears picked a water slick stone from a stream and saw it shoot light about in the sun, we have been caught in the spell of dazzle.
  I doubt we will ever fully escape its hold.

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