Thursday, July 24, 2008

Jimmy Abad Predicts The Internet

Those of you who are not unfamiliar with Philippine Literature know Gemino H. Abad as an award-winning writer and beloved mentor to generations of language-addled undergrads. But did you also know that Sir Jimmy, as he is fondly known, has the power to friggin' see the future?

Last night, I was reading a book that he had written two decades ago, State of Play: Letter-Essays and Parables, when I came across the "Parable of the Googol Balloons." As any personality-crippled, unforgivably nerdy schoolboy knows, googol is the large number 10 to the 100the power -- in other words, the digit 1 followed by one hundred zeros. It was also the inspiration for the name of the world-conquering company Google. I thought this was an amusing coincidence, but it turns out that the parable's title was chosen due to Sir Jimmy's precognitive ability. I present to you an excerpt from this prophetic text:


"From that time, everyone began to have an opinion on almost any theme and wished to convince others. Often there were endless disputes, for each one thought he had the best argument. Strangely, no one ever doubted in his heart that there was always somewhere a gap or absence, no matter how finely woven were one's meanings. But where exactly the rent was in one's net of words, no one could ever tell. But that hole too had one consistent effect; it only provoked yet more words until sense itself was dazed."

Holy shit, that sounds really familiar. It's like every message board or comments section discussion gone wrong (in other words, most of them). The parable ends with:

"Finally, each time anyone spoke, he spouted a balloon. It was a marvelous sight, for the sky soon filled with each one's balloons, every word a thousandfold replicated in grey solidity. It was a horror, for none of the balloons could burst, neither could any gale sweep them off the air. They simply mushroomed everywhere until all light was extinguished. An absolute silence reigned on earth."

INTERNETS! You have been warned.

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