Screen-scraping. What have I learnt?

The system is not the enemy, the system is the beaten, broken and smothered dumb creature you are poking at through the gaps in its kerosene memory. It has glutinous feelers that react to your touch in unexpected ways until you conquer the chaos by learning to read patterns and see the standing waves and inflexion points. The system can be tamed, much like any other dumb animal; the question is one of approach: a lion tamer does not approach a lion from behind and carrying an airhorn.

I have been in the ring with the system and we have stared at each other long and hard, me seeking a bond or an understanding, my partner passive and unmoving. Its colours vibrate when you attack with a flourish of hand gestures, thinly intruding from the front, like a toreador with a red cape. It makes not to wince but envelops when you sink in a probe, leaving barbs as you go, stuck into the dough-like body. And, again, like the bullfighter, stabbing many times in a slow dance, leaving brightly coloured flags emerging from the jelly, the system bouyant beneath you, reflecting your effort, now you realise the flaws in your tools: the hammer is not heavy enough, the rope is too coarse, the sword is too round. But this is ok and this is what the system teaches you, gives back to you in the manner of dumb beasts. This has only been the first round and your energy is not so much spent but less wild. This system is not the enemy and now you see it.

The tools become sharper, your sword-turned-scalpel is given back for keyhole use and your eye cares less for the rippling outer layer the system shakes, but for the straight and shadowy paths straight to its rough avocado nut at the centre. You feel like a gadget-man, a tinkerer, a man of tools.

The hope is always to blast away some abstraction, to see right through the fumes and the thickness, and to know the beast all at once. However, this is the desperate monkey-brain acting out, who wants everything complex to be simple, everything small to be visible; the brain who wishes peace and love and perfect fucking. The beast in the ring is not your enemy, nor is it your friend. You share a purely transactional relationship and, no matter how many brightly coloured ribbons you leave dangling from its sides, it will forget you the moment your insistent prodding disappears. You will be wise not to look back as you leave.

One Comment

  1. Claudia Makki
    Posted September 25, 2008 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    please see my email regarding JP’s website refresh. He’s asked that you change the widget from vote for me to a link to his just giving page. The charity event is next week so if you could do this quickly we would appreciate it.