. . took a duck in the face . . *

[prelude to the point]

"You belive that the segments are part of a whole?"

"Yes." Zero hesitation.


"It doesn't feel so much like a leap of faith as something I know in my heart." Strange to hear herself say this, but it's the truth.
[painting the point]
"The heart is a muscle," Bigend corrects. "You 'know' in your limbic brain. The seat of instinct. The mammalian brain. Deeper, wider, beyond logic. That is where advertising works, not in the upstart cortex. What we think of as 'mind' is only a sort of jumped up gland, [hmmm...] piggybacking on the reptilian brainstem and the older, mammalian mind, but our culture tricks us into recognizing it as all of consciousness. The mammalian spreads continent-wide beneath it, mute and muscular, attending its ancient agenda. And makes us buy things."
[point made. 'duck' averted.]

The point being, advertising, propaganda, campaign rhetoric work because they utilize just enough of our intellectual capacity to make us think we've thought it through, thought it out, thought it over enough to be able to make an informed decision.

But the decision is far too often made in a much older location in our brains; a part which has been developing for aeons before our enourmous cortex came to the fore to help us "consciously" figure our ways around the maze of space and life and time which is our immediate universe. When we are lazy and continue to call that part our 'heart' then we essentially do deserve the results of making those life altering decisions in the ignorance which comes of not knowing how we work.

It's not always so bad, though. Right?

Eh. Not always. Sometimes it's even quite sublime.

--- Dialogue extracted from near to the end of Chapter 7, The Proposition, of William Gibson's 2003 novel, Pattern Recognition.

--- Analysis snottily contributed by moi in a mood.



* So, hmmm, wazzup with the "took a duck in the face"?

Cayce, our heroine, has what we'll call 'allergic reactions' to logos. Kinda sucks since her talent is finding the "next big thing". Hunting cool (though she doesn't like to call it that. Of course not.) Anyhow, a friend of her pop's told a story about his taking off in an airplane, when all of a sudden, a duck came smashing through the windshield of the plane while it was cruising 'long at 250 knots.

Whenever she's confronted with a reaction to some particularly devious logo-age, she manages to calm herself down and regain her composure by mouthing the mantra, "he took a duck in the face at 250 knotts."

Yeah. Whatever it is, it ain't
that bad. It's just that it happens to us.


  1. so, if we understand all that, do we make better decisions?

  2. I have.

    Not always (, of course!!!), but consistently ever more-so since I finally got it.

  3. Yeah. Still and so, it's the journey, not the destination, eh.

    (And I'm a'gonna keep on tellin' m'self just that.)


  4. Ah Pattern Recognition best by Gibson I ever read--perhaps the only book by Gibson I ever enjoyed.

  5. Really, Kvatch? I really dig all his stuff. Perhaps it's cuz I came upon him whilst coming out of my New Age Hippy phase, and he really is about as anti-New Ager, without being particularly disdainful of it, as you can get.

    Hmmm, dude's stuff IS pretty Dark, so I can certainly see that being a hindrance to real enjoyment of his works.

    OK. Nevermind.


  6. Hmmm, dude's stuff IS pretty Dark, so I can certainly see that being a hindrance to real enjoyment of his works.

    It's not the dark, just the style. Gibson is a master of the short story, probably because he has so many drop-dead cool ideas. But the man just lacks the focus to take great ideas to the next level in novel length form. Though this has not been the case with his last three novels, all of which show a lot of maturity and focus.

    Just MHO.

  7. In the Credits, Gibson thanks an assistant for helping him stay focused throughout the writing of this one.

    Nice call.

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