Forward to next post: The return of the final serial comma’s vital necessity
“Knipperlichtrelatie” is composed of “knipperlicht” and “relatie”: “indicator/blinker” and “relationship” respectively. “Knipperlichtrelatie” is used to refer to a relationship that runs hot and cold.
Turn signals have become a useful metaphor for human relationships. Once again, as always, we use the world outside of us to impose some sense on the one inside our heads. I wonder sometimes whether, as the former changes, the latter alters with it. Do the insights granted by our ever-shifting metaphors alter how we act toward each other, consequently changing the reality they describe? Does the nature of the mapping technique influence the territory?
Shakespeare would argue not, of course. After all, variability in light sources predates turn signals:
O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.
—Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2
In either case, what interests me as a reader of science fiction is how the eternal verities of the human heart could be cast in terms of future life and technology*. How is the process of leaving through an airlock like ending a relationship? Do orbital mechanics provide a useful model for dealing with the way some relationships oscillate between deep closeness and seeming estrangement, and does one then begin to dread escape velocity? Can the variation among separately raised clones help people make better sense of how different the same person seems in different moods? Can you perform a mathematical analysis of the object of your affection’s public key to convince yourself that the two of you are deeply compatible?
Will the phrase “fourth quark” ever replace “fifth wheel”?