The Infinite Coast – Transcript

Scene 1 No speech- :
(Hand holds ruler in front of cove entrance to the sea.)

Scene 2 Script:
(Walk up cove beach to camera and stop.)

Comprehension is perhaps something we all take for granted. On this journey we are going to look at the nature of comprehension, and see where that may lead us.

But where to start?

Well one place we could start is the Infinite Coast.

– Which leads us to our first question: What is the Infinite Coast?

I think perhaps one way of answering that question is, measurement. So I think we will measure just a part of the Infinite Coast – accurately – and see where that may lead us. (Walk off-camera.)

 Scene 3a Script:
 (On rocky coast not far from Cockenzie Harbour and the scene 2 cove… -Prop: tape measure-.)

So this looks as good as any place to start our measurement from. But there is a problem. It’s time and tide. Because, with time and tide, the sea level is constantly changing the shape of our coast. What to do? Well, if we could find where the mean tide is, well, then we could measure from there. – But where is it? And how do we find out? Fortunately, barnacles come to our aid, because they do know where the mean tide is. (Look at and pat barnacles wryly).

Ok, let’s then measure from here to Cockenzie harbor – it’s not that far away. And I think for convenience we’ll start with meter lengths.

But straight away we run into a problem. Clearly we are missing out a lot of detail!

So lets try 20 cm…..

Scene 3b Script:
(Close-in shot of hand and tape-ruler being used.)

But it’s clear we are still missing out a lot of detail no matter how hard we try.

All right then,

so let’s try jumping to 5cm…

But no, we still find we’re missing out detail!

And by the time we are down to 2cm and we still find we are yet missing detail and wondering do we have to go down to millimetres?

Scene 3c Script:
(Close-in clear shot of coast – no lead character, no props.)

 It’s becoming clear that no matter how hard we try to measure the coast with absolute accuracy the more and more there is to measure. And the more we are forced to concede our coast is revealing its nature to be infinite.

(Special effect transition to picture of infinite coast with new details of sand rock, seashells; staggered, deep zoom-in.)

– Then transition to:-

Scene 5
(Interior; studio scene, mantelpiece above which is the picture of the Infinite Coast just transitioned from. Main character walks into frame, looks at picture, then turns to camera…)

But if the coast really is infinite, how on Earth are we ever going to measure it? If, as we keep increasing accuracy, our goal of absolute accuracy only just runs further away from us, transforming our measurement of the coast into a maddening impossibility!

But perhaps there is another way to look at the IC.

Let’s imagine we are walking along the IC. It is night, but there is a full moon. In my hand I have two or three grains of sand. And as I look carefully at them I see that each one is unique and that is each one’s value. And as I brush them off my hand back onto the beach, I realise the grains do not lose any of their own value but both add to the value of the grains on the beach and to the beach as a whole. And as I look up at the stars I see the same thing and so realise that value is scaleless, not reductive.

Indeed even as I walk along the beach I am shifting the sand into new relationships, adding more value of uniqueness to the value of the beach.

So now let’s go back to measurement and our ruler.

(Voice-over to deep zooms into two different rulers with same results.)

The thing is, if we were to zoom-in to the increment notches of our ruler, or any ruler, we find it gets wider and wider. Worse still, the vital edges of the notches begin getting a bit wobbly, and the closer we look, the wider the notch gets and more wobbly its edges become – it’s the infinite coast!

Actually, if we were to go on, zooming down on our ruler, a notches’ edge would become so indistinct, that by the time we got to molecules we’d find an edge hard to find at all – because really, there are no final absolute edges to anything.

-(Voice-over ends and return to scene 5.)-

The thing is, absolute measurement by division demands an absolute edge, an edge that, fundamentally, really doesn’t exist. And it is this ‘maddening edge’ in measurement by division, not the scaleless nature of the infinite coast, which is always haunting us just beyond the periphery of our comprehension. But in trying to measure the infinite coast we are forced to face it head on. 

So what am I saying? That we should throw away our rulers?! No, of course not! That would be utterly ridiculous, and there is no need. 

You see, it’s not even that wobbliness in the dividing notches that is the problem – they are just being how they really are. No, it’s actually all about our comprehension. But now we have been to the infinite coast resolution is before us. All we have to do is simply see our ruler for what it really is, similar but unique uniqueness’s relating to each other, arranged in an orderly line.

So, if I now measured my distance from myself to, say, a wall, with the mentality of the infinite coast it’s now all about finding my ‘unique relationship’ to the wall in space –  not dividing myself from it by distance. It’s no longer about dividing up space with absolute measurement with its maddening edge. Because if we can manage to measure by the mindfulness of ‘relationships’, the maddening edge will melt away. With the mentality of the Infinite Coast, infinity is not something that maddens us but is now something that naturally makes sense to us.

 And it’s not just the measurement of space that is tainted by the maddening edge, it is in time also. Indeed, with time we are more likely to feel this maddening edge a little more keenly. Because it’s not just space the infinite coast applies too, the infinite coast applies to time. All of us already know that ‘the moment’ has no ‘edges’, yet in the early part of the 21st century we live as if time has a sharp edge – even though it isn’t there. And this is why time can often madden us, as we apply measuring time-by-division we impose on ourselves an impossible absolute, infecting us with the maddening edge. Yet, just as with space, here too the resolution is the same. By relationships, time loses its deeper maddening edge. The bus does not always arrive exactly at 4pm, but being at the bus stop at about 8 minutes to 4 assures more potential of catching it! Just as on the infinite coast time-and-tide-means, the mean tide is marked loosely, by barnacles. The stars and planets are remarkably predictable in their movement, but uniqueness will still creep in on some level nonetheless. Not even Newton can be ‘-absolutely-’ right! But just as before, that does not mean we throw away our clocks! (Or hardly, Newton’s equations!) No, as with the ruler, it’s all about relationships, and their potential.

Actually, it’s all about comprehension.

Clearly comprehension is at the heart of measurement; without it, there is no measurement. There is nothing at all. Comprehension is everything. How we comprehend measurement is everything. It shapes our world within and without. It’s why understanding scalelessness is so crucial to making the bridge from ourselves to the world. Scalelessness is central to the infinite coast. So it is not insignificant that, if we comprehend by divisionism, we will partially cut ourselves off from the infinite coast and bring the maddening edge to haunt us. Whereas, comprehension by relationships does not; it connects us to the infinite coast. And to a place where infinity is transformed, not into something that maddens us but something we can understand.

But here’s the thing.

Perhaps all this may seem even a little esoteric, but, supposing we applied this fundamentally to the way we value – not just space, time, and things, but to the way we measure-value each other, and actually, ourselves. Because let’s face it, at least some of our comprehension of each other as people in the early 21st century will likely involve measurement by division in some way, if we are honest about it. And where it does, the maddening edge will also be. And that is something that should give us pause for thought. Because it throws a different light on how we comprehend and value ourselves, and each other. It seems to me, the more maddening edge may be present in us, the more potential for only partial comprehension of each other becomes possible, and the more that may come to madden us, madden us just a little more to ourselves – and each other.

And here’s another thought – how much of this maddening edge will then be reflected in ourselves, our communities, our government. I would suggest it is hard for a more scaleless and empathic, cohesive, community and government to flourish in such soil. We certainly can’t afford to throw ourselves, our communities, our government away, because our divisionism-half finds it doesn’t somehow maddeningly measure up! Because we always feel our government somehow falls short, we can never be ‘absolutely’ happy with it, we can never be ‘absolutely’ happy with ourselves. It’s in this, it seems to me, that we can’t afford to allow divisionism to subtly grow and dominate us. As we are right now, we are a half-comprehending mixture of the infinite coast and divisionism.

It’s this maddening ‘gap’ in our comprehension that turns the infinite into the finite and the resources of our world into a rapidly diminishing finite threatening all our futures.

I would argue that by allowing ourselves to be gripped by the maddening edge we have, in our own way, departed from the path of evolution. To return to evolution and away from this maddening finite, all that is required is for us to realise, the more divisionist we are, the harder it will be to see the infinite coast, and grow into a more practical, empathic civilisation, where resolution of our maddening divisionism resides.

 All we have to do is take one scaleless step on the infinite coast to rediscover our value and the value of all things, and in that is the first step to finding the scaleless resolution to our civilisation and the civilisation of ourselves.

 And only then will we at last walk along the infinite coast and among the stars

– Then transition to closing night time scene –
– stars, rolling waves on sea  a shore:-

– Credits 

End -||

 CJB Dec 2020