Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Bell Tolls For Us

As a follow-up to my previous post on Monday's tragedy at Virginia Tech, I came across an entry in hard deadlines, the blog of my friend and fellow media ecologist John McDaid, dated today, April 18, and entitled Virginia Tech massacre. In his post, he concentrates on another professor who was killed while teaching a German class, Christopher James Bishop, and how he is being mourned by the science fiction community.

It is a cliché to quote John Donne, and yet the words ring true:

Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises? but who takes off his eye from a comet when that breaks out? Who bends not his ear to any bell which upon any occasion rings? but who can remove it from that bell which is passing a piece of himself out of this world? No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

The separation between us may be more or less than the fabled six degrees, but it is all the more true in our increasingly networked, interconnected world that there are no islands, only mother ocean. The bell tolls and we, living in acoustic space, cannot help but resonate, each in our own way.

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