JF Ptak Science Books LLC Post 577
I arrived at the subject of Lonesomeness in a roundabout way--taking my first look at the lovely 3 Quarks Daily site and thinking about Muster Mark and Humphrey Earwicker and Leon Ledermann and the quark's (pronounced "quork", by the way, this from the master's voice) phenomenologically-obsessed creator, Murray Gell-Mann.
[The story of the discovery of the quark is a little tricky; Gell-Mann was the first to publish his discovery, preceding the independently-established work and findings of George Zweig. Zweig's quarks were called "aces", and after publishing his results in an internal CERN document, had considerable difficulty in placing the paper in The Physical Review, so much so that he abandoned the effort, only placing the paper in print years later. The CERN paper by Zweig is beautiful, even to someone like me--his high visual thinking (as with Richard Feynman) is highly apparent. Gell-Mann has been insistent on referring to Zweig's work and its significance ever since its appearance in the first year of publication of the European Physics Letters in 1964.]
It is when fast forwarding through the experimental voyage for the picturing of the quark that we meet Leon Ledermann, whose animated semi-serious reference to the discovery of the anti-quark leading was his speculation on "anti-humans". The idea of "anti-humans" is quite a lot to think about, and is something much deeper than simply not have humans being there. But also something different from the anti-neutron, the anti-quark, anti-matter.
The anti-human led me to the "not being there" part, and then to the depiction of that idea, and the idea of Lonesomeness, in art. For me the very compelling imagery of lonesomeness is found in this painting at Coney Island by "part-time undertaker, newsstand dealer, and mortuary organist" Vestie E. Davis (1928-1978). It is a scene desolate of interaction, Even when Davis begins to add people into his paintings (making them "sell better"), the populations seem as brittle as Eliot's utterly precise diction in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. In meek forebearance I add the artwork of Edward Hopper Both of these men seem to give their canvases a reality that is stretched so thin
that it crystalizes the singular moment, and captures the lonesomeness of it all in the instant before the fabric tears. This is lonesomeness no matter if the seen is vacant or filled with people; Hopper and Davis introduce a finite nothingness that too me is as cold and scary as the antiquarian tombstone for the unnamed "Wife of____", standing smaller and apart from the dead husband.
Maybe its the colors--or rather, for me, maybe its the color white. White is largely absent in nature, at least big (excluding clouds), at least that's what poets like Wordsworth said. It is Goethe's vexing color, Melville's lonesomeizer. White works to distance everything in the images I'm presenting here, helping to make it possible for lonesomeness to exist in a bleak landscape as well as one with lots of people.
And so there you have it--I'm nowhere in this post except to have it serve as a placeholder for some sort of idea about quarks and space and absence and lonesomeness. Just an exploration.