Annus constrictivus

Justin E. H. Smith in his Substack newsletter, Hinternet:

Only two of the following three cultures are, as far as we know, real. In 2022, perhaps, I will reveal which of them I made up.

Let us start with Culture X, whose members will tell you that the roofs of their mouths are “blue”. Even if you shine a light in there, take a picture, and show them that their own palate is only the ordinary color of skin (whatever color that may be; in any case probably not blue), they will continue to insist that it is blue all the same. They will tell you that the roof of the mouth is “the same as” the dome of the cloudless sky, and that from early on children pass their time running their tongues from back to front. The soft palate for them is the sun on the horizon; what we call its “softness” is felt by the tongue as its heat. The hard palate is the great expanse of the sky; what we call its “hardness” is felt as crisp, open, and blue. As the tongue continues its journey forward, it eventually hits the back of the front teeth. Those are the dolomite cliffs on the horizon opposite the sun, dark and cold. Now give it a try. Imagine that your palate too is the dome of the sky. Imagine that, for as long as you can remember, in your idle time, or as you work, or as you lie sleepless, you have been running through this tour of the known world inside your mouth. Are you starting to see, now, how a palate might be “blue”, even if not “empirically” so?

More here.