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mike
Professor part 35
Thu Nov 9, 2017 07:19
108.26.75.228

Professor Chapter 35
IN WHICH:- DURING TOLBERTS ABSENCE THE PROFESSOR LEARNS TO APPRECIATE SHEILA HIS NEW DOG. IN HIS DIARY HE RECORDS HIS CONCERN THAT THE CLUB DOES NOT REALIZE UNDERSTANDING THE CONTENT OF MESSAGES MATTERS MORE THAN HOW THE MESSAGES ARE RECEIVED.

Tolbert seemed to be hot on the trail of those people whose names I had supplied him with. I had already received an extremely good description of Mr Ramsey's research and a surprisingly detailed drawing of the machine which Tolbert had described as seen being demonstrated. Very astute of the man to divide its functions the way he had though it should prove possible to reconstruct them both if need be. Once you know something has been done that's half the battle over because you can proceed confident in the knowledge that it does work however incomplete your information is regarding its construction.

However, much to my surprise, my time was now being taken up by Sheila my new dog. Her willingness to show what she could do made me wonder if she could somehow divine my thoughts, though I knew the notion to be foolish. If something of that sort was taking place then surely my instruments could be persuaded to provide at least an indication of a communicatve process? She was incredibly helpful, sometimes seeming to anticipate my needs, what a terrible loss we both suffered from either her lacking the capacity for speech or my lack of intuition regarding her signals. She has the most expressive eyes and with a few changes of head angle, sounds, tail signals and facial expression displays several distinct emotions.

Query. Anticipation. Request. Contentment. Frustration. Confusion. There are others as well and each is quite distinctive. Where any doubt exists on my part or hers she can make a range of vocalisations to modify or emphasize what's being 'said'. When you consider the difficulty a dog must have trying to make vocal communications understandable to a human, you can't help but admire their intellectual ability. They don't have the right shaped mouth to form our speech sounds, they may not have vocal cords as such, yet they can modify what sounds they can make. This bespeaks intelligence and the desire to do so testifies to thought processes more advanced then perhaps one might realise.

Another factor that brought her to my notice was the way she doesn't try to do this with other people we encounter. For them she uses what might be called the standard dog vocabulary but for me she seems to go to considerable trouble to communicate intelligently. I might be deep in thought and I'll notice her looking at me and when I register this she'll indicate her awareness of my mental state. If I'm baffled or frustrated she produces a comforting range of sounds. That's over simplifying for the sake of giving an example, there's more depth to the interaction than that.

I'd like to discuss this in more detail with young Tolbert when he returns, he seems to possess a rapport with animals that I do not. I have to observe and make deductions where he seems to know without thinking about it. Of course he's young, quick witted and more agile in his thought processes as witness his observation that Ramsey may not realise what his machinery is capable of. If anyone can get that irascible man to cooperate fully when the time comes it will be Tolbert who has succeeded in getting entry where others have failed.

These reports from Germany are cause for concern, its perfectly obvious they are re-arming as fast as they can and you don't invest that sort of money for no purpose. Its the research angle that really worries me, they're clever people and they have had clever scientists working for them although apparently Albert Einstein had the sense to recently emigrate to America. It is fortunate for England that fool Hitler does not realise his anti-Semitic stance has already deprived Germany of its best and brightest, dozens have fled since Einstein spoke out against Nazism last year.

Sir Thomas of the Imperial Club impressed upon me how vital it is that we 'gather the wandering sheep safely into the fold', as he put it. He stressed the importance of keeping the truth from Tolbert lest he inadvertently inform our enemies of the progress being made in wireless. He pays scant heed to my warning that the messages my equipment is receiving are more important than the ways and means by which it's accomplished. I cannot afford to insist upon that point and risk losing the Clubs funding but I have made him understand that devising means of breaking the code may be of benefit to us both.

One of the names on that list, according to the psychic that I consulted out of desparation, supposedly is 'the key to understanding what my search is'. I gave her no information as to my researches, I simply provided a list of names and said that I hoped for advice on which were likely to prove most helpful. It was the longest of long shots, I was tired of being turned away by men I had hoped could offer some assistance. Brull had died not long after I met him and his Indian shamans driven off by the careless clear cutting and brutality of the lumber company no longer following Brulls advice.

In the meantime whilst I anxiously await Tolberts return, I have taken his advice and resumed my dog walking that I used to do with dear old Bruce. It is probably the best thing I could have done for the sake of my health. I found it helping to clear my thoughts and focus on what Sheila was doing. She seems to have a different technique than Bruce did, she will point her nose at a specific plant and give a short bark with her ears up and head tilted as if asking 'is this what you're looking for?'. How do I put it into terms that a dog can follow viz. "Can you hear any of the plants talking to each other or listening to something?"

Whereas Bruce would minutely examine a particular plant taking great care to work his muzzle from the ground up but very slowly and his nose would be moving, dilating and twitching as if sorting through a wealth of information and sometimes it was obvious he was hearing something as his ears adjusted back and forth in very small movements like someone tuning a radio trying to locate a distant signal. It was this scrutiny that first gave me a clue that there was more to learn about plants than I had realized. Only after Bruce recognised my interest in his actions did he seem to deliberately attract my attention if I was wool gathering as he followed his invisible, interesting trail. "Pay attention!" was one deep woof.

Polite incredulity would be the best way to describe the average persons reaction to these descriptions of intelligent interaction between man and animal. 'Animal' is a descriptive term but its unfortunately also regarded as a mild perjorative. Thus talking to animals tends to be regarded as an eccentricity 'I mean, it's not as if he can understand what you're saying' and that's where you're wrong Mr. Man the Master of All. The Age of Enlightenment at the start of the 18th century gave rise to this arrogant and fallacious assumption though Rousseau criticized the sciences for 'distancing man from nature.'

Enough of this nonsense! Everything hinges on what Tolbert discovers.


    • I like... - Sarge, Thu Nov 9 11:13
      ...your use of first person for not just one character but for the protagonist in each chapter as of late. I hope this next makes sense. It actually keeps them segregated from each other until you... more
      • Its under consideration - mike, Thu Nov 9 20:15
        When and if the time feels right I may indeed try that. I'll let it lie until the option arises of its own accord. Re:- additional first person dialogue.
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