Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It appears to be

I came across this common phrase while browsing Wikipedia in an entry called Antikytheria Mechanism, (which, apparently, is world’s oldest mechanical scientific calculator). In context, the phrase occurred, “it appears to be based upon theories of astronomy and mathematics.” However, the colloquial, “it appears to be” is what caught my attention. Clearly, the author's purpose was to mean something like “it seems” or “most likely it is,” but taken out of context, “it appears to be” is a multifaceted short phrase.

One of most intriguing facets that startled me immediately upon reading it resulted from viewing "it" and "be" both as nouns as opposed to their respective pronoun and infinative verb. This gives the startling effect of "it" appearing (or almost "materializing") to "be," or even just "appearing" (as if it were previously hidden). However, instead of materializing or coming into sight, "appears" could also be a performance (as appearing in a show), where "it" is performing for "be," or maybe even revealing part of itself (seductively) for "be," as if giving itself over to "be."

Perhaps, though, "to be" actually is in the infinitive verb tense (as in to be or not to be), and "it" appears
"to be" (in that Shakespearian sense - as in, existing, or at peace with its existence... it is). "It" is a very existential pronoun - possibly even "appearing" (as in showing up) "to be" in that existential state.

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