by Robert Kendall

Consult the Soothcircuit

[requires minimum monitor
resolution of 1024 X 768]


Quick Start

If you want to start using the Soothcircuit right away, simply open the Soothcircuit window, type a question into the text box at the top left if you wish (this is optional), and click four times on the Chance Selection icon at the top right. This will generate a text for you to explore. If you want to generate another text, click Start Over at the top right and repeat the above procedure. Click Here to open the window and get started. The text below provides in-depth discussion of the Soothcircuit’s workings.


The Soothcircuit Welcomes You

Each time you consult the Soothcircuit, it generates a text for you. How you approach this text is up to you. You can regard it as an oracular analysis of your current life situation. You can consider it an indirect answer to any question you have posed to it. You can read it as a poem. You can treat it as a collection of interrelated aphorisms, anti-aphorisms, koans, and conceptual riffs. The interpretation is up to you, but interpret it you must.

To consult the Soothcircuit, you can begin by typing in a question, though this is optional. Then you must build your own circuit by connecting four electronic components. The eight components from which you may choose are distant relatives of the I Ching’s eight trigrams. Seven of them represent natural elements such as water or fire, while one represents the absence of natural elements through the symbol of the house, which shuts out the elements. On another level, these components represent abstract concepts or themes, such as time or identity. Choose the components most relevant to your concerns. If you choose wisely, your circuit will process sooth effectively and generate a meaningful reading.

For example, you might wish to know what you'll be like 20 years down the road. To focus the reading on the relevant issues, you could choose the battery to represent time, the lamp to represent identity, the resistor to represent fulfillment, and the house to represent the body.

To build a circuit, click on the icons of the four components you want and they will be inserted into your circuit in a manner determined by the fates. If you wish also to leave the choice of component in the hands of the fates, click on "Chance Selection." When the circuit is complete, the text will appear. If you roll your mouse pointer over the components in the circuit diagram, they will briefly reveal their alternative meanings (if you are using Internet Explorer).

The paragraphs around the outside of the circuit reflect the theme of the nearest component, as well as the relationships between adjacent components. You can read them in either clockwise or counterclockwise order, beginning at any point in the loop. The italicized text inside the circuit describes the relationships between the natural elements represented by circuit components, which in turn reflect the thematic relationships between stanzas.

As the text moves down the screen, it emerges from darkness and grows more prominent, paralleling the dynamics of its content. The text in the North (top) position represents something hidden, vague, or obscure—perhaps a distant source or goal. The text in the East (right) position represents something emergent. The text in the South position represents the element that dominates the reading. The text in the West represents something waning or receding.

These positional inflections of meaning also allow the Soothcircuit to provide yes or no answers or to evaluate the relative merits of several different courses of action. The position of the most symbolically significant component in your reading can indicate a positive or negative response. Suppose you want to know whether someone will reciprocate your amorous interest. If the transistor (representing emotional attachment) appears in the dark area at the top of the screen, things look bad for your romantic future. Conversely, the appearance of this icon in the lighter area at the bottom of the screen presages a brighter outcome. Another approach is to choose different components to represent different courses of action and then observe the positions they occupy in the reading. For example, you might wish to know whether you should wait patiently for a situation to resolve itself or speak up and try to influence the outcome. If the battery (symbolizing time) appears in the light and the speaker (symbolizing communication) ends up in the dark, waiting would be preferable to speaking out.

Feel free to generate as many readings as you wish. Click on “start over” when you wish to clear the current circuit and build a new one.

The Soothcircuit remembers what it has told you so that it won’t repeat itself. If you wish to wipe the slate clean, you can clear the circuit memory.


Learn About Soothcircuitry

Consult the Soothcircuit