Dust Function Update

Not that it's keeping me awake at night, but I've spend more time than I probably should wondering about who or what Dust Function might be. My concern isn't so much a legal one, though I have to admit that we're operating entirely on the digital world's equivalent of a handshake deal in which the person with whom I'm shaking hands is wearing a mask and, to make things interesting, white gloves as well.

To some extent, there's even a remote possibility that I'm being catfished. I mean, what if someone out there is sending me someone else's electronic ambient music as part of some elaborate hoax? Not that I can imagine the point of such a hoax, but the world is full of people who are always doing things that I can't even begin to imagine the point of.

At this point, I have a couple of theories as to who might be behind Dust Function, but my interest right now isn't so much who's behind Dust Function but what the name "Dust Function" signifies. What, in other words, is the function of dust?

The first clue that leaps to mind is classic rock's most Ozymandian three minutes and nineteen seconds, "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas . If, as the song suggests, all we are is, indeed, dust in the wind, maybe the function of dust is to remind us of where we're all heading or what we're all destined to become. In this sense, perhaps "Dust Function" is shorthand for the process of becoming dust and a subtle critique of the hubris that allows all of us to make make mountains out of the molehills of our lives.

Then there's "The Invasion from Outer Space," a short story by Steven Millhauser in which a steady rain of yellow dust falls on Earth from outer space and gradually begins to pile up. The dust doesn't really do anything, and is mostly harmless, but there's so much of it piling up that it's becoming something more than a mere nuisance. Is this the true function of dust? To gradually take over our lives until it's too late to do anything about it?

I also keep getting drawn back to the fact that the first single from Dust Function will be called "Zen." There's certainly something reminiscent of Zen koans in the pair of gnomic blog posts that have appeared on DustFunction.com. According to Wikipedia (which has never steered me wrong!), a koan is "a story, dialogue, question, or statement which is used in Zen practice to provoke the 'great doubt' and to practice or test a student's progress in Zen." Is Dust Function a koan writ large? Is it meant to provoke the great doubt? And if so, in whom? And what is the great determination to follow?

There's also a very strong chance that I'm overthinking it.


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