Sunday, September 24, 2017

"Burn the damn thing down"

"Everything is melting in nature. We think we see objects, but our eyes are slow and partial. Nature is blooming and withering in long puffy respirations, rising and falling in oceanic wave-motion. A mind that opened itself fully to nature without sentimental preconception would be glutted by nature’s coarse materialism, its relentless superfluity. An apple tree laden with fruit: how peaceful, how picturesque. But remove the rosy filter of humanism from our gaze and look again. See nature spuming and frothing, its mad spermatic bubbles endlessly spilling out and smashing in that inhuman round of waste, rot, and carnage. From the jammed glassy cells of sea roe to the feathery spores poured into the air from bursting green pods, nature is a festering hornet’s nest of aggression and overkill." -From Sexual Personae by Camille Paglia
The world we live in is constantly melting. Sometimes the change is fast and sometimes it's slow but it never stops. It seems helpful to say "the external world" is what's changing while the "internal world" stays constant but even that isn't true. Our physical bodies are constantly changing too - cells are dying and being replaced.

The way to survive change is to adapt, which sounds duplicative. Adaptation is just more change right? Sort of, but for the sake of this essay, change is out of your control while adaptation is in your control. The key part of adaptation is intentionality. A human or animal makes intentional changes in order to survive. The crazy part is that change and adaptation occurs simultaneously. Your skin cells are dying while you are intentionally putting on sunscreen to protect those exact cells, and it repeats and repeats. But all this complexity makes one's head spin. Let's limit the thought experiment to the "external" world changing and the "internal" world adapting.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Goodbye Darwin

We live in an age where central bankers are politicians and the bills we carry in our pockets are ideological battle grounds. Rather than retelling the grimy myths of our past, the artwork on our bills is supposed to lead us forward to a future of equanimity and peace. Andrew Jackson is apparently getting booted from the $20 bill soon, to be replaced by abolitionist Harriet Tubman. To be sure, Tubman is eminently worthy of recognition, but is Jackson not? Jackson was a first generation immigrant, orphaned at 14, from humble means who built himself into a president of the US consistently ranked in top 10 historically. That seems to set a solid example for a first generation Mexican immigrant growing up right now in Riverside or El Paso.

The Bank of England is no different than the US Federal Reserve when it comes to tinkering with their bills. Since the year 2000, a bust of Charles Darwin has been featured on the £10 note in the UK. In a few weeks, he will be replaced with author Jane Austen. It's unclear exactly why Darwin is getting removed but it certainly fits with the theme of heavy handed ideology pushing. Again, not that Jane Austen is unworthy. But Darwin is such a large historical figure that it seems wrong to rotate him out.