Tuesday, November 30, 2010


gasp, originally uploaded by Chris Valle Photography.

I bet, even without the benefit of the fairly generous prefrontal cortex we enjoy, other species, through sheer biological imperative and the proximity of The Now, find the behavior we see as primitive as nuanced and as significant as we find ourselves...maybe not. Whatever the case, watching these fish mosh about in anticipation of food pellets reminded me of the behaviors we humans sanctify in our tarted-up versions of eat/escape/reproduce. We are as birds in a flock, koi in a school, wolves in a pack. I don't think even the finest and most noteworthy people are ultimately more influential than the...orangest or most aggressive goldfish. This, on a long scale, mind you. Yes, a human can tell you that Sun Tzu or Shakespeare or Janet Jackson or Hitler was different or unique...in terms that are immediately relevant WITHIN our species, but zoom out and look at what any of them did that actually changed humanity...transcended humanity. At the level of our biological system software, we are as creative and callous and joyful and brutal now as back in the Stone Age.

I guess I'm saying (stream-of-whatnot style) that I think that we're none of us truly 'special', though in a narrow time scale, we might stand out...through our myopic tendency to emphasize small variations in the larger patterns of human behavior. People do only what people have always done, and most of what we ascribe noble or base qualities to, in the short term, are behaviors ultimately pre-ordained by our biology and fairly predictable and consistent in the long term. Our ability to imagine ourselves sets us apart from most other patterns of life, and what might be the gift of enlightenment and self-awareness is at the same time the curse of narcissism and conceit. What you call "Me" is a kind of ghost in a chemo-electrical machine. And we are programmed to thrash and fight and fuck and eat and struggle for an edge, while nature overall, somehow seeks a balance.

Dunno where I'm going with this. It's not exactly uplifting, though I think freeing one's mind from the burden of [Significance of Self] is a nice little vacation to take. Now back to the pond...it's Pellet Time!

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