ma

And the question began to arise: What if I don’t have kids? Maybe this record is everything I want to say to my child whether I have them or not. And then, Who am I a parent to if I have no child? And maybe the point of what it really means — expanding, or working on yourself — is to begin with this one specific person you call “Mother.” And as you grow, you see Mother everywhere. You have a nonspecific feeling you call Mother. And it becomes very animistic — it becomes the ocean, it becomes the Sun, and it becomes other people. And for me, without a doubt literature has been a Mother, music has been a Mother. And art has been a Mother.”

-Devendra Banhart on Ma in the LA Review of Books

needy for beauty

I think of beauty as an absolute necessity. I don’t think it’s a privilege or an indulgence. It’s not even a quest. I think it’s almost like knowledge, which is to say, it’s what we were born for. I think finding, incorporating, and then representing beauty is what humans do. With or without authorities telling us what it is. I think it would exist in any case. The startle and the wonder of being in this place! … Some of it’s natural, some of it’s man-made. Some of it is a mere glance. It’s an absolute necessity. I don’t think we can do without it any more than we can do without dreams or oxygen.”

-Toni Morrison on beauty in The Paris Review 

Questions

on John Stewart’s Evolutionary Manifesto and his concept of ‘intentional evolution’ to propel humanity beyond current environmental/existential crises.

*

If all that came to be in humanity goes extinct, was it really for nothing if it created beauty? /// Can an individual be a ‘self-evolved intentional evolutionary’ and also refuse to procreate? What will happen if intentional evolutionaries refrain from having children and the masses continue to procreate ‘blindly via trial and error?’ /// What’s so bad about leaving no trace? Isn’t the goal of continuation selfish in some ways? Isn’t the desire to reach further into time and space another form of manifest destiny? Is it arrogant to assume human capability to advance so far beyond? /// Can anyone actually unfetter themselves from their biological past? Is that ability/inability to disconnect an illusion or encoded within us? Can it really be rewired? /// If more and more people begin to experience a mindful gap in their consciousness, some space between their embodied awareness and thoughts/reactions to others/the outside world, then won’t they become more robotic/mechanical? How will this impact human relations? Can’t this gap actually take people out of the moment and into a headspace of calculation and separation? Can’t people progress and evolve intentionally and still be completely immersed within direct sensation/reaction, even if that reaction can at times be ‘wrong’ or less than productive? Will the mindful delay in reaction further connect or disconnect humans? (If intervention in connection/disconnection is possible.)

*

on further thought… and why we should consider evolutionary history and trajectory…

Maybe the more we delude a tilt into the sheerly cultural, and ‘extract’ ourselves from our evolution/biology/environment, the more sick and disconnected we become internally and externally. And reliant on pharmaceuticals. Anyone who says ‘biological determinism’ as if it’s a bad concept is deeply disconnected from their origins, body, Earth. We were born! We are here! We have senses! We are not floating purely in culture, but deeply grounded in matter, in physical embeddedness. And what a relief. We are together in this. But right now: I’m okay with the oblivion. With some Earthly fever clearing humanity out.

&

She had all the attributes of a great character. She was capable of madness, like the affair with her land, but she also possessed a great lucidity. She embodied those contradictions that make for great characters, like when she nearly died upon learning that I enrolled in the Communist Party. But she is not the main hero of my body of work, nor the most permanent. No, I am the most permanent. Writing is to write for oneself… We separate ourselves from people by writing.”

-Marguerite Duras on her mother in
Me & Other Writing

excess

One must also recognize that morality is based on ideas and that all ideas are dangerous—dangerous because ideas can only lead to action and where the action leads no man can say. And dangerous in this respect: that confronted with the impossibility of remaining faithful to one’s beliefs, and the equal impossibility of becoming free of them, one can be driven to the most inhuman excesses.”

-James Baldwin
Stranger in the Village