Unreal Nature

October 31, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 7:26 pm

We spend almost our entire philosophical, even theological brains thinking about our humanness and how wild and crazy it is. That’s partly because we need to be special and we’ve chosen humanness as the site of All Specialness. Humanness is Specialtown. It’s Special City. Hell, it’s the Nation of Special. Humanness, we’ve decided, is the most specialest thing in the whole wide world! We have some reasons for that, and some of them are interesting and have validity and others are specious. It seems clear to me that other aspects of us are also compelling, however. And one of them is mammal. But that’s only one — hey, throw vertebrate in there. Our phylum, chordata. Hell, throw in tetrapod. That’s our superclass. How cool is that, that we’re tetrapods? Superclass tetrapod. I mean it’s cool. How about throw in dry-nosed primate? That’s our suborder. I like that dry-nosed primate is my suborder. I, personally, revel in being a dry-nosed primate. I don’t know, some people like sports teams. I’ve never been into, like, my team. But my superclass, though … I could go there. In my view, there’s far too little fiction out there focusing on the fact that we’re in a class with prosimian tarsiers, plus all the rest of the true simians. Far too little focusing on the fact that we’re multicellular. I mean that’s a big deal, being multicellular. Huge. Technically, a lot bigger deal than being human. Not to put too fine a point on it, but when it comes to being human, we’re mental about it. We’re completely fixated.

That’s writer Lydia Millet in an interview on Identity Theory. (My dry nose is not very dry. I’m a damp-nosed primate. Extra special.)




  1. The nose is an interesting appendage. I am not sure why it “sticks out” in humans since, in just thinking about it, most noses that protrude are attached to a jaw (dog, horse, dolphin); even the blood hound, that estimable smeller, has his nose perched directly above fangs. Who knows where the mantis shrimp’s nose is. Even a “wet nosed” (I assume) primate, the chimpanzee, doesn’t have much of a proboscis. And don’t throw in anteaters or elephants. That would be unfair.

    Comment by Dr. C. — November 2, 2009 @ 12:35 pm

  2. I am not sure why it “sticks out” in humans… — Dr. C

    Well, duh. E-V-O-L-U-T-I-O-N

    The bifocals on the humans with no nose bump kept slipping down and they all got eaten by lions (that they didn’t see because their glasses were not only not on their eyes, because they had slipped down, they were stopping up all airflow to their airflow holes). Plus, their mustaches (on the males, especially), which had no nose to hold them down, kept slipping up and the opposite sex doesn’t go for eyebrows under the eyes.

    Comment by unrealnature — November 2, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

  3. No, this could not be. It would have to be Natural Selection based on sexual attraction. But, of course, that is as uncertain as the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden. Consider the fact that we have long noses that want to be short noses, and short noses that want to be long.

    And then we have: THE NOSE. Or to be more exact.

    ‘Tis a rock! A peak! A cape!
    – A cape? Forsooth! ‘Tis a peninsula!

    Comment by Dr. C. — November 2, 2009 @ 5:20 pm

  4. If you get your nose lengthened or shortened you have to get your index finger lengthened or shortened at the same time. That’s why Michael Jackson wore a glove.

    Comment by unrealnature — November 2, 2009 @ 7:15 pm

  5. The Aye-aye ought to have a very long nose, then (except it’s not its index finger, so perhaps it’s an adaptation for flipping the bird).

    Comment by Ray Girvan — November 4, 2009 @ 11:30 pm

  6. No, no, no, Ray. You’ve got it backwards. If the index finger is much shorter than the middle finger, that’s a dead giveaway that the nose and index finger used to be very long but have been shortened.

    Comment by unrealnature — November 5, 2009 @ 8:47 am

  7. Speaking as an expert on boogers (and the fingers that go searching for them), I would submit that it is the little finger that accomplishes the task best. I have been told that it is from over-use of this digit that English ladies hold it in a raised position whilst drinking tea.

    Comment by Dr. C. — November 6, 2009 @ 3:50 pm

  8. I have never used my pinky for removal of nasal mucus. Men use their little finger and it’s gross. And they always look at it with great interest once it’s been extracted. That’s really gross.

    Comment by unrealnature — November 6, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

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