Unreal Nature

September 26, 2010

Unadapted

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 7:47 am

… [Antonioni] explains that our knowledge does not hesitate to renew itself, to confront great mutations, whilst our morality and feelings remain prisoners of unadapted values of myths that no one believes any more, and find only poor excuses — cynical, erotic, or neurotic — for freeing themselves. Antonioni does not criticize the modern world, in whose possibilities he profoundly ‘believes’: he criticizes the coexistence in the world of a modern brain and a tired, worn-out, neurotic body.

This is from Cinema 2: The Time-Image by Gilles Deleuze (1989). Continuing from the above:

… So that his work, in a fundamental sense passes through a dualism which corresponds to the two aspects of the time-image: a cinema of the body, which puts all the weight of the past into the body, all the tiredness of the world and modern neurosis; but also a cinema of the brain, which reveals the creativity of the world, its colours aroused by a new space-time, its powers multiplied by artificial brains. If Antonioni is a great colourist, it is because he has always believed in the colours of the world, in the possibility of creating them, and of renewing all our cerebral knowledge. He is not an author who moans about the impossibility of communicating in the world. It is just that the world is painted in splendid colours, while the bodies which people it are still insipid and colourless. The world awaits its inhabitants, who are still lost in neurosis. But this is one more reason to pay attention to the body, to scrutinize its tiredness and neurosis, to take tints from it.

Antonioni’s formula is valid for him only, it is he who invents it. Bodies are not destined for wearing out, any more than the brain is destined for novelty. But what is important is the possibility of a cinema of the brain which brings together all the powers, as much as the cinema of the body equally brought them together as well: there are, then two different styles, where the difference itself is constantly varying, cinema of the body in Godard and cinema of the brain in Resnais, cinema of the body in Cassevetes and cinema of the brain in Kubrick. There is as much thought in the body as there is shock and violence in the brain. There is an equal amount of feeling in both of them.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

September 25, 2010

Will-Less-Ness

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 8:28 am

… the broad notion of a will-centered self was, during the nineteenth century, given a specific axis: a scientific self grounded in a will to willessness at one pole, and an artistic self that circulated around a will to willfullness at the other.

… In order for nature to be knowable, it must first be refined, partially converted into (but not contaminated by) knowledge.

This is the third of today’s three posts from the book Objectivity by Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison (2007):

… Scientific objectivity has a history. Objectivity has not always defined science. Nor is objectivity the same as truth or certainty, and it is younger than both. Objectivity preserves the artifact or variation that would have been erased in the name of truth; it scruples to filter out the noise that undermines certainty. To be objective is to aspire to knowledge that bears no trace of the knower — knowledge unmarked by prejudice or skill, fantasy or judgment, wishing or striving. Objectivity is blind sight, seeing without inference, interpretation, or intelligence.

… What is the nature of objectivity? First and foremost, objectivity is the suppression of some aspect of the self, the countering of subjectivity. Objectivity and subjectivity define each other, like left and right or up and down. One cannot be understood, even conceived, without the other. If objectivity was summoned into existence to negate subjectivity, then the emergence of objectivity must tally with the emergence of a certain kind of willful self, one perceived as endangering scientific knowledge. The history of objectivity becomes ipso facto, part of the history of the self.

… our view is not that there was, before the relevant scientific work, an already-established, free-floating scientific self that simply found application in the practices of image-making. Instead, the broader notion of (for example) a will-based scientific self was articulated — built up, reinforced — through concrete acts, repeated thousands of times in a myriad of fields in which observers struggled to act, record, draw, trace, and photograph their way to minimize the impact of their will. Put another way, the broad notion of a will-centered self was, during the nineteenth century, given a specific axis: a scientific self grounded in a will to willessness at one pole, and an artistic self that circulated around a will to willfullness at the other. Forms of scientific self and epistemic strategies enter together.

… if actions are substituted for concepts and practices for meanings, the focus on the nebulous notion of objectivity sharpens. Scientific objectivity resolves into the gestures, techniques, habits, and temperament ingrained by training and daily repetition. It is manifest in images, jottings in lab notebooks, logical notations: objectivity in shirtsleeves, not in a marble chiton. This is a view of objectivity as constituted from the bottom up, rather than from the top down. It is by performing certain actions over and over again — not only bodily manipulations but also spiritual exercise — that objectivity comes into being. To paraphrase Aristotle on ethics, one becomes objective by performing objective acts. Instead of a pre-existing ideal being applied to the workaday world, it is the other way around: the ideal and ethos are gradually built up and bodied out by thousands of concrete actions, as a mosaic takes shape from thousands of tiny fragments of colored glass. To study objectivity in shirtsleeves is to watch objectivity in the making.

… Look one last time at the three images with which we began [an engraving of a flower, a photograph of a snowflake and an image of the magnetic field of the sun]. Each is, in its way, a faithful representation of nature. But they are not facsimiles of nature, not even the photograph; they are nature perfected, excerpted, smoothed — in short, nature known. These images substitute for things, but they are already admixed with knowledge about those things. In order for nature to be knowable, it must first be refined, partially converted into (but not contaminated by) knowledge. These images represent knowledge about nature, as well as nature itself — indeed, they represent distinct visions of what knowledge is and how it is attained: truth-to-nature, objectivity, trained judgment. Finally, they represent the knower. Behind the flower, the snowflake, the solar magnetogram stand not only the scientist who sees and the artist who depicts, but also a certain collective way of knowing. This knowing self is a precondition for knowledge, not an obstacle to it. Nature, knowledge, and knower intersect in these images, the visible traces of the world made intelligible.

To be continued …

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

Atlas

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 8:26 am

This is the second of today’s three posts from the book Objectivity by Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison (2007). In tracking the nature and history of objectivity through this text, the authors use scientific atlases as their evidence. This post explains why:

… Atlases are systematic compilations of working objects. They are the dictionaries of the sciences of the eye. For initiates and neophytes alike, the atlas trains the eye to pick out certain kinds of objects s exemplary (for example, this “typical” healthy liver rather than that one with cirrhosis) and to regard them in a certain way (for example, using the Flamsteed rather than the Ptolemaic celestial projection). To acquire this expert eye is to win one’s spurs in most empirical sciences. The atlases drill the eye of the beginner and refresh the eye of the old hand.

… To call atlas images “illustrations” at all is to belie their primacy, for it suggests that their function is merely ancillary, to illustrate a text or theory. Some early astronomical atlases do use the figures as genuine illustrations, to explicate rival cosmologies. But in most atlases from the eighteenth century on, pictures are the alpha and the omega of the genre.

… They teach how to see the essential and overlook the incidental, which objects are typical and which are anomalous, what the range and limits of variability in nature are. Without them, every student of nature would have to start from scratch to learn to see, select, and sort. … they made collective empiricism in the sciences possible, beyond the confines of a local school.

… The atlas is a profoundly social undertaking, but because the term “social” carries so many and such varied connotations, it would be more precise to say that the atlas is always — and fundamentally — an exemplary form of collective empiricism: the collaboration of investigators distributed over time and space in the study of natural phenomena too vast and various to be encompassed by a solitary thinker, no matter how brilliant, erudite, and diligent.

… Dog-eared and spine-cracked with constant use, atlases enroll practitioners as well as phenomena. They simultaneously assume the existence of and call into being communities of observers who see the same things in the same ways. Without an atlas to unite them, atlas makers have long claimed, all observers are isolated observers.

… when epistemic anxiety [breaks] out, scientific atlases by their very nature register it early and emphatically. We, therefore use atlases as a touchstone to reveal the changing norms that govern the right way to see and depict the working objects of science.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

An Ideal Splash

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 8:24 am

Today’s excerpts, in three posts, are from the book Objectivity by Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison (2007):

He lit his laboratory with a powerful millisecond flash — poring over every stage of the impact of a liquid drop, using the latent image pressed into his retina to create a freeze-frame “historical” sequence of images a few thousandths of a second apart. But by bit, beginning in 1875, the British physicist Arthur Worthington succeeded in juxtaposing key moments, untangling the complex process of fluid flow into a systematic, visual classification. … Worthington’s compendium of droplet images launched a branch of fluid dynamics that continued more than a century later. For Worthington himself, the subject had always been, as he endlessly repeated, a physical system marked by the beauty of its perfect symmetry.

… [later, however] Worthington wrote, “I have to confess that in looking over my original drawings I find records of many irregular or unsymmetrical figures, yet in compiling the history it has been inevitable that these should be rejected, if only because identical irregularities never recur. thus the mind of the observer is filled with an ideal splash — an Auto-Splach — whose perfection may never be actually realized.”

… he belatedly came to see his fallible, painstaking efforts of twenty years to impose regularity as counting for less than “a mechanical record,” a kind of blind sight that would not shun asymmetry or imperfection. Now, unlike before, he regretted the all-too-human decisions required to retrieve the phenomenon masked by variations. And only now did that judgment strike him as treacherous.

For two decades, Worthington had seen the symmetrical, perfected forms of nature as an essential feature of his morphology of drops. All these asymmetrical images had stayed in the laboratory — not one appeared in his many scientific publications. In this choice he was anything but alone — over the long course of making systematic study of myriad scientific domains, the choice of the perfect over the imperfect had become profoundly entrenched. … But after his 1894 shock, Worthington instead began to ask himself — and again he was not alone — how he and others for so long could have only had eyes for a perfection that wasn’t there.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

September 24, 2010

Occluded History

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 7:09 am

… many things are made about which nothing is said (mute things). We could allow them to remain “mute,” but instead I take their materiality as a challenge, providing us with a renewed opportunity to speak an occluded history.

… If it is said, then is that what is historically available to be seen? If it is not said, then is it not seen at all?

This is from an essay “Talking Pictures: Clement Greenberg’s Pollock” by Caroline A. Jones in the book Things That Talk: Object Lessons from Art and Science edited by Lorraine Daston (2004):

Objects of visual art are peculiar kinds of things that need other kinds of things to function. We might even say that together the artwork and its interpreter form one talking thing — in this case, an asymmetrical chunky thing comprising text by the art critic Clement Greenberg and painting by Jackson Pollock. A book and its reader resemble this kind of thing, as does an image in the mind’s eye.

Instrumentally, then, I am interested in the person “Jackson Pollock” only insofar as the complex paintings produced by this artist worked on the critic Clement Greenberg, and I am here concerned with Greenberg only as he gave voice to the paintings of Pollock.

… What I want here is less a trajectory than a mesh: Greenberg entered an existing visibility, apprenticed himself to its effects in myriad ways, encountered Pollock’s paintings, and made them modern for himself and others by weaving them into what he took to be the texture of modernity, a process necessarily inflected by the materiality of Pollock’s paintings — and the looping hermeneutic could spiral on. But there was more than art talk and pictures structuring this web. The matrix ordering the visibility Greenberg entered, I will argue, formed patterns at both larger and more microscopic scales than the Pollock paintings he wrote about. At the periphery of the critic’s vision were canvases seen but not written down, political situations, economic relations, national cultures, previous compositions and various colors (occasionally creatively misperceived), and, especially, life amid the urban grids of Manhattan. At an even more dispersed scale was a broad visual culture of filmed images that aimed to break the fluid rhythms of the laboring body into perceptual units, and to inscribe and register them against similar modernist grids. Industrial traditions of time-motion studies, and their accompanying technologies of visualization (the graph, the gridded photograph, the film, the time exposure), flooded the popular press in the mid-1940s and early 1950s and organized certain readings of Pollock’s paintings. What I will emphasize here is the modernity of these visual regimes, the mesh of the visibility becoming a fabric of discursive reinforcements for what it meant to be modern.

… Based on a prior visual experience that the critic never articulated in print, Greenberg’s accounts of Pollock’s 1945 paintings offered visualizations of modern labor and subjectivity that only later (and by separate routes) emerged to dominate Pollock’s career. Greenberg saw more than he said about Pollock’s paintings, but this writing nonetheless worked to produce a visibility that came to structure all later perceptions (and productions) of Pollock’s best-known work.

To summarize my goal: if words can be written before the things they describe come into view (talking a thing into existence), it is equally the case that many things are made about which nothing is said (mute things). We could allow them to remain “mute,” but instead I take their materiality as a challenge, providing us with a renewed opportunity to speak an occluded history. The questions they provoke lie at the heart of my project and, it would seem, of art-historical practice as a whole: If it is said, then is that what is historically available to be seen? If it is not said, then is it not seen at all?

Skipping all of the details of Jones’s particular case (Greenberg/Pollock), I now jump to the end of her essay:

… The art historian stalks this thing-in-a-visibility at some disadvantage, bound by archives, texts, and their “illustrations” and mortgaged to the academic genre of the book or the pedagogical imperative of the slide or raster image. We like to imagine that our critics escape those mediating conditions. And indeed, the critic Greenberg, in his fresh encounter with some unexpected objects, became a different thing. Certainly, institutionally, he functioned as an ekphrastic machine for “manipulating attention.” But he could successfully make his modernism only if that manipulation could be felt to echo the murmuring chatter of others. His reading of an ordered Pollock was magnified and enlarged by the mirrors of an “anonymous” visual culture of segmented, graphically inscribed labor. My reading, in turn, offers a theory of visual culture that critiques the economy of the printed page by delineating the micro-physics of its power. The art comes first in this argument, but the critic is instrumental to its insertion in the visibility.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

September 23, 2010

Enthralled

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 7:45 am

… participants will ordinarily not only obtain a sense of what is going on but will also (in some degree) become spontaneously engrossed, caught up, enthralled.

… Involvement is a psychobiological process in which the subject becomes at least partly unaware of the direction of his feelings and his cognitive attention. That is what engrossment means. It follows that if a particular focus of attention is to be maintained, it cannot be maintained intendedly (at least wholly so), since such an intention would introduce a different focus of attention, that of maintaining a particular one.

This is further from Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience by Erving Goffman (1974). Today’s bits are so widely separated in the my copy of the text, that (unusually) I will give page numbers following each quote to remind you of that distance:

… frameworks are not merely a matter of mind but correspond in some sense to the way in which an aspect of the activity itself is organized — especially activity directly involving social agents. Organizational premises are involved, and these are something cognition somehow arrives at, not something cognition creates or generates. Given their understanding of what it is that is going on, individuals fit their actions to this understanding and ordinarily find that the ongoing world supports this fitting. These organizational premises — sustained both in the mind and in activity — I call the frame of activity. [p 247]

… In formulating a separation of some kind between person and role, one should in no way precommit oneself to notions about the “essential” nature of each. There is a tendency to assume that although role is a “purely” social matter, the engine that projects it — the person or individual — is somehow more than social, more real, more biological, deeper, more genuine. This lamentable bias should not be allowed to spoil our thinking. The player and the capacity to which he plays should be seen initially as equally problematic and equally open to a possible social accounting. [p. 270]

… if we can perceive a fact by virtue of a framework within which it is formulated, if “To experience an object amounts to being confronted with a certain order of existence,” then the misperception of a fact can involve the importation of a perspective that is itself radically inapplicable, which will itself establish a set, a whole grammar of expectations, that will not work. The actor will then find himself using not the wrong word but the wrong language. [p. 308; the italicized quote within that block is from Aron Gurwitsch, The Field of Consciousness (1964)]

… it has been argued that the individual’s framing of activity establishes its meaningfulness for him.

Frame, however, organizes more than meaning; it also organizes involvement. During any spate of activity, participants will ordinarily not only obtain a sense of what is going on but will also (in some degree) become spontaneously engrossed, caught up, enthralled.

All frames involve expectations of a normative kind as to how deeply and fully the individual is to be carried into the activity organized by the frames. Of course, frames differ quite widely in the involvement prescribed for participants sustaining them. … In all cases … understood limits will be established, a definition concerning what is insufficient involvement and what is too much. The various sets of materials with which the individual works and plays will differ according to how effective they are in grasping and holding his attention; some like board and card games, seem to be specifically designed to provide “engrossables,” establishing a standard in this regard against which other sets of materials can be judged — including the sets that the world of everyday provides us.

Involvement is a psychobiological process in which the subject becomes at least partly unaware of the direction of his feelings and his cognitive attention. That is what engrossment means. It follows that if a particular focus of attention is to be maintained, it cannot be maintained intendedly (at least wholly so), since such an intention would introduce a different focus of attention, that of maintaining a particular one. Our conduct, when analyzed, must prove to support the official focus of attention, but not because we are attempting to do so. Here, then, it is proper involvement that generates proper conduct. And broadly correct identification of an activity in which we participate is often not enough. for example, as a European, an individual can know correctly that the performance in progress is Indian music — he can even know that a sarod and tabla are being played — and yet be, and give evidence of being, uncomfortably out of the world that listening ought to have established for him. He cannot follow along, he cannot get into the music; and so the unpleasant constraint of sitting out an experience while sitting in it. [p. 345-46]

… It should be stressed that the matter of being carried away into something — in a word, engrossment — does not provide us with a means of distinguishing strips of untransformed activity from transformed ones: a reader’s involvement in an episode in a novel is in the relevant sense the same as his involvement in a strip of “actual” experience. When [William] James and [Alfred] Shutz spoke of something being “real after its fashion” and of “multiple realities,” it was potential for inducing engrossment that they really had in mind. [p. 347]

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

September 22, 2010

Differential Entrenchment

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 7:57 am

… Changes accumulate elsewhere while these deeper features appear relatively “frozen” over evolutionary time.

This is from an essay “Generative Entrenchment and the Developmental Systems Approach to Evolutionary Processes” by William C. Wimsatt (2001):

… Any evolving systems must meet what Lewontin has called “Darwin’s principles.” They must:

1. have descendents that differ in their properties (variation).
2. some of which are heritable (heritable variation), and
3. have varying causal tendencies to have descendants (heritable variation in fitness).

… But there are two further conditions of great generality. These conditions recognize development’s central role in the evolutionary process. I know of no interesting evolutionary process whatsoever (physical or conceptual) that does not meet them. With these DST becomes not just an additional perspective on evolution, but fundamental to it. The same entities which meet the first three conditions must also be:

4. structures which are generated over time so they have a developmental history (generativity), and
5. some elements that have larger or more pervasive effects than others in that production (differential entrenchment).

Then different elements in the structures characteristically have downstream effects of different magnitudes. The generative entrenchment (GE) of an element is the magnitude of those effects in that generation or life cycle. Elements with larger degrees of GE are generators. This is a degree property. The GE of an element in an evolutionary unit has multiple deep consequences for its evolutionary fate and character, and that of systems impinging on it.

… system elements with greater GE tend to be much more evolutionarily conservative. Changes accumulate elsewhere while these deeper features appear relatively “frozen” over evolutionary time.

… History matters in evolution. It is not too far wrong to say that everything interesting about adaptation is a product of selection for improvements in design, or of history, or their interaction. Gould has emphasized the role of contingency in evolutionary processes, arguing that minor unrelated “accidents” or “incidents” can massively change evolutionary history. It seems plausible — indeed (as I will argue) almost inescapable — that a successive layered patchwork of contingencies has affected not only the detailed organic designs we see, and variations among conspecific organisms, but also much deeper things — the very configuration and definition of the possible design space, and the regions in it they occupy. Deep accidents from the distant past not only define the constraints of current (so-called) optimizations, but constraints on these constraints, and so on, moving backward through a history of the deposition of exaptive dependencies which become framing principles for the design of successively acquired and modified adaptations.

… Because of the dominant role of population genetics in evolutionary biology, stochastic genetic events and processes — point mutations, tandem duplications, inversions, segregation events, independent assortments, and other recombinations in inheritance — are the commonly cited sources of contingency in evolution. Equally important are chance ecological events: meetings leading to matings, migrations, symbioses, exclusions, parasitisms, and predations. As George Williams quipped, “To a plankton, a great blue whale is an act of God.” Better design as a plankton will not help if it is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

… The more deeply generatively entrenched something becomes, the more context-independent and the larger is the fitness loss if it is disturbed. Deeply generatively entrenched things become really established — the deepest become functional necessities.

… most evolutionary “contingencies” start small — the luck of the draw for George Williams’s plankton or single-base mutations initiating selective cascades of layered exaptations with divergent consequences. Oxygen production — metabolic byproduct in ancient plants — presumably started small, but hardly any contingency has had broader or greater consequences for evolution, by spreading as these plants succeeded, and becoming a much larger process. As this atmospheric poison rose in concentration, oxygen was initially adapted to, then became utilized almost universally throughout the animal kingdom, driving an energetically richer metabolism which now depends on it.

… taking developmental systems seriously simultaneously explains two of the most striking features of organic life:

First, generative entrenchment explains the frequent deep similarities in organic architecture of varying degrees of generality roughly mapping phylogeny onto causal depth in developmental process in the life cycle of organisms.

… Second, GE explains why some features that seem bizarre, inefficient, or only arbitrary should show so much persistence, so much evolutionary inertia after chance or selection have kept them for a time, and other things have come to depend upon them. It does not explain why they occur in the first place. These marks of contingency are more quickly lost — never visible (as in the quantum transitions through which an ionization might lead to a base substitution), or local and fleeting (the predator from which it zigged instead of zagged and got away), or not so local and not so fleeting but still not saved (changing selective optima).

… People have pointed to the importance of contingency in evolution, argued for it, presupposed it, but not tried to explain it — not as a property of individual cases (left- versus right-coiling shells) or periods (the great loss of Cambrian Bauplans) — but as a generic property of systems that can fix and build up richly textured tapestries of accidents. GE does so. … Unlike the leveling and homogenizing processes attributed to the second law of thermodynamics, evolution seems to leave an ever more complex and filigreed history over time. Generative entrenchment is the primary explanation for this difference. Note that in this sense, evolution can be cumulative without being progressive.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

September 21, 2010

Genesis

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 7:39 am

… characters  ‘are constituted gesture by gesture and word by word, as the film proceeds … ‘

… the object of cinema is not to reconstitute a presence of bodies, in perception and action, but to carry out a primordial genesis of bodies in terms of a white, or a black or a grey …

This is from Cinema 2: The Time-Image by Gilles Deleuze (1989):

… The body is never in the present, it contains the before and the after, tiredness and waiting.

… When Cassevetes says that characters must not come from a story or plot, but that the story should be secreted by the characters, he sums up the requirement of the cinema of bodies: the character is reduced to his own bodily attitudes, and what ought to result is the gest, that is, a ‘spectacle,’ a theatricalization or dramatization which is valid for all plots. Faces is constructed on the attitudes of the bodies presented as faces going as far as the grimace, expressing waiting, fatigue, vertigo and depression.

Comolli speaks of a cinema of revelation, where the only constraint is that of bodies, and the only logic that of linkages of attitudes: characters ‘are constituted gesture by gesture and word by word, as the film proceeds; they construct themselves, the shooting acting on them like a revelation, each advancement of the film allowing them a new development in their behavior, their own duration very precisely coinciding with that of the film.’

… the object of cinema is not to reconstitute a presence of bodies, in perception and action, but to carry out a primordial genesis of bodies in terms of a white, or a black or a grey (or even in terms of colours), in terms of a ‘beginning of visible which is not yet a figure, which is not yet an action.’
[embedded quote is from Jean-Louis Schefer in L’homme ordinaire du cinema]

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

Choice

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 7:35 am

… Choice no longer concerns a particular term, but the mode of existence of the one who chooses.

This is from Cinema 2: The Time-Image by Gilles Deleuze (1989):

… When Kurosawa takes up Dostoevsky’s method, he shows us characters constantly seeking the givens of a ‘problem’ which is even deeper than the situation in which they find themselves caught: in this way he goes beyond the limits of knowledge, but also the conditions of action.

… It is characteristic of the problem that it is inseparable from a choice. … when the problem concerns existential determinations and not mathematical matters, we see clearly that choice is increasingly identified with living thought, and with an unfathomable decision. Choice no longer concerns a particular term, but the mode of existence of the one who chooses. This was already the sense of Pascal’s wager: the problem was not that of choosing between the existence or non-existence of God, but between the mode of existence of the one who believes in God, and the mode of existence of the one who does not.

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

September 20, 2010

Losing My Earned Righteous Skin

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 9:02 am

There is a truly outstanding post, titled Compassion, in  Ta-Nehisi Coates’s blog (Sept 17, 2010). Here is just a snip:

… For me to seriously consider the words of the slave-holder, which is to say the mind of the slave-holder, for me to see them as human beings, as full and as complicated as anyone else I know, a strange transcendence is requested. I am losing my earned, righteous skin. I know that beef is our birthright, that all our grievance is just. But for want of seeing more, I am compelled to let it go.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read it all. Please read the excellent post comments as well!  [ link ]

-Julie

http://www.unrealnature.com/

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