Unreal Nature

October 13, 2019


Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:59 am

… you all become children.

Continuing through The Incandescent by Michel Serres, translated by Randolph Burks (2003; 2018):

… Let’s first look at our hands, our skin and those of our neighbors, whose texture dates back incredible epochs; we have murmured music, no doubt, for hundreds of thousands of years; let’s next contemplate hens, sparrows, oaks and reeds, companions that are sometimes even older than us by millions of years; let’s lastly consider the mountains, wind, sea and stars, by means of new clocks, to be a billion-year-old environment.

… From now on let’s all become immense old men according to the writing given, imprinted and decipherable in the secrecy of our bodies and before whose beauty unimaginable ancestors have buried their dead, have drawn, painted, sung and trembled with emotion for hundreds of thousands of years. Humanity as such, in its entirety, you, me, those near and those far, surpasses the patriarchs. Humanity attains the age of wisdom. Not in rare individuals venerated for this, but in community, as a species, within the secrecy of each and everyone’s bodies. You old philosophers, bearded prophets, Greek sages, Hindu ascetics, Tibetan monks, Brahminical gurus, sachems of the prairies, Christian priests, you all become children.

… a change of scale often results in subtle transformations in the very nature of things when they are put at various levels. Constructing a reduced model only requires paper or cardboard; building full-size needs steel. So going from local and singular cultures fragmented across the continents to the progressive scattering of a small human group into global space transforms our vision of the world and of duration. The mosaic of space gives way to a temporal crossfade.

My most recent previous post from Serres’s book is here.




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