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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I Wanna Rock With You

Unrelatedly (but not), from the complete other side of world,
"meerkatze" from the Messak plateau, Libya

From the short story Unnamed Caves by John Jeremiah Sullivan on revelatory, South USA cave-dwelling exploits:

"Only as the decades and centuries flip-book by do the lines untangle themselves, and you start to see human shapes, quadrupeds. Still we are far from any meaning. In fact, that's what has taken place, The eye lets go of the desire for meaning; the pictures emerge. Simek was showing me Mallery's pages by way of saying, It's dangerous to read something when you can't really read it. And we can't.

Try to see it. That's hard enough."

This story made me want to pull out old Anthro class petroglyph articles and brush up on my carbon-14 and radiometric dating techniques! I found this passage relevant on many levels. I mean, it's significant in a literal sense because it was pitch black in these caves and they couldn't see the cave art too easily, but this applies to our literary lives, also in a more macroscopic way- as a guide to the day-to-day. On my walk to work today I had a minor aha moment, thinking I could make so much more general progress in my life if I made a stronger effort to follow simple truths. This is something I often think about, but often forget as well. This was, in fact, the reason why I even studied Anthropology to begin with... When I couldn't decide on what to major in, and felt the pressure of the mental clock a'tickin', I chose something pretty basic to hold me over- to learn more about myself and others. I believe the "line" I used in my university admission personal statement was that I'd like to spend the next couple years examining "what it means to be human" (I am lightly giggling here, you guys).

Most topics pertaining to humans' relatively short time on the planet result in understanding very simple truths as well. Our responsibilities for the future are also pretty simple, yet we make them so complex because it's *waves hands in the air and makes a funny face* the future, and unknown, and scary, and so on (I realize how annoying that sidebar action was, but I just spoke to someone this morning who adamantly denies global warming, what the purpose behind her steadfastness is- beats me). Even evolutionary theory was born from this kind of thought, a little. While many 17th-18th century scientists scrambled to solve biological dilemmas on human change and diversity, the combo of time and environmental pressures managed to explain it quite neatly. Much the same way, I once freaked out for days trying to grasp Lavoisier's essays on chemical composition before calmly being able to relate everything back to our reductive best friend, the beloved notion of balance. Overly simplistic? Perhaps, but I also think there's a danger in regarding reductive things as "crude" and platitudes as "boring". I think that as soon as you do so often, you begin to force meaning and also explanations, you're asking for too much (and maybe also a Xanax prescription).

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. -Albert Einstein

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I'm an LA transplant now living in Brooklyn. I develop film projects by day, write at night, and have a dangerous predilection for vintage Robinson Golluber scarves- this blog serves as a tiny window to everything else I do when I'm not satisfying those first three passions. I'm trying to blog more and tweet less @annabelleqv. What about you?


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