June 14, 2008

Trivial, unconscious

The cafe scene from If... [some nudity]

...evolution consists of an infinitude of trivial, unconscious events...
Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire, p xv
A box from Amazon the other day to ease the apprehension about the next eight weeks full of classes and proofreading ahead of my 'last day', August 8th. Among the things inside were the Criterion disks for If... and The Botany of Desire, subtitled a plant's eye view of the world. The line above jumped out at the start. Pollan's writing about his attraction to one kind of potato, and making the link to bees and flowers, but I thought straight away about the trivial, unconscious reasons to be attracted to someone, and about the trivial ways of getting pregnant and entering the future flow of evolution. One (un)lucky orgasm and that's a whole new roll of the genetic die cast.

I think I'm lucky that I've never become a father, and that Yuki also doesn't want kids. I think I'd be a terrible father, and I'd resent the time and energy a child would take from me. My students disagree, adding that a mixed-race baby would be very cute, but I don't want to take the risk of my deepest feelings on the topic being proved right.

I think everything I do is built on trivial, unconscious foundations, rationalized after the event with the aid of confirmation bias. At the same time I fall for the idea that nothing else could ever have happened, that....well, from Burnt Norton, Eliot's recording of which [here] has been sitting on my MP3 player and getting a regular work out:
Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.

Which for me means there were never any choices, because only one path was taken, and the future is already written. Why not? I don't know what happens next, nothing actually changes.
Related: All posts labeled 'plants'

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