Wednesday, December 6

"To tell the truth, we should not exist. We, not any collective plural, just you and me. Let us use our imaginations to visualize for a moment the circumstances and conditions of the life of our parents, then our grandparents, then great-grandparents, thus further and further back. Back to those who are stalking through the undergrowth of a murky primeval forest with chipped stones for their only weapons, in order to split the skulls of their enemies. It would seem as if we had only parents and that's all, but those other pre-pre-predecessors exist, and with them their afflictions, manias, mental illnesses, syphilis, tuberculosis, and whatnot, and how do you know they do not continue on in you? And what was the probability that among the children of your great-great-grandparents the one survived who would beget your ancestor? And what was the probability that this would repeat itself in the next generation?

Altogether, a very slim chance that we would be born in these skins, as these, not other, individuals. The very fact that our species survived and even multiplied beyond measure is astonishing, for it had much against it, and the primeval forest full of animals stronger than humans may serve till now as a metaphor for man's precarious situation - let us add viruses, bacteria, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, but also his own works, atomic weapons and the pollution of nature. Our species should have disappeared a long time ago, and it is still alive, incredibly resistant. That you and I happen to be part of it should be enough to give us pause for meditation."
 - Czesław Miłosz
Road-side Dog

  • ". . . as I have said often enough, I write for myself in multiplicate,
    a not unfamiliar phenomenon on the horizon of shimmering deserts."
    - Vladimir Nabokov