Wednesday, 31 March 2010

713 - Nature/ Nurture

I think these three quotes all say the same thing. Do you?

Now here's the pivotal point: the neurology and functioning of the brain create a mercurial type of human consciousness that is universal. And the ways in which that consciousness can be accommodated in daily life by human beings are not infinite, as world ethnography, spanning a multitude of cultures, indeed shows.
David Lewis-Williams and David Pearce (2005), Inside the Neolithic Mind, p.9

[Our perception of aliens] is to do with the ambivalent nature of consciousness and our uneasy sense of being both within the world and outside it. This is, in part, a commentary on modernity, but also it is about an eternal aspect of the human predicament that has been massively amplified but not created by modernity.... For now, I need simply say that I start from the undoubted reality of aliens. they may or may not exist but they are all around us and they are trying to tell us something, possibly about themselves, but certainly about us. In order to understand what they are saying it is necessary to abandon the usual barriers between fiction and reality. There are many important connections between the aliens in Star Trek, H. G. Wells' Martians, the abductors of Betty and Barney Hill, the cattle mutilators in Montana and the committee of beings known as the Nine who speak through the Florida medium Phyllis V. Schlemmer. These connections form an enormous mirror of ourselves and of our age, through which, like Alice, we can pass and find ourselves in a different world.
Bryan Appleyard (2005), Aliens: Why They Are Here, p.9

What is The Filth?
The Filth contains the active ingredient metaphor.
Metaphor is one of a group of problem-solving medicines known as figures of speech which are normally used to treat literal thinking and other diseases. Metaphor combines two or more seemingly unrelated concepts in a way that stimulates lateral thought processes and creativity...
What is The Filth used for?
This comic book is used to treat all manner of disorders including Internet pornography addiction, insomnia, grief, "mid-life" crisis, schizophrenia, the ignorance of samsara and the 21st century blues, especially in patients whose millennial anxiety and general paranoia has not yet responded to normal treatments.
When must The Filth not be used?
If your doctor has advised you to avoid the use of metaphor.
If you refuse to acknowledge the mocking laughter of the Abyss.
If you cannot face the fact that your entire immediate environment is a seething battlefield of microscopic predators, prey and excreta and, simultaneously, a rich and complex metaphor.
Grant Morrison (2004), The Filth, opening pages.

I think each of these is saying that culture is by definition fiction, because we make it up. And nature is by definition reality. And to be human, we have to hold the two in tandem. We can't avoid it. It's what we do.

I think what we do, what all of us do with this tension, is make church.

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