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  • ~rooks /|\

SAVORING :: COMPLEXITY

"Knowledge is not the gradual approach to truth.  The task of the scientist is "to make the weaker case the stronger" as the sophists said.  We need a set of alternative assumptions or, as it were, an entire alternative world, we need a dream world in order to discover the real world we think we inhabit (and which may actually just be another dream world).  We must invent a new conceptual system that suspends, or clashes with, the most carefully established observational results...and introduces perceptions that cannot form part of the existing perceptual world."


:: Paul Fayerabend :: Against Method

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SAVORING :: COMPLEXITY

For most of my life, two of my strongest aesthetic influence have been flowers and insects. I spent many summers in intimate contact with both entities while working on the family farm developing a slow appreciation for the intricacy and variety present in these things. I use the word things, for the shear amount of diversity in form, color, texture, function, and individual expression creates a category too broad for any other name. Save perhaps, a grouping under the term complexity.

As is the way of children, these beautiful things were often disintegrated by my curiosity.

Peeling densely packed petals from clover buds, wondering at the function these myriad tubes filled with sweet subtle nectar provide, an invitation to feast, a chance to propagate. Inevitably I would bring the flower to my lips and extract the gentle sugars. My mouth filling with the taste of wind and sun, and an earthy mineral-vegetable essence extracted from deep in the earth and siphoned through the cells of the plant into a small drop of complexity. Every facet an environment condensed into a single moment, exploding my senses. Seconds or perhaps eons pass unnoticed before the sensations fade back into memory, never quite the same again, and always new.

Time on the farm was often a simple necessity of childcare and work cohabiting the same space time. While my father toiled with the earth to extract some small bounty of life giving vegetation, I would wander through the rows of cultivation, tilled soil, wild weeds exploring the condition of childish boredom. On one clear occasion I captured a large shimmering chromatic grasshopper (I was helping with integrated pest management). I brought it close, this alien mechanical insectoid being, so close, to my face for inspection. I noticed the spectrum of greens, yellows, subtle browns, and purples that flowed within the surface, condensing through the layers of chitinous exoskeleton. A living metal housing such immense mechanical strength.

My new friend of course did not desire my grubby hands nor inquisitive gaze upon it. But its struggle drew me in closer, thousands of tiny hairs, spines, fingers neatly organized along each of the powerful hind legs. They don't hurt, but they prick with a tickle of complex sensation as they align to the nerves of my fingers. While my initial intent in capturing this insect was to help reduce the feeding on our crops, I felt now so intimately connected to this being that I should probably offer it the comfort of food for all the trouble I had caused. Its swollen ganglia of a brain ran the correct subroutine and the mandibles devoured the lush foliage I provided. But the constraint of my hand and a constant firing of flight responses proved too much for my uncoordinated fingers. Somewhere in the struggle I applied just a smidge too much pressure and separated the aliens massive head from its body. How fragile such a powerful being could be. Not well schooled in the intricacies of insect trauma and emergency medicine I did what I could. since the head's antennae and mandibles continued to flicker and move, I continued to feed the head in hopes it would be able to regrow what I had severed (I was just about seven years old). for what seemed like several minutes under the hot summer sun I watched as this disembodied head feed on grass that quickly passed through the mouth and right out the back of the head segment. It was fascinating and frightening. It has been hard for me to exert my will over insects with death since, for they posses such life energy as to go on living even detached from their bodies.

In all things there is great complexity. Rich strata of information, patterns overlayed and entangled to form the matrix of mater and energy that binds this reality together. I am grateful for the years I spent in service to the family farm for the in intimate connection with so many things, living and still, sharing vibrant rhythms of being. There is a deeply complex music, ever present for savoring, just at he edge of our attention. Waiting for a breath of wind in the field gently brushes away the mind or a brilliant flower to draw us into the void.

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"The poet proceeds in full knowledge of the fact that 'this is not the way we do things around here'...to create is to break the silence of conformity. It is to make a noise. Poetry is war, not with one another, but with ourselves, and effort to expand the territory of the known; to make is to break the known so as to cross the border into the unknown. The desire to create is a desire to surpass, not as an utopian dream, but in order to make manifest a difference between how things are and the mere possibility that they can be otherwise."


:: Marcos Novak, 'The PanTopican and the Architecture of Noise' Center vol 9 / 1995 UT Austin

Photos taken on a trip in Greece during the summer of 2015

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