we lack, and what alone can help us to understand
new concepts and a revision
of the originally
metaphysical concepts and central categories
of philosophy we already possess.”
-A. Avanessian, Future
Metaphysics. Cambridge UK, 2020. p.25
it is not yet spring a warm wind whispers, be green
again. A few plants stand
and bow as if
sensing a god soon
to be born in their roots. Upstream the river is wider,
tamer. I wade into the shallows, where the water’s
voices are flopping in my throat
like beached fish frantic to keep breathing.
take a mountain’s solidity for granted but imagine
it blasting through
the planet’s mantle, “to make
a point about causation.”(1)
geologists are digging,
chipping, sorting through horizons of rock, the planet is vibrating on a frequency
between being Earth or nothing
As I pondered this
a mosquito buzzed in
Now you have
entered the Critical Zone…then
my fingers are splayed across her gray density Old Stony
Face and I don’t
to each other. What
do geologists hear while hammering through horizons
philosophers and scientists
the question is:
we tell our
An inclusive "our" is what's most important.
the distinguished biologist Lynn Margulis wrote: “The
history of human beings
a mere moment compared with what went before—the
first modern human remains,
those of Homo sapiens sapiens, appear
in the fossil record of only about 35,000 years
humanity's knowledge advancing so fast that
Or have the cladograms
been parsed too fine?
next step would be clambering up a path leading into a field
of old dualities:
yin/yang, sacred/profane, his/her, melting like ice
both affective and autopoietic,
the sky brightens, the air is slowly warming. I pull
my hood back and walk
deeper into the mountains. How can a mountain be scaled
when each stone
has its own place? If kicked to another place, does
relationship to the
Japan, Matsuo Basho told his students: “If
you want to write a poem about
bamboo, first you must become bamboo.” “We are
woven together, entwined
in each other’s fates.”(4) In
China, Wu Tao-tzu painted “a
clouds, birds, men, all things / as if in nature.”(5)
Paris, darkness began seeping into Alberto Giacometti’s
paintings, into his
subjects, and into himself, a darkness is into which
we are all disappearing.
initial causes that enlightened minds of the European
knowledge and belief continued to rub against each other,
flaring up and
burning through what for scientists is “developmentally
developmentally progressive towards what?”(6)
paleoarchaeologist would ask: “What do these paintings
on the walls
of caves mean?” Those artists would have had
a concept of meaning,
essentially different from what we think of as meaningful
and value coexist.
Paleolithic Art is akin to being "not a picture
but an event,"(7)
foreseeing when art would be “evolving so rapidly
in sync with the
surrounding world,”(8) that
its meaning has become kaleidoscopic.
dawn, not a coyote’s howl but human chatter breaks
through. A flashlight
bounces up the trail… a figure
appears. “Is this the summit?" Just for a moment
the physicist thought he could calculate
the reason the universe was rushing
away from him at the speed of light.
scars, debris flows, atmospheric rivers have joined a
growing lexicon of
natural-disaster terminology. But whose conversation is this?
my fingers like the strings of a guitar waiting for a new song
a 2019 meeting, the Anthropocene Working Group voted that “the
for the base of the Anthropocene be one of the stratigraphic
signals around the mid-
twentieth century of the Common Era.”(9)
was also when Allan Ginsberg “read
Howl and started an epoch.”(10)
be defined solely on
evidence. It must also consider cultural
the Upper Paleolithic hominid creativity responded
to changing conditions
of the planet, such as the Laschamp
magnetic event that reversed its
fields, causing another mass extinction of life. Will
artists underground again, and
out of reach of
the market’s magnetic attraction?
long time ago this rock's face was born hot and complete. Marked now
with graffiti, whose messages
seem pointless, I remember that the
at Delphi spoke
the Wall of Gods, its faces crumble like a mind gripped
own solitude. Thus, I and my ancestors
the same synaptic gaps
are like sinking into melting permafrost and sloshing
around on what
was once firm ecological ground. Thawing limestone coughs up
hydrates, awakening viruses from their cold
pandemical dreams. Everything
flows, and if you linger too long predictions turn into eddies, whirlpools,
currents, and an outdated undertow that draws
you back in.
the river, not falling but wading in, shoes dangling around
neck. What is
philosophy but thinking in
depth? Like societies, we drown only when the weight
of an obsolete
god is dragging us down.
The high steps of rocks are difficult on knees working
to raise me to where tall
plants are waving. Is it the wind? There is no wind. We make
an appearance in
this world. but
what does appearance mean?
fawn sees me, turns and bounds away. This
is the distance that self-consciousness
opened between us. In a world that
consists of feedback loops and recursive adaptive
climbing to where “the mountains flow faintly like
becomes a mind of its own.
in retrospect can we say, “These were the forces
at play.” Subject to context,
which is subject to time, rocks grow slowly, while
mountains suddenly spring up.
Was this universe conceived
from quanta streaming from a former universe?
Particles are eternal in their nonexistence.
Where cosmology morphs into a
story of creation, There’s nothing new
under the sun includes
could swear the rock had altered its angle and he
fell to where Gaia greeted him
as one of her own. Sprawled on drought-hardened ground, knees
bleeding, I stood
and continued to climb. “You ask me who I am. If you
wish to know, you must seek
me in the clouds.”(12)
D. Edmonds & Eidinow J., Wittgenstein’s
Poker. New York, 2001. p.18
2. L. Margulis, “Early Life: The Microbes Have Priority.” In,
W.I. Thompson, ed. Gaia: A Way of Knowing. Great Barrington,
MA, 1987. p.99. Scientists may argue as to exactly what constitutes
a species, or subspecies, and that Homo sapiens sapiens "are
us," as opposed to just Homo sapiens. However, we are
learning that a species is more inclusive than just us, and
Homo sapiens is becoming the more commonly accepted term.
3. T. Ingold, “Posthuman Prehistory.” Nature and
Culture. Vol.16, No.1, Spring 2021. p.86.
4. R. Braidotti, The Posthuman. Cambridge UK. p.158.
5. J. Weishaus. From, “Feeling for Stones.”
6. J. Bernstein, “The Borderland Patient: Reintroducing
Nature as the Missing Dimension in Clinical Treatment. What
I’ve Learned From Navajo Medicine Men.” In, P.
Bennett, ed., Montreal 2010 - Facing Multiplicity: Psyche,
Nature, Culture: Proceedings of the 18th Congress of the International
Association for Analytical Psychology. Einsiedeln, 2015.
7. “The Art Story” https://www.theartstory.org/movement/action-painting
8. T. Lykkeberg, “Extemporary Art.” Nordic Art
Review, June 6, 2020.
10. K. Rexroth, American Poetry in the Twentieth Century.
New York, 1973. p.141. The reading took place on October 13,
at San Francisco’s Six Gallery.The other poets who read
that night were Michael McClure, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen,
and Philip Lamantia.
11. K. Miyazawa. From, “Spring.” In, Spring & Asura:
Poems of Kenji Miyazawa. B. Watson, trans. Chicago, 1973.
12. Keesh-ke-mun. Crane Clan Hereditary Chief of the Lac du
Flambeau Chippewa. Quoted in, G. Vizenor, Interior Landscapes.
Minneapolis, 1990. p.5