Thursday, 4 January 2018

Minute nods

Life in the city is made possible by a fragile web of mutual trust, though a filigree of unspoken pleasantries, and an intricate meshwork of altruistic gestures. A permanent exchange of mute interrogations and minute nods between strangers forms a complex language that ensures the common conditions for survival.

Of course we can see bodies looking past other bodies, trying to walk though, overtake, get there before them, without knowing very well where exactly is there, or whether there is in fact a desired place, or if what there is to do there is actually what needs doing.

But that is always what is emphasised when talking about the city, isn't it, the rat race. It's a gross version of urban metabolism in which life and its processes are reduced to competition between contained unities, as if one had just arrived from a rushed reading of the theory of evolution and had forgotten how life is sustained by a convuluted tangle of symbiotic connections with other animals, plants, and atmospheres.

Life in the city is still life. The most autonomous professional and the most independent director are still dependent on and/or supporting urban bacteria, insects, rodents, birds, lichens, oxygen, CO2, H2O, and the unaccounted dark matter that makes everything possible.

Most of what really counts can not be seen or perceived immediately by individual bodies with their 5, 6 or who-knows-how-many-more senses. Like life, knowledge is not the produce of one mind, not even of one whole body. Light can only befall dark matter, when symbiotic minds understand that no body thinks as one.

The History of Words

Before words, each person's thoughts could develop freely without the intervention of strangers’. If someone liked an other, a warm gest...