Commonplace Book

From an essay by Jonathan Rosen (author of the highly recommended The Life of the Skies), in an essay in Richard Barnes’ Animal Logic, which I recently posted on:

“All this talk of artificiality mingled with reality might seem like mere aesthetic maundering except for the fact that artificiality isn’t something imposed on human existence, it is something bound up with it…In other words, the artificial is natural when it comes too human beings. King Lear may shout ‘off, you lendings’, in an effort to strip down to the bare essentials, but human beings are in certain ways never naked.”


  1. Great quote; I must check this essay out. I love it when thinkers explode the "natural-artificial" duality. This quote reminds me of one by anthropologist Clifford Geertz: "Like the cabbage it so much resembles, the Homo sapiens brain, having arisen within the framework of human culture, would not be viable outside of it."

  2. I agree and have a lot to say about it (;-)– thinkers (poet- philosopher Fred Turner, quoted in a recent post, Tom Palmer who wrote the book Landscape with Reptile about Boston's rattlers) have gotten in trouble for saying our "extended phenotype" is a necessary part of us. I firmly believe that towns, tools, and art are NATURAL.

    The book with the essay is in the post below on Flock Flight– good but rather expensive. You can borrow it from me.

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