Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Where I Stand

I absolutely refuse to consider myself disqualified for anything, because I supposedly favor one hemisphere of my brain or the other: because I keep a keen sense of wonder and beauty, or because I have some facility with mathematics. I will not leave any science or art alone. I intend to be a human being. The attorneys of modern society have been at my elbow often enough, urging me to sign away my rights of inheritance in one realm or another, in order to lay indisputable claim to the rest. I'm damned if I will. Everything that has ever kindled excitement in a human being is my birthright. Calculus is beautiful and so is Coleridge.

I will never know a thousandth of what I want to know, of what I need desperately to know, but at least I will never commit the egregious stupidity of concluding that, since I don't know these things, they aren't worth knowing. Everything we have found, discovered, and made, has been at huge human cost. I want to honor all of that. And I want to honor all the mute unrecorded labor that made it all that creation possible, and which still makes it possible. Human life strikes me, fundamentally, as heroic.

I understand feeling that humankind is blight on the Earth, a suffocating algae-bloom, a disaster. I feel that way too sometimes: and I soberly think that we're in for a horrific die-off in the next generation or two. But I don't stand with that feeling. My loyalty remains with humanity, with the life of the mind and the work of the hands.

No comments: