Entangled Life’s Bibliography
I’m certain that I am not the first person to point out the importance of referencing the places we obtain the unique pieces of information contained within the art we lay down on paper.
In fact, because it is art that we are creating when we write, we can often throw our brush back over our shoulder when we’re finished and put our hands up in exuberance at a job well-done, rather than hold onto our pen or brush while we reflect on whom and what it was that brought that particular creative piece to light.
I was both disappointed and humbled when I finished reading Merlin Sheldrake’s Entangled Life.
I have to admit that my eyes may never fully dance across the entirety of the volume and sorely it may never be totally consumed, unless I eat it (like he himself did), because two thirds the way through he begins his bibliography.
I say I am both disappointed and humbled because I was sad his dialogue ended before my appetite abated. Though I have found tons of content on-line, of his and his father’s, Rupert, that has kept me busy listening in my spare time…
But humbled because, I myself have done a lot of writing and always get done and kind of
throw the brush over my shoulder
to say the least.
Why take such time to cite all these references?
I’m not complaining.
It just made me question my own habits.
With every piece of knowledge right at our fingertips, is there really any new information being created?
Well, the beautiful answer is yes.
But it’s being made from someone else’s stuff.
When it comes down to it, the same information is being regurgitated time and time again, by different mediums until it is wholly heard.
For example, we all know that relativity, gravity, the big bang, and so on and so forth is real-life, right?
Of course we do, depending on who you heard it from and if you trust them.
Just as we all know that God exists and that Jesus died for our sins on the cross many centuries ago…
Of course! But who told you?
Or did you research? Perhaps someone told you and displayed the research and you just kinda picked through and decided what felt right?
We’re all bloody scientists!
Breaking stuff down into tiny little pieces and trying to discover some definitive proof that we’re Good. Connected. Self-replicating.
Maybe that last one’s a stretch.
But, for real. Some people are more comfortable hearing that God has a good and decent plan for us from a guy that once tried jumping off a bridge rather than hearing it from a preacher in a suit at an altar.
Some prefer reading about it in science books and engaging in philosophical debate…
And some people avoid it all together.
But it eventually finds you.
Cold, hard, truth.
When you can’t find another thing to do other than to turn and ask some questions.
Bored to death?
Where did he get that from?
In Merlin’s case it was from his father.
There’s tons of great trialogues that I have had the pleasure of listening to. Three dudes just sitting around chatting, kinda like Plato and Homer, or Socrates and Descartes. Just bouncing ideas off one another.
addendum: whilst under the influence of psychedelic substances.
But it reminds me of the constant search we all engage in together.
There is a, ‘He said. She said,’ going on.
These talks, I enjoyed because they were engaging. I mean, they were quoting guys like Pythagoras. And it is in this convergence with historical dialect, rather than an ownership of it that I find some humility.
I am not naive enough to believe that the collective knowledge of human consciousness could ever fit inside of my little brain.
I can’t remember where I’ve left my keys for God’s sake.
My Pastor ordered a coffee at the Starbucks across town while we were sitting outside a Starbucks downtown, but then proceeded to give me some genuinely spiritual and valuable insight.
So, no. I am on board with the collective memory theory. It is language and dialect that are ways to craft the new clays our forefathers have fashioned for us.
It’s why we cite the bible. Plagiarism is one thing; outright copying a sentence you see as your own. But expressing something in a way that can be understood by another populace is, in itself, art.
Whether you use the word Rad. Cool. Neat. Tight. Smooth. Righteous. Hip. Sweet. Groovy…
All depends on how many ski slopes you’ve carved or bowls you’ve smoked.
In a way, bibliographies can show us that there is so much that we really do not know.
It can be devastating to look at Sheldrake’s bibliography and think, “Well, I will die before I get through all of those references that he’s cited…”
And that is how it should be.
Stephen King said it best in his book On Writing, and I am paraphrasing, but he mentioned melancholy over all the great books that he will never have time to read in his life.
This is how life unfolds to us though, through relationships and dialogues with one another. A flower could no less explain to you the mathematical and biological processes it underwent to bloom, before falling off of its bud into decay.
You just have to take its smell for it.
For these rather ambiguous reasons I find it important that we continue to dialogue with one another. And what better time and place than today?
I read three books at a time. Listen to an audio book when I walk, and keep a magazine by my toilet. Then in leisure watch some damned television show or another…
Why can’t we keep open many social streams of inquiry and loving, non-judgmental, dialect that educates those who would otherwise not have that option?
Not these useless and fiery debates that seem to crowd out the underlying truths that are inherently interesting and important to all human beings. Self-serving and divisive dialect just implies that what we have to say has value.
And it does. But that value was put there by our ancestors.
Just because a goal seems too monumental to be undertaken in one lifetime doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be attempted. I’m sure someone said that before me. What words could possibly be my own?
When Merlin started studying the roots of his first plant species and realized that he would never be able to count the number of fungi and bacteria that were working together down there, he didn’t let it deter him. He just changed his mind about it.
Roots of everything grow deeper than we might be able to reach, but that doesn’t mean that they ever stopped drawing us up water…
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Jay Horne is an author and publisher out of Bradenton, Florida. He is a husband and father of four.
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