Details 2

Sometimes I’m amazed at the endless particulars of life, which seem to multiply daily, but then maybe I’m in a state of wonderment at the human capacity to identify the same. All the details. The details of nature are astonishing in the way they form chains and compound with each other, a multi-leveled pattern of which we can only apprehend a small part at any one time. We can find more through our scientific instruments, but the ones we meet ordinarily are overwhelming enough. Take your body for an example, or that of any animal. One can get lost in contemplation of it all, but more compelling are the human details, meaning how do we negotiate all the many particulars produced by the people we share this time with, including not only everything they want, and how they think the world is, and how they behave, but also what they make. Why do the human details often seem like limitations? Conflict is systemic, but it’s not necessarily always warfare, more like battling through obstructions. And the things we make are mostly poor. I’m thinking of architecture and manufacture, but the softer, immaterial things, like abstract concepts, are generally pretty disappointing too. Art limits the details, gives the illusion that they form a closed system or a meaningful pattern, and of course the avant-garde of art keeps breaking the pattern.

As Robert Louis Stevenson said “The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”


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