“Everything summons us to death; nature, as if envious of the good she has done us, announces to us often and reminds us that she cannot leave us for long that bit of matter she lends us, which must not remain in the same hands, and which must eternally be in circulation: she needs it for other forms, she asks it back for other works.”
— Bossuet, Sermon sur la mort
“Cities are no more artificial than Bee-hives. The internet is as natural as a spider’s web. We ourselves are technological devices, invented by ancient bacterial communities as means of genetic survival — we are part of an intricate network that comes from the original takeover of the Earth. Our power and intelligence do not belong specifically to us, but to all life.”
— John Gray, Straw Dogs
In some remote corner of the universe, poured out and glittering in innumerable solar systems, there once was a star on which clever animals invented knowledge. That was the haughtiest and most mendacious minute of “world history” – yet only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths the star grew cold, and the clever animals had to die.
One might invent such a fable and still not have illustrated sufficiently how wretched, how shadowy and flighty, how aimless and arbitrary, the human intellect appears in nature. There have been eternities when it did not exist; and when it is done for again, nothing will have happened. For this intellect has no further mission that would lead beyond human life. It is human, rather, and only its owner and producer gives it such importance, as if the world pivoted around it.
— Nietzsche, “On Truth and Lies in an Extra-Moral Sense”
I'm increasingly thinking that every functioning system has two forms: The abstraction that outsiders are led to believe, and the reality that insiders actually and carefully operate.
You don't incrementally learn a system. You eventually unlearn its necessary lies.