“Our numbers have meaning when they describe the duration of a cycle“, writes Meredith.
chapter 3. the duration of reading pages 1-81 may vary. i have to go back and find where my mind was when i read this chapter, there’s been a break in between as i attended to life’s mundane and wonderous duties.
i want to know what a number is to a sparrow, to a lizard, to a monkey. i heard a story on 93.9 FM WNYC about gender, sexuality, and the animal world. apparently, Bonobo monkeys might decide to use orgy as a strategy for approaching a difficult social conundrum. do they experience the duration between “we don’t know how to divvy up the apples we found, how stressful” and “now that we are blissed post-orgy, we can make better decisions about sharing the apples” as number? what kind of number? can i get in on that maths? i fear i’ve ruined my search profile, having just searched wnyc.org for “monkey orgy”. tsk, tsk.
the idea of seeing what you expect to see was central to the radio story. if researchers were strongly entrenched in a heterosexual worldview, they observed, or amplified, heterosexual animal pairings. but this is far from the norm. sexuality becomes something through interpretation. Gordon White cites Dr Pasulka’s reflection on UFO and religious events becoming so through interpretation. interpretation shapes phenomena into ideas (among other things, perhaps). but i want to know: how do numbers get interpreted? some will say that a 3 is a 3, nothing to it. no sacred, no resonance. for others it is a manifestation of something divine. how does one experience 3? let me count the ways.
but back to the book, back to the word. i was also struck by the idea of every animal and plant in the forest as having a spirit. reminded my of my Catholic upbringing, with guardian angels. i think this is what is wrong with me these days, a funk, a disconnect from my custodial spirits. these do not have to be woo-woo, they can be your values, or a core set of ideas that you’ve been hefting around. with the end of the university semester, perhaps this has triggered my sudden unmooring, my “now what?”. can technology function as a custodial spirit? are our mobile phones puny stand-ins for guardian angels? they are always near us, hovering, enticing, opening our eyes to other worlds… but they do not connect with a true sense of being. they hijack it. they have the guise of guardian angel, but only the guise. Thus ends chapter 3: Just how far are you from Eden right now?