The Sound and The Fury. And the Redemption?

April 26, 2015 § 7 Comments

A scientist’s chamber orchestra project for nature and humanity, a photographer’s beautifully haunting industrial documentary, an architect designer’s alluring vision of future human habitat, and my (humble) reflections.

Fashionably late for Earth Day.

20150425-Earth-Day-headline-collage

Saturday morning at WholeFoods.  I sit down at a table outside the check-out counters to start writing this article, while my parents go into the aisles for the week’s grocery.  Earlier in the car, they were discussing an added task for this weekend – which other shops to go to next, to get what present for which relative or friend, since my father is going back to China for a month, my hometown being one of his stops.  The task is a rather difficult one these days, as China has every kind of stuff sold in America, then some; but gifts remain a must to bring along with a visit, as good social grace and relationship gestures.  Pushing a green shopping trolley, they continue their discussions.

 I, on the other hand, am preoccupied with my article for Earth Day.  WholeFoods seems like an appropriate venue to kick off the writing while waiting for my parents to go through their chores.  But before I type the first word, that feel-right ambiance also cast a shadow of doubt.  Have I, a California-living, healthy-eating, WholeFoods-shopping “liberal progressive” become too out of touch with reality and too self-righteous? « Read the rest of this entry »

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“Species are only commas in a sentence”

June 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

220px-Steinbeck-route

The route around the Gulf of California taken by the Western Flyer

I never knew that marine biology was a major literary influence for John Steinbeck, until I stumbled upon this beautiful passage:

“Our own interest lay in relationships of animal to animal. If one observes in this relational sense, it seems apparent that species are only commas in a sentence, that each species is at once the point and the base of a pyramid, that all life is relational to the point where an Einsteinian relativity seems to emerge. And then not only the meaning but the feeling about species grows misty. One merges into another, groups melt into ecological groups until the time when what we know as life meets and enters what we think of as non-life: barnacle and rock, rock and earth, earth and tree, tree and rain and air. And the units nestle into the whole and are inseparable from it. Then one can come back to the microscope and the tide pool and the aquarium. But the little animals are found to be changed, no longer set apart and alone. And it is a strange thing that most of the feeling we call religious, most of the mystical outcrying which is one of the most prized and used and desired reactions of our species, is really the understanding and the attempt to say that man is related to the whole thing, related inextricably to all reality, known and unknowable. This is a simple thing to say, but the profound feeling of it made a Jesus, a St. Augustine, a St. Francis, a Roger Bacon, a Charles Darwin, and an Einstein. Each of them in his own tempo and with his own voice discovered and reaffirmed with astonishment  the knowledge that all things are one thing and that one thing is all things – plankton, a shimmering phosphorescence on the sea and the spinning planets and an expanding universe, all bound together by the elastic string of time. It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again.”

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