27 February 2011


I have put a version of Hypnagogia (which appears in Archipelago 5) online here. Andrew McNellie, the editor, prefaces edition 5 with this from William Blake:
But to the Eyes of the Man of Imagination, Nature is Imagination itself. As a man is, So he Sees.
William James wrote:
When we take a general view of the wonderful stream of our consciousness, what strikes us first is the different pace of its parts. Like a bird's life, it seems to be an alternation of flights and perchings.
Some photos from the day described in Hypnagogia can be seen here.

23 February 2011

'Surrounded by ghostly objects'

In Nature Writing, a contribution to Archipelago 5, Tim Dee quotes Vladimir Nabokov (1962):
Reality is a very subjective affair. I can only define it as a kind of gradual accumulation of information: and as specialization. If we take a lily, for instance, or any other kind of natural object, a lily is more real to a naturalist than it is to an ordinary person. But it is still more real to a botanist. And yet another stage of reality is reached with the botanist who is a specialist in lilies. You can get nearer and nearer, so to speak, to reality but you never get near enough because reality is an infinite succession of steps, levels of perception, false bottoms, and hence unquenchable, unattainable. You can know and more about one thing but you can ever know everything about one thing: it's hopeless. So we live surrounded by more or less ghostly objects.
Dee also quotes Aldo Leopold:
Whereas I write a poem by dint of mighty celebration, the yellowleg walks a better one just by lifting his foot.

P.S. Freeman Dyson gets a lot of things wrong (some of the flaws in his approach are well covered here); but he recently wrote something sensible:
Science is not a collection of truths. It is a continuing exploration of mysteries.

Moon moth

This image, by Kevin MacKenzie at the University of Aberdeen, shows the scales on the wing of a moon moth (Argema mittrei). Native to the rainforests of Madagascar, the moth has no mouthparts: all its feeding is done at the caterpillar stage, and the adult moth lives for only a few days. Its long tail and spectacular wings have led this species to be known as the 'comet moth.'

And image of the whole creature is here.