2 October 2012

Such stuff as dreams are made on

First in a series commenting on chapters in The Book of Barely Imagined Beings. 

page ix: The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges. I have written an article about this book for The Guardian's Rereading series, and will post notification on this site when it goes live.

page x: Dreams. For Aboriginal Australians, the Dreaming allows them to “assent to life, as it is, without morbidity.” [1]  For us, perhaps, the contemplation of natural history can afford a similar sense of acceptance and marvel at our place in the universe.  As Charles Darwin wrote early in his career, “if, as the poets say, life is a dream, I am sure in a voyage these are the visions which serve best to pass away the long night.” [2]

page x: Zhuangzi. Compare “Biological systems are almost always more complex than you think – even when you allow for the fact that they are more complex than you think.” [3] 


[1] The Role of Symbolic Capacity in the Origins of Religion by Terrence Deacon and Tyrone Cashman quoted in Religion in Human Evolution by Robert Bellah.

[2] The Voyage of the Beagle (1839)

 [3] Evolution and the Complexity Principle by Nicholas Beale and Brian Josephson

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