Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

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I find no fit in abstract thought, learned labs or even among pixels ,but fit someplace on concrete

I took a nice walk on the Chisholm Trail in Plano, a concrete sidewalk running by a creek surrounded by tall trees. Around me on all sides were suburban brick homes, each festooned with its own blossoming crape myrtle tree or shrub. I saw myriads of everyday "backyard" birds, mockingbirds, bluejays, grackle, house sparrows, and red cardinal birds. I saw huge tiger swallowtail butterflies, and even larger giant swallowtail butterflies. I saw white cabbage butterflies as well as a few little yellow sulphur butterflies. Black eyed susan flowers had already gone past best bloom and turned into seed pods. Other flowers of red and pink and white struggled their last few bits of prime before the scorch of July hits. In a short walk, I suddenly felt connected to something more "real" than anything I do, and yet something that is not at all unique or outre.

I came home and began to re-read CP Snow's the Two Cultures.
Snow's premise in a 1959 (the year I was born) lecture was interesting. He felt that English "literary intellectuals" and scientific intellectuals used what amounted to a different language, which led to tremendous misunderstanding in public dialogue. Snow's lecture was tame enough, but
sparked massive public debate, including vitriolic attacks, in its time. One particularly spirited critic resorted to the ad hominem device of questioning Snow's authority, on the ground that he was not a major novelist and not a major portion of the scientific establishment. I am a big fan of Snow's novels, but he will never be considered a "major" novelist. He wrote novels to make points and tell stories, and was heavily influenced, as he acknowledged, by Trollope, who was no longer fashionable in his day.

I thought to myself how polymaths, like prophets, no longer got respect by the 1960s, whereas an earlier time loved the renaissance public intellectual. I then turned on the television and watched an old newsreel on cable about how new machinery was making people obsolete, but with safe use of the machines, the few remaining necessary workers could avoid cutting off their hands. Then I flipped the channel, where a very pregnant Arnold Schwarzenegger was about to give birth.

I thought to myself that I have never felt at home in the world of the scientists or the world of "literary intellectuals". I feel at home on concrete trails through tract home suburbs, when butterflies are flying. But that's okay. Really. That's okay.

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