December 12, 2011 at 9:39 pm (By Amba)

This, quoted by James Wood in The New Yorker in a review of John Jeremiah Sullivan’s book of essays, Pulphead, is as good as it gets for me.  It’s Sullivan admiringly summing up the worldview of “the early-nineteenth-century French explorer and botanist Constantine Samuel Rafinesque”:

What’s true of us is true of nature.  If we are conscious, as our species seems to have become, then nature is conscious.  Nature became conscious in us, perhaps in order to observe itself.  It may be holding us out and turning us around like a crab does its eyeball.  Whatever the reason, that thing out there, with the black holes and the nebulae and whatnot, is conscious.  One cannot look in the mirror and rationally deny this. It experiences love and desire, or thinks it does.  The idea is enough to render the Judeo-Christian cosmos sort of quaint. . . . [This] works perfectly as a religion.  Others talk about God, and I feel we can sit together, that God is one of this thing’s masks, or that this thing is God.

Sullivan:  what a writer.  This is him on reality-TV shows:

This is us, a people of savage sentimentality, weeping and lifting weights.


  1. kngfish said,

    Sentimentality: The Cliff Notes of love and remorse!

  2. mockturtle said,

    Sentimentality: The Cliff Notes of love and remorse!

  3. kngfish said,

    Read that last line…..fell asleep….woke up singing “Do you know the way to San Jose?” in my head….

    And all the stars,
    that never were,
    are pumping iron and passing gas.

    That’s the verse, right?

  4. mockturtle said,


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