ANOTHER NOTE ON WONDER & THE ARK OF THE FIRST-PERSON PLURAL
In these early posts in this new stream of work, I’ve been wrestling with wonder, the enormity of biodiversity, and the challenge of “being-species” that confronts us on this planet at our moment. Should we talk about ourselves as a species when we don’t properly know what such a thing might be?
Well, I’m still listening to Krista Tippett talk with Mary Catherine Bateson, and much of their conversation is terrifically germane. Late in the hour, Bateson begins a sentence by saying, “We need to learn how to use “we…” and then she takes a terrifically long pause, long enough that I wonder where this hinge on “we” will swing, towards being-species or some conditional relativism. (I’m listening to the unedited podcast version of the interview, which wonderfully leaves the silences alive and wriggling.) And then she takes it in a direction perpendicular to that polarity: “…to refer to all living things on this earth,” she concludes.
If we really could get to the first person plural—embracing the implicit personhood of the pronoun—to signify the plenteous community of terrestrial life, we might come aysmptotically closer to the dynamic social equillibrium we need to survive as a species among species on this earth.