Hopeful monster theory suggests that major evolutionary transformations have occurred not through the gradual accretion of small steps but rather through large leaps between species.
“Biologists seem inclined to think that because they have not themselves seen a ‘large’ mutation, such a thing cannot be possible.”
― Richard Goldschmidt, The Material Basis of Evolution, 1940
Corpus linguistics is the study of language as expressed in samples (corpora) of “real world” text.
“The corpse, seen without God and outside of science, is the utmost of abjection. It is death infecting life. Abject.”
― Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror, 1980
A cloud of opaque materials.
Revenge fantasies? Yes, of course those too.
Rhapsodomancy is a form of divination in which guidance was sought through the chance selection of a passage in literature, often by opening a book and selecting the first line seen.
Parable underused: Preincarnation.
Men who do not devote their lives to pursuing wisdom will be reborn as women. Determined Plato.
There are so many ways of earning a living, and most of them are failures. Wrote Gertrude Stein.
“I know, indeed, the evil of that I purpose; but my inclination gets the better of my judgment.”
Allows Euripides, Medea, 5th century BC.
True carnivory is thought to have evolved independently nine times in five different orders of flowering plants.
Monotonous and gloomy variations of the same dismal theme.
“Each individual is separated from others by a taboo of personal isolation, a narcissism of minor differences.”
States anthropologist Ernest Crawley, Sexual Taboo: A Study of the Relations of the Sexes, 1895.
“When I was six I had a chicken that walked backward and was in the Pathe News. I was in it too with the chicken. I was just there to assist the chicken but it was the high point in my life. Everything since has been anticlimax.”
Admits Flannery O’Connor.
In the Middle Ages. the most important events occurred in cemeteries: local elections, trials, sermons, and theater plays. Prostitutes would also operate within cemetery grounds.
Little moon faced girl from the woods. Picked over, pock marked.
For humans, repetition is inherently transgressive.
Predictive brain, inference generating machine.
Many people, taking this into account, and holding that such a change of sex is against nature, have been at great pains to prove:
(1) that Orlando had always been a woman
(2) that Orlando is at this moment a man.
Let biologists and psychologists determine. It is enough for us to state the simple fact; Orlando was a man till the age of thirty; when he became a woman and has remained so ever since.
Instructs Virgina Woolf, Orlando: A Biography, 1928.
“Devastating birds wither everything with their breath.”
Irish myth: Cross.
Adult. Reproductive or cannibalistic.
A “parataxon” (not to be confused with parataxonomy), or “sciotaxon” (Gr. “shadow taxon”), is a classification based on incomplete data: for instance, the v larval stage of an organism that cannot be matched up with an adult.
Pretend they’re all children in adult costumes. It gets easier.
“The shadow escapes from the body like an animal we had been sheltering.”
Writes Gilles Deleuze, Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation, 1981.
Hypothesis. That the body itself is capable of storing memories, as opposed to only the brain.
Categorical perceptions. We’re trying as quickly as possible to fit it in within our taste.
If there were no thinking beings in the universe would numbers exist?
“Trahit sua quemque voluptas.
Everyone is dragged on by their favorite pleasure.”
― Virgil, Eclogues, 1st century BC.
“Indeed it may be only by risking the incoherence of identity that connection is possible.”
― Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter, 1993.
In classical astronomy, androgyn was a name given to planets that were sometimes warm and sometimes cold.
General structure is largely (in terms of record and filter): more potential than production.
From a 1906 psychiatric journal, The Alienist and Neurologist:
Then, there is a fear of being seen and a shamefacedness, which one sees in asylums. […] We called it scopophobia — a morbid dread of being seen.
In minor degree, it is morbid shamefacedness, and the patient covers the face with his or her hands. In greater degree, the patient will shun the visitor and escape from his or her sight where this is possible. Scopophobia is more often manifest among women than among men.
“The basic anxiety, the anxiety of a finite being about the threat of nonbeing, cannot be eliminated. It belongs to existence itself.”
Admits Paul Tillich, The Courage to Be, 1952.
“Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.”
Admits Hector Berlioz in a letter written in November,1856.
The most common types of suicide include copycat, euthanasia, familicide, forced, honor, internet, martyrdom, ritual, attack, and cop suicides.
Corpus linguistics adherents believe that reliable language analysis best occurs on field-collected samples, in natural contexts and with minimal experimental interference.
Until the late 15th century the word ‘girl’ simply means a child of either sex.
Boys, where they had to be differentiated, were referred to as ‘knave girls’ and girls in the female sense were called ‘gay girls’.
“Female monsters take things as personally as they really are. They study facts. Even if rejection makes them feel like the girl who’s not invited to the party, they have to understand the reasons why.
… Every question, once it’s formulated, is a paradigm, contains its own internal truth. We have to stop diverting ourselves with false questions. And I told Warren: I aim to be a female monster too.”
― Chris Kraus, I Love Dick, 1997.
“I didn’t recognize you… from a distance. That’s supposed to be my job.”
A security guard says to me.
Equally a boy could be a ‘knave child’ and a girl a ‘maiden child’.
Hybridization is actually quite common in nature. Equines. Elephants. Big cats.
Hopeful monster hypotheses. The root of ‘monstrum’ is ‘monere’—which does not only mean to warn, but also to instruct, and forms the basis of the modern English “demonstrate.”
Thus, the monster is also a sign or instruction.
Repetition and deficiency.
Exaggerated intuitions for how unlikely some things are.
“And identity is funny being yourself is funny as you are never yourself to yourself except as you remember yourself and then of course you do not believe yourself.”
Writes Gertrude Stein, Everybody’s Autobiography, 1937.
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