Sunday, May 17, 2015

The wisdom of Dr. Michael Dickinson

“For most life on the planet, being hidden is the default condition.”
Dr. Michael H. Dickinson (b. 1963)
Biologist


Perhaps, we are too visible, sometimes….

Read this, and then reflect, for a moment:


“The lesson runs deep in both literature and the psyche: survival depends on an intimate, attuned comfort with similitude and the art of disguise. I asked a biologist friend, Michael Dickinson, to muse on this subject. He replied:

'For most of life on the planet, being hidden is the default condition. Visibility typically costs you your life, or at least a good meal. Sex or an advertisement of a poisonous disposition are the only reasons anything with a pulse and wink of sense would want to be conspicuous. This is why we are generally disappointed when we don our Vibram soles and trek through ticks and prickly shrubs to view wildlife. Wildlife are usually annoyed at being seen, if they are seen at all. As hiddenness is the default, visibility is a luxury. Rarely are earth-colored tones the symbols of opulence and royal blood. We are most comfortable being hidden but we yearn to be seen. The inventions of biological hiddenness are countless, witty, wily, and poignant.' ”


Quote is from:

Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World
(New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015)
By Jane Hirshfield












Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2015 All rights reserved.

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