Tuesday, March 17, 2015
#76 / The Anthropomorphic Connection
Rachel Sussman has written a book called The Oldest Living Things In The World. I have mentioned Sussman and her book before.
The Spring 2015 edition of Earth Island Journal features an article Sussman wrote, accompanied by some of Sussman's photographic work. Her article is called "Old Timers." The pictures that Earth Island has selected to accompany the article (like the picture above) are well worth seeing! The picture above, by the way, was taken at Elephant Island, Antarctica. It shows an Arctic Moss that is 5,500 years old.
Sussman's project is intended “to facilitate an anthropomorphic connection to a deep timescale otherwise too physiologically challenging for our brain to internalize.” She was interested in investigating what it means “to capture a multi-millennial lifespan in 1/60th of a second.”
The word "anthropomorphic" means "ascribing human characteristics to nonhuman things." That is fine as a definition, but it does seem to suggest that an analysis of what Sussman is doing should begin with the human. There is another way of looking at it, and another way of understanding the nature of our existence.
If we examine our connection to "nonhuman things" on the basis of a "deep timescale," which is what Sussman proposes, we find that our "connection" to "nonhuman things" does not come from the human side, but comes from the fact that both "human things" and "nonhuman things" are all part of the same Creation.
We belong, in other words, to the World of Nature. That is a World we did not create. That is the World upon which we, and the Arctic Moss, and the other "Old Timers," must ultimately depend.
If we don't figure this out pretty soon, we will never become "Old Timers" ourselves.