Our love for arbitrary givens

This planet takes approximately 365 days to complete one circuit around the sun. Where we start counting these days is totally arbitrary. If you start at Midsummer’s Eve or August 15th or February 2nd you’ll get the same amount of days. There’s nothing intrinsically different, except where in the continuous circuit across the universe the planet is, happening on January 2nd if compared with December 29th. Indeed some cultures starts their counts according to other calendars, not coinciding with the western/xtian one.

Despite this most people uses this arbitrary date, the break between December 31st and January 1st, to signify the beginning of something new, something Other. If it, like now, marks the end of an equally arbitrary thing like a decade, then it also is a signal to start a summary of the past 10 years, trying to figure out what’s so special about that particular time. It’s often funny, because as we all know these transitions are not clear breaks just because we want them to be so, and some of the things marked down as ‘typical’ are forgotten the the next day.

I think maybe we humans needs these anchor points in the time-space continuum, to make us feel more real, as a way to validate our being here. We are so afraid to face the reality, of there being no higher reason for us being here, nothing else beyond the biochemical reactions making us function. It makes us construct a reality that essentially aren’t there but without which we wouldn’t survive as a species.

Or – would we? Dare we try?


Review: Regeneration, by Julie E Czerneda

I find it almost impossible to write a review of this last part of the Species Imperative trilogy – I have no idea how or where to start, properly. Regeneration is the brilliant conclusion to a brilliant story, but it is also impossible to understand it – and this review it – as a single book.

Every species try to find it’s way to survival. Sometimes that survival comes at the cost of the survival of other species. Will Dr. Mackenzie Connor and her team succeed in their valiant try to save not only Humanity but all other species that are part of the Interspecies Union from the threat of total annihilation? And which are the greater threat – the Dhryn or the Ro? Will politics, however well intended, conspire to the end of life in space?

This concluding part is in perfect harmony with the tone of the story leading up to it. Well conceived and executed the ending part of the trilogy is as much about finding a way to handle the threat to interplanetary survival as it is about how the species imperative works on humans, namely Dr. Connor and Agent Trojanowski, both in their relationship to each other and in how they handle a threat to their home world, and this is part of what makes this trilogy worth reading – grand theme, grand setting and repercussions on a personal level makes the reader care for the characters.

I highly recommend the Species Imperative trilogy, starting with Survival.
Well worth the time it takes reading the approximately 1500 pages.

My spider, on top of evolution

In my kitchen a window is set aside for fresh herbs. During winter most of them dies – it’s simply too cold and too dark for them, and they wilt to death. The sage usually survives. It’s sturdy. Since some months back a small spider lives in the sage plant. Of course this means I cannot use the sage, but it doesn’t matter. While I like the spice right now it’s more relevant as the habitat for another living thing.

I have not tried to classify the spider. It’s maybe 5 millimetres long, and in it’s usual position it’s maybe 2 millimetres across. It resembles a wilted leave, or a fragment of wilted grass. It’s so small and so unassuming – well camouflaged! – that I’ve had no luck getting it to show on a photograph.

This is part of why I keep it. I’m fascinated by nature and how evolution works to promote creatures like this. I have no idea how it survives. The kitchen is notoriously bereft of flies and other small insects that would be in it’s range, and I have trashed it’s net at times. But it keeps turning up, again and again and again. In a way it’s very human – resilient bordering on obnoxious.

A reminder of the superficiality of humans and human motives, maybe.