The true literary Darwinism

Just as a tree doesn’t only grow up from its roots, but the roots also extend outward far from its bulk, the roots of a person’s character probe out sniffingly to everyone they have ever known. But the annihilating substantiality of another life, so crushingly equal to their own, is far too much to digest, so for their social sustenance the other person’s existence has to be broken down into more basic nutrients. So the simple vibrating of cords in the throat, the contraction or a release of a muscle is what generally passes for knowing someone, and even that often proves too intoxicating. And thus any acquaintance that isn’t neglectful and indifferent, made up of things like pretending to listen while composing your own words in your head, is likely to be to some extent an attempt to disenchant yourself, to get out from beneath the spell that another person casts.

At the same time in any human relationship the two people become parents in which one impregnates the other with the phantom child, the image of themselves that the other bears and carries in their mind. These attenuated offspring multiply vastly and promiscuously in almost any life, and give birth to their own spawn, which at every remove become thinner and shallow, more and more a matter of word and rumor, and finally, and this only for the lucky at that, the final descendants will linger only as print, whose characters slightly resemble blackened twisted bones mummified in the preservative white desert of the page. And at this point they will finally fulfill Kafka’s necessarily premature statement that “I am literature.”

One Response to “The true literary Darwinism”

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