Saturday, May 7, 2011

Useful quote from The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

I was listening to The Botany of Desire today when I ran across this quote:

For what is a sense of the banality of something if not the defense against the overwhelming (or at least, whelming) power of that thing experienced freshly? Banality depends on memory: as do irony, abstraction and boredom, three other defenses the educated mind deploys against experience so that it can get through the day without being continually, exhaustingly, astonished. It is by temporarily much of what we already know, or think we know, that cannabis restores a kind of innocence to our perceptions of the world, and innocence in adults will always flirt with embarassment...By disabling our moment by moment memory, which is ever pulling us off the astounding frontier of the present and throwing us back onto the mapped byways of the past, the cannabinoids open a space for something nearer to direct experience. By the grace of this forgetting, we temporarily shelve our inhereted ways of looking and wee things as if for the first time, so that even something as ordinary as ice cream becomes Ice Cream. There is another word for this extremeist noticing; this sense of first sight unencombered by knowingness, by the already been-theres and seen-thats of the adult mind, and that word, of course, is wonder. Memory is the enemy of wonder, which abides nowhere else but in the present. This is why, unless you are a child, wonder depends on forgetting; on a process, that is, of subtraction.

06:12:00'- 06:14:00'

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