Essay, April 2021

Nature or nurture, tradition or novelty — so many debates divide on this axis. They distract from a core truth: everything here and now came through a lineage. I’m not speaking of time. Lineage is the thing that persists, even if you can’t wrap your mind around it. Lineage is the nature of persisting. Any form that disrupts the flow of lineage disappears, but the flow never does.

This flow inevitably reaches into dead ends, at various scales. Species flourish and disappear as traits flourish and disappear. Life itself, I should think, flourishes and disappears.

There are endless layers to this: unbalanced tendencies — addictions, empty pursuits — that forsake the lineage destroy the individual, like a person who starves his tribe through selfishness, or a ravenous species that consumes all resources and extinguishes its own ecosystem.

Each path emerges from the world’s deepest, eternal nature and sees its end at the shallowest reaches of falseness. This is a natural progression of conditioning: it reaches and percolates, develops momentum and tumbles into vapid hallucinations. Each bite of pudding makes you want another, and it takes a counterbalancing force to preserve yourself. You need to realize that the desire is empty, shallow. To realize, to make real, is to go a layer deeper into nature.

Still, reality and vapidity are parts of the world. If humans disappear tomorrow in a whimper, were we here? You could say we were just a hallucination, but what is that thing that hallucinates? Is the hallucination not an essential part of it? Are we not made in the image of God?