09 June 2010
The Way We Become More Human by Mark Scott
We are an environment exposed to, of, our brains.
They print us out on it, in large part. How can we
Not do what they were evolved to do? They squirt
With their dopamine when we flinch at incoming.
We invite incoming. We eat it and fuck it all.
We don’t have anything to do but ourselves,
To do but today, as Stephen Stills said. If we
Hated technology, we’d be hating our brains.
When a tunnel slips over us as we move, we are
Dead to ourselves—and we are the world
Our head was meant to keep everything in.
I balance this computer I type on with tennis,
teaching, flirting, reading—for example. Don’t
balance; try to. Nothing I do is like doing anything,
So I do. I try to campaign about holding the center.
Before Cisco welcomed us to the human network,
we sat grooming each other in groups of about fifty.
Talking then came together like an orange and proved
More efficient. Our lives became more interesting
Than grooming. We set grooming off over there
And learned to charge for it by taking time
Off for it. As we pulled hair, we started to
Listen to what we were saying and repeat said
Things to our next clients. We invented tradition
With a scissors and a comb. Instead of cutting
Each other’s throats, a mess, we swept up
Hair and made wigs. But nothing proved
More engaging than talking for most of us,
And so that’s what most of us do most of.
We found out we couldn’t exhaust each other,
No matter how many hours of each other
We consumed, taking each other in like
Pudding. We didn’t have to keep each other
In our heads. We were each other, we were
Nothing but our heads, no matter how hard
We tried to materialize. What did we need
To live? Telling, chopsticks, and pallets.
Samples of each of those kinds of thing
in solution uniform as egg-white served,
With thumb and index to pick out the shell
Fragments—elusive bass line, major finding,
Anomalous set members, etc. That etcetera
Kept skirting the pincer movement,
But we didn’t have time to stop and produce
An exhaustive accounting, studies showed.
For a brief period, we took those students
Who conducted those studies at their own
Measure. They were central. But they had
Displaced so much to get their catch in
That we had to conclude they’d likely mistaken
Their leading edge for the mass of momentum.
We abandoned them to their confine of margin.
But we can’t help reaching out to them, wonderers
To wonderers, to see if they might have guidance
For the ocean according to us. We sight them
In down-time. Their single-tasking looks
Comical and subjective. They miss so much
By their divisions and controls, but we long
Sometimes to be students again, told what to ignore.
On the whole, though, they’re irrelevant bits,
Like a nearby lion. Their debate doesn’t seem
Vibrant to us. Most of us don’t even know
We’re talking and listening, we do it so effortlessly.
We’re just not that worried about other people.
They say we can be unaware of our own habits,
as if this were news. It feels like togetherness, their
Insignificant deviations and our biased intensity.
“It changes the mood of everything when everybody
Is present,” one of ours said the other day. Hit us
like a bomb, the reach of its touchless reference.
But it was only another item in the trunk show.
“There went that,” someone didn’t even say.