Excerpt



We believe our nature to be, in the literal sense, primitive, lacking in grace and precision, unedifying, something always to be conquered and overcome. But think of the most complex and extraordinary machines mankind has yet devised, take ten of them, and combine their virtues. This tenfold construction—in terms of exactitude, critical timing, coordination, variety, miniaturization, adaptability, calculation, sensory function, integration, and balletic precision down to the atomic level—is neither a billionth as complex nor a billionth as wondrous as the very least among us. The most afflicted, deformed, and unconscious are yet miraculous by virtue of the human nature that, in imitation of the machine, we mistakenly strive to exclude from our deliberations.

It is both strange and unnecessary that we do so, given that the strongest expositions and appeals in history have come from the likes of Dante, Shakespeare, Milton, Montaigne, Lincoln, et al., who made use in them of the astonishments, beauties, and even the imperfections of our mortal nature. Thus, memoir to illustrate argument, so as not to rank the works that we have made above the work that we are.