Friday, January 12, 2018

Shepard for the Day.5

Note: ontogeny is "the whole of growth through the first twenty years (including physical growth.")

from Mendota Dakota Community
"The seed of normal ontogeny is present in all of us.  It triggers vague expectations that parents and society will respond to our hunger.  The newborn infant, for example, needs almost continuous association with one particular mother who sings and talks to it, breast-feeds it, holds and massages it, wants and enjoys it.  For the infant as person-to-be, the shape of all otherness grows out of that maternal relationship.

Yet, the setting of that relationship was, in the evolution of humankind, a surround of living plants, rich in texture, smell and motion.  The unfiltered, unpolluted air, the flicker of wild birds, real sunshine and rain, mud to be tasted and tree bark to grasp, the sounds of wind and water, the calls of animals and insects as well as human voices--all these are not vague and pleasant amenities for the infant, but the stuff out of which  its second grounding, even while in its mother's arms, has begun.

The outdoors is also in some sense another inside, a kind of enlivenment of that fetal landscape which is not so constant as once supposed.  The surroundings are also that-which-will-be-swallowed, internalized, incorporated as the self."

Paul Shepard
Nature and Madness
pp. 6-7

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