Rats and Journals, Tricksters and Revolution

There are 2 author interviews I can't stop thinking about.

1) If a rat in SanFrancisco learns something new, rats around the world will learn that same thing more quickly. I heard this on a podcast I listened to recently, To The Best of Our Knowledge, one of my all time favorite radio show/podcasts. They interviewed Rupert Sheldrake, an extremely controversial, (some say heretical) scientist who thinks we are in need of a scientific revolution. He says that science is a consensus reality, and that scientists are social beings like anyone else, subject to social pressures that thwart free inquiry. There are lots of things science can't fully explain (such as the experience of color, homing pigeons, human consciousness.) Sheldrake insists these are open questions, and require new frameworks.

Back to the rats: He says that each species has a kind of collective memory, and that they are bound to one another with a sort of field. Now I am not actually that concerned as to whether this is true or not. I am definitely going to read a bit more about it, but I love what it does for my imagination. Speaking of imagination, here's the second thing I can't stop thinking about:

2) Imagine that your mother, on her deathbed, tells you that she has secretly kept journals and that she wants you to have them, but makes you promise not to read them until after she dies. A few weeks after her death, you go to her closet, and look at all the beautiful journals on the shelves. You open one, and it's blank. You open another, and it's blank. They are all blank. This is my paraphrased version of an author interview with Terry Tempest Williams, author and naturalist. She writes about her relationship with her mother in her book When Women Were Birds. I keep thinking about her description of this over and over. She describes it as surprising but not out of character for her mother, who was somewhat of a trickster figure in her life. My favorite writing about tricksters is Lewis Hyde's Trickster Makes This World, and I came to really value everyday tricksters after reading it. My husband and I refer to this book with affectionate regularity. Tricksters have become an anchor in our understanding of so many things, but to have a mother as a trickster figure, well, I am just not sure I could handle that. I'm taken with the a psychological weight of Williams' story, and the levity in each blank white page, after page.

This moment (inspired by SouleMama)

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