I was having this conversation yesterday with my girlfriend about how in talk of evolution there is room to disagree with so-called evolutionists because some evolutionist don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.
There is room to disagree because many evolutionists don’t talk about evolution as premised in a way we think about the world, evolution qua science and, so, contingency: they talk about evolution as anthropology and, worse, sociology. There is room here because there is room to debate teleology, the goal-oriented approach to processes and, yes, perversions, versus contingency. Debating an interlocutor who makes pat causal assertions between species, leading to “us”, we might argue that some quadrupeds became bipeds only in the sense that we use the term “became” as short hand for a number of different environmental, ecological, and, in response, physiognomic changes in organisms that…umm…well, what? What? What’s “that”? What comes after that? Whatever link our interlocutor wants to invite. For we rely on similarities in genetic markers, or, weakly, the fossil record to get to the next link, the next point. There is this and there is that. There are quadrupeds, bipeds and there are humans. But, Rortianly speaking that’s not true. There is no one line, no teleology; there is only evidence that there are we, us, and there are “they”, “them” and all we have to connect ’em–and all is a lot, here–is similarities. There is no logical identity here, causal in the sense that the arrow of time has to always move in one direction.
There are only stories. Un(a)bridged to other stories. The bridges we might just have are only inferred planks from one story to another. These planks often look and sound like “power”. *Part of what I want to say isn’t normative; it’s only descriptive. The problem is descriptions are often (maybe, always) normative.
I wear suits and I’m brown. And by that I mean no connect(x)ion. Apart from the necessary identitiarian one, at most there is a sociological connect(x)ion that connects me to other brown people who’ve worn suits and that has to do with learned behavior as subjects of an Empire and later, subjected to the politics of some Commonwealth. And then there’s me, having grown up with pictures of elegant grandfathers and a handsome father, more handsome in a suit, say, that in just a shirt and trousers, a man in his 70’s now, in suits often in the 1960s and then usually only in professional enviros. Now, me: a man in a suit a lot of times and every one of those times, apart from interviews and weddings and such, and even then, rocking suiting wares without needing to do just that thing. I am a product of my times, though I look at the world through my own view of what’s come before.
But I’m also a critic and an art writer and I dress a certain way to invite a particular view (from specific others) about me. I have been thought a banker and a monied guy; gallerists have shat on other galleries because they thought I might be around a show to pick up some art and they’ve told me how other gallerists up and down the block have no clue about no nothing. I dress a certain way because I enjoy inviting upon myself the power that sort of dress has to convey some truth about me. Some of that truth looks like a bald-headed lie.
Bill Blass worked as an artist in the WWII “Ghost Army”, helping to fabricate the facts of a grossly amassed Allied military presence where there was none. Adi and Rudolf Dassler, brothers two, and sons of a shoe-maker, gave Jesse Owens a pair of running shoes during the 1936 Olympics in Reichian Germany. Adi broke off with his brother and started Adidas and Rudolf started his own shoe company called Ruda, and eventually changed the company’s name to Puma.
Contingencies. And weird turns you couldn’t lay out loud a priori.
One more, more thing: you might think this is an undercover endorsement of Adidas shoes and sportswear. It’s not. Rorty, ahoy!