Life in the meat world

After a few days of seeing the streets of New Paltz teeming with color and smiles and people connecting over pint jars and sidewalk dining, today I wake to the dispiriting news that our sleeping dog may have shown signs of stirring. Pat Ryan looks crestfallen in the still shots. The red arrow we worked so hard to bury with our blue shovel of social responsibility may be bouncing off the bottom of the chart and headed back up to resemble who knows what evil three-hump camel with a giraffe neck and a fez.

The actual physical oneness of all shit is hardly news. It’s been the yield, the takeaway, of both seers and scientists of certain schools for quite a while. My head is still buzzing with that Richard Powers novel The Overstory, a vivid, opulent and scientifically current rendering of the invisible interconnectedness of all life — the living, gooey, mycological sympathy strings of interdependence that make individuality — yours, mine, Toby Keith’s — seem rather like a puppet show.

A little virus with a few unfortunate mutations in its recent past has laid bare the collectivism-whether-you-want-it-or-not that is more or less the contract of life in the meat world, the terms, the deal. “Life,” as the wild Scottish psychologist R.D. Laing said, “is a sexually transmitted disease.” ”


And the mortality rate is 100 percent.

From a certain aloof perspective, it’s just more of that Jeff Goldbum-making-a-pyramid-with-his-fingers stuff: life, and an accident that’s good for some cells and bad for others. The tragedy and the farce comes with watching us all try to square our understandings and work together, the only language that this problem understands. Oneness is a bitch.


Read more installments of Village Voices by John Burdick.

There are 5 comments

  1. Judith Asphar

    R D Laing’s quote as I know it (as a fellow Glaswegian!) is that “life is a guaranteed fatal sexually transmitted disease”

    1. Bill H

      Yeah, I think his “And the mortality rate is 100 percent” should have been attributed to Laing, as well. But the whole thing is a hackneyed mess anyway.

    1. BS

      Lu Miller, I utterly and completely agree. That article makes no sense at all, what in the world is the author trying too say? What are they talking about? I am sure they feel all witty, however the article conveys no concise point of substance, fact or reason, anyone can just mash a bunch of words together. Can the author please leave a comment, in plain old english language, translating this useless, mindless, mush of complete drivel, or better yet find a career far better fitted for yourself, as writing for a living is definitely out, if this is the best you can do.

      1. Bill H

        Writing strings of kitchy philosophy while committing to nothing. And you do The Overstory injustice by reducing it, as well, to the same cheap trick. Come on, you can do better than this. You’ve got great words. Use the well.

        Dear publisher, did you read this before publishing? There are a great many excellent local writers that would LOVE to be given this space.

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