|via Gothamist/Shawn Ferreyra|
Like so many amoebas we pack the subway cars, struggling to keep the membrane closed that protects us from the outside world and contains us.
There was a man on the Q train into Brooklyn, a normal looking man in the scheme of things, but out cold, spreadeagle on his back on the floor in the middle of the car. No one could tell if he was alive or dead or dead drunk - he was poked and prodded, laughed at and scorned - until finally he let out an epic snore.
Most of us are not quite so successful at closing off the outside world - we are forced to continually acknowledge it, even if it's a crowded NYC subway and we'd rather not. Yet "this outward reference rests upon a corresponding inward reference, such that one could say that other-reference presupposes self-reference," and "because my experience of the self is necessarily an experience of a kind of corporeality, it can not be separated from an experience of the other..." (26). This inside/outside asymmetry brings us back to ourselves, like it or not.
In the end, we must remind ourselves (as we do anyway, to bring ourselves to board the subway day after day), that "to complete the evolution into a true living system, the autocatalytic system's proto-membrane would need to develop into an actual interface...There must, in other words, be established a feedback loop between the system of other-reference (the membrane system) and the system of self-reference (RNA, DNA)." Whether we ride the subway wrapped in a membrane of the glee of tourists (hi mom!) or the misery of a cursed Macbeth, the experience aids our process of individuation - our "semipermeable membrane closes itself upon itself and thenceforth connects its continuing existence to a partially trapped, autocatalytic, and agentive self-existing system." (37)
Even when the b-boys bump up the jams and bust it out, backflipping in your face - during rush hour.
|via Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times|