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Old Manhattan

Taking its time to mellow out on the soot-layered windowpanes, the saxophone’s melody softened its momentum. The grimy edges of these sin-covered vertebral exertions lay waste to the saxophone’s origins and enveloped its effusive sounds in a nothingness—a nothingness permeating and infusing rhythm into the heart of the city. The buildings—century-old relics, stretching their tired, old-world hands into the single-layered present from the nostalgic aura of the booze-soaked lights and sounds of the past—swayed with the melody’s multilayered textures, and I, easily misled by my infantile yearnings for the taste of cosmopolitan heaven, swayed along with them. Once again, I found myself on the island.
The high-class, upper-scale rhythms of old Manhattan have almost completed their gradual, gradated diffusion into the synthesized novelty of mechanized beats, and we, lost children of falling markets and falling columns, roamed the streets in search of something—perhaps each other, perhaps the…

The Modern Eugenics

We, the inheritors of the post-WWII and post-Civil Rights era, like to believe that eugenics lies with the discredited ideas of pseudosciences such as phrenology and blending inheritance. Julian Huxley may have sounded the last non-fringe “hurrah!” on behalf of the intellectual and scientific supporters of eugenics[i], but the reality is not that simple; although the politically correct mediums of modern academia and popular culture may have purged their halls and airwaves of explicit supporters of state-instituted eugenic practices (though for a recent, well-reasoned exception, see Geoffrey Miller’s response to the Edge question “What should we be worried about?”), these practices lie at the foundation of many of our personal decisions, institutional practices, and government policies. Most biologically-oriented social scientists admit that eugenic self-selection occurs at the individual level—not only in the sperm clinic but also at bars and nightclubs. But even among academics, th…

Union and Separation

Death supplants life and life supplants death. The intricately woven webs of life are reconstructed anew with each generation. Species relying on each other at one epoch produce offspring who take over their ancestors’ positions at a later epoch. Each individual is but a small fragment of this “entangled bank”—to use Darwin’s phrase. To some, this realization is fractionating, disheartening, and lonely. To others, it represents a connection to all of existence. To others still, it represents a middle ground between separation and transcendence. Indeed, if one truly examines the nature of existence, both theoretically and empirically, one is left with an incessant search for the ‘demarcation’, ‘cutoff point’, or ‘dividing line’ between various phenomenological entities. Where do “I”—as an individual—begin and the outside world end? Where does one of my thoughts or emotions commence and another fizzle out? Come to think of it, where and how does thought differ from emotion? Such questio…