Monday, November 24, 2008

Speaking of collision and accumulation

From the chapter "HABIT is the ballast that chains the dog to his vomit" [bold mine]:
Something comes along. Something else comes along. They collide and stick. They stay together, perhaps combine with something else again to form a larger combination. This is called a "connective synthesis." An example is sediment. A grain comes to rest. Another joins it. Many grains follow from a variety of sources, brought to a point of accumulation by chance. Not brute chance. Chance discrimination. . . . Not all grains answering to the description join the gang. Given a particular grain, no one, however savvy in sedimentation, can predict whether it will be one of the select. . . . A statistical process of this kind, combining chance and approximate necessity, can be called "selection." A selection is an act of perception, since something, in this case a set of natural laws, "perceives" the grains that come together in a layer. The resulting muck is an "individual."

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