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Fr. 360

July 17, 2013

On comparing an idea and a shell found on the beach.

What can the beachcomber say of her find? That it has come from an ocean with waves and sand and other shells. That there is thus a community. That this shell has thus interacted, come into contact and been transmitted through this community. That the form that this shell has now is not that which it once had. That perhaps the water and sand have worn it down. That perhaps the collision with other shells has broken off fragments and altered its shape. That perhaps the color has changed as the organism once inhabiting the shell has died and faded from memory. That the shell thus has its own history.

That the ocean does its own works on shells, changing their form, blurring former distinctions, creating new ones, carvings channels, canyons and pits while closing others. That were this beachcomber to throw this shell back to let it wash up elsewhere for another, this shell would not come to this other in quite the same shape, way or form and would strike her in quite a different manner for some quite different quality, unforeseen to the former.

Wherefore the similarity of shells and ideas.

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