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On the Fireline: ...
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Roots of Human So...
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The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman
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Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal
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On the Fireline by Matthew Desmond
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A Thousand Naked Strangers by Kevin Hazzard
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Mitzvah Girls by Ayala Fader
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Deep by James Nestor
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Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
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The Bilingual Edge by Kendall King
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Roots of Human Sociality by Nicholas J. Enfield
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Natural Histories of Discourse by Michael Silverstein
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More of Gavin's books…
Terry Pratchett
“The hippo of recollection stirred in the muddy waters of the mind.”
Terry Pratchett, Soul Music

Yann Martel
“The clear liquid in our eyes is seawater and therefore there are fish in our eyes, seawater being the natural medium of fish. Since blue and green are the colours of the richest seawater, blue and green eyes are the fishiest. Dark eyes are somewhat less fecund and albino eyes are nearly fishless, sadly so. But the quantity of fish in an eye means nothing. A single tigerfish can be as beautiful, as powerful, as an entire school of seafaring tuna. That science has never observed ocular fish does nothing to refute my theory; on the contrary, it emphasizes the key hypothesis, which is: love is the food of eye fish and only love will bring them out. So to look closely into someone's eyes with cold, empirical interest is like the rude tap-tap of a finder on an aquarium, which only makes the fish flee. In a similar vein, when I took to looking at myself closely in mirrors during the turmoil of adolescence, the fact that I saw nothing in my eyes, not even the smallest guppy or tadpole, said something about my unhappiness and lack of faith in myself at the time.

...I no longer believe in eye fish in [i]fact[/i], but still do in metaphor. In the passion of an embrace, when breath, the win, is at its loudest and skin at its saltiest, I still nearly think that I could stop things and hear, feel, the rolling of the sea. I am still nearly convinced that, when my love and I kiss, we will be blessed with the sight of angelfish and sea-horses rising to the surface of our eyes, these fish being the surest proof of our love. In spite of everything, I sill profoundly believe that love is something oceanic.”
Yann Martel, Self
tags: love

Northrop Frye
“The poet, however, uses these two crude, primitive, archaic forms of thought (simile and metaphor) in the most uninhibited way, because his job is not to describe nature, but to show you a world completely absorbed and possessed by the human mind.”
Northrop Frye, The Educated Imagination

Derek Bickerton
“When the infernal machine of plantation slavery began to grind its wheels, iron laws of economics came into play, laws that would lead to immeasurable suffering but would also, and equally inevitably, produce new languages all over the world – languages that ironically, in the very midst of man's inhumanity to man, demonstrated the essential unity of humanity.”
Derek Bickerton, Bastard Tongues: A Trailblazing Linguist Finds Clues to Our Common Humanity in the World's Lowliest Languages

Steven Pinker
“Thinking is computation, I claim, but that does not mean that the computer is a good metaphor for the mind. The mind is a set of modules, but the modules are not encapsulated boxes or circumscribed swatches on the surface of the brain. The organization of our mental modules comes from our genetic program, but that does not mean that there is a gene for every trait or that learning is less important than we used to think. The mind is an adaptation designed by natural selection, but that does not mean that everything we think, feel, and do is biologically adaptive. We evolved from apes, but that does not mean we have the same minds as apes. And the ultimate goal of natural selection is to propagate genes, but that does not mean that the ultimate goal of people is to propagate genes.”
Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works

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