Remarkable Bonsai / Richard Rorty

I just ran across these amazing photos of bonsai by Walter Pall, who has developed what bonsai purists call a “naturalistic” style, though the viewer unfamiliar with the formal styles of traditional bonsai might not choose the adjective “natural” to describe these tress. All that apparently lifeless wood, by the way, called jin, is part of the living tree. What one calls natural is, clearly, a matter of perspective & relationship. There is no one thing that is nature, of course, over against which there is something else, presumably a mind observing nature as if from the outside. There is no outside. Nor any inside, either. Can you tell I’ve been reading Richard Rorty’s Philosophy and Social Hope in between the Patrick O’Brian novels? It is one of those books that tells me what I already have already thought intuitively, but which gives me contextualized & clearly argued reasons for my sense of things.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Humanities at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press (2001). He lives with his wife Carole, two Jack Russell terriers, Jett & Penny, & a Chocolate Lab, Angel, on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.