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Permeable Membranes
Bar Harbor
I recently read something worth sharing. It's a bit from the end of "Arkfall", by Carolyn Ives Gilman. The story as a whole was good-but-not-great, partly because the bit at the end was too much like a pat Moral. On the other hand, it was really well put, and so I share it:

"I've decided you Bennites have something here, with these arks, this autopoiesis thing."

"It's not a new idea," Osaji said. It was, in fact, as old as life.

"No, but it's a better idea than you realize. Permeable membranes, that's the key: a constant exchange between outside and in. You've got to let the world leak in, and let yourself flow out into the nutrient bath around you. You've got to let in ideas, and observations, and . . . well, affection . . . or you become hard and dead inside. Life is all about having a permeable self--not so you're unclear who you are, but so you overlap a little with others on the edges."

Osaji was too surprised to say anything. She could not imagine anyone less permeable than Jack. But as she thought about it, and herself, she said hesitantly, "Some people are too permeable. They spend their lives trying to flow out, and never take in nutrient for themselves. They end up thin and empty inside."

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"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There's a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in."
--- Leonard Cohen, Anthem

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