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Evolution of Stories//Stories of Evolution

Cremisi's picture

It’s very hard to document change because to see it, you almost always need to leave the observed subject alone for a little while—to get out of its aura, the strange influence it has over the world—before one feels as though one is far enough away to not be bias and that one is able to adopt a true demeanor of objectivity. In fact, I’d say that we can really only see growth and evolution when we have something else to compare it to. The English ivy spindles higher upon the tulip tree than it did a month ago, so I know that it has grown. My leonine, Oreo-colored darling only changes when I see pictures of him as a kitten, and I realize that the white hairs around his eyes weren’t always there. When I think about this, I then think to myself, how could I possibly ever see a change in me? I get breaks from school and work, but I never get a break from myself. I’m always stewing in my own biases and I literally cannot get up out of myself and just observe. However, I do have my thoughts from the beginning of this semester. I have changed, this I know. However, when I changed and in exactly what manner is still a mystery to me.
                One thing I’ve always worried about is speaking—that I’m not doing it enough, I’m not jumping into the middle of a heated debate enough, not putting on my boxing gloves to strike people out. I wish that there didn’t have to be judgments about participating in class, and that you didn’t always need to make an argument, that perhaps, you were allowed to explore an idea. I don’t often say a lot, but I do promise that I listen. So many times I’ve left class with my mind spinning, brain clenching, and what I feel must be a physically noticeable tachycardia to the outside world. Whenever I would leave class, the sunshine seemed to shine with a different slant, the pachysandra seemed to glow with an other-worldly green, and I’d listen to jazz music, and think about old memories, and feel as though the world, for a split few seconds, truly was a place where potential and fulfillment could be searched for and found and not just seem like a hokey desire. I’m very uncomfortable speaking in groups, but I do promise, I listen, and process, and analyze, and respond. I realize that it doesn’t benefit others if it is stuck in my head, but at least I’m aware of that now. I’m working on it. The small class discussions and online discussions have made things easier for me. Slowly, I feel like I have warmed up to the group and was able to articulate my thoughts in an atmosphere where there was no real pressure to say the “right” thing. For once I didn’t feel like everything enunciated from my mouth needed to be a neatly-wrapped parcel with satin ribbon and charming crinkly-brown paper. It’s strange because this is the class that I’ve had the least amount of pressure in (no pressure to talk, no pressure to get the ‘highest grade in the class’) yet it has made me want to do the most for the class.
                Out of any class, I feel as though that this one has made me become much more comfortable with the universe. The idea of existentialism has become very appealing to me: that perhaps life may be futile, but it can be about anything that I want it to. It’s okay that events don’t fit into a cookie-cutter cutout, and it’s okay that I want to strive for certain things. Though it may be meaningless, it’s the effort, the purpose I have created for me, that gives it all meaning.
                As for science, this course has given me a better grasp on the concept of evolution. I began by thinking that evolution was always about survival of the fittest, or a natural race of which creature could be the fastest, the largest, and the strongest. But…I realize now that nearly everything in life seems pretty relative at one point or another. Randomness plays a huge role. Evolution is chance well-acclimated to a particular environment.
                When I came into this course, I was feeling so burnt out on English. I began this course with the belief that literature was superfluous padding to make life more interesting. However, I leave this course with a profound sense of respect for the intricacies of literature. I see now that though biology is the study of life, there is more to life than just science. Just like our biological evolution, our cultural evolution is important too because we are in the middle of living it. Though we may step back and watch how allele frequencies have changed, to see how one life in the universe is living his or her life is a fascinating sight indeed.
                I feel like I’m leaving this course with a much greater nuanced view of the universe, and for the first time in a long time, it’s not overwhelming. Though it may seem obvious, I’ve finally come to the realization that things and people don’t just fit into little boxes and categories with neatly drawn lines. The deeper you look, the more the lines seem to blur and it becomes more and more difficult to tell them apart. This hybrid class, I’d like to think, has given me a deeper understanding into the deep, marbled complexity that makes us us. Literature and Biology, they aren’t so different, really. They’re all just talking about life, what there was, and what, in the grand, evolving, spiraling universe, there possibly may be.