Monday, May 16, 2005

Socrates thought that everything on earth (humans, animals, plants) originated from a series of "eternal forms." These forms were unchanging, so even though there might be thousands of different types of birds, there is really only one "Bird." In it's eternal form, according to Socrates, the bird is forever the same. It resides in the shadowy realm of the archetypes alongside the one true "Horse" and "Fish" and "Man."
So the variations in species are merely an unavoidable result of mass production from this single template. (The cookies may all look slightly different, but the shape of the cookie cutter remains the same.)
Well, the depth of variation is staggering. From the grand canyon between an eagle and a hummingbird, to the hair's breadth gap between a Rufous Hummingbird and an Allen's Hummingbird. (identical in almost every respect, the only difference lies in a minute variation in the thickness of their outer tail feathers, a micro-detail almost impossible to see with the naked eye.)
Watching a hummingbird hover at the feeder now, drinking in our prepared sugar water, it's hard to think of it as a deformed cookie. It seems too perfect.
I think it's a Rufous.