Gravity's Rainbow

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Escaping the dog

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From Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog:

We are good primates, so we spend most of our time maintaining and defending our territory, so that it will protect and gratify us; climbing – or trying not to slide down – the tribe’s hierarchical ladder, and fornicating in every manner imaginable – even mere phantasams.  Thus we use up a considerable amount of our energy in intimidation and seduction, and these two strategies alone ensure the quest for territory, hierarchy and sex that gives life to our conatus.  But none of this touches our consciousness.  We talk about love, about good and evil, philosophy and civilization, and we cling to these respectable icons the way a tick clings to its nice big warm dog.

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