Illustration by Anya Baker.

Dear Rookies,

Happy October! This month’s theme is “Human Nature,” in which we’ll explore our essential human qualities, the nature versus nurture debate, family history and ancestry, and the myriad situations in which we become raw and vulnerable and our humanity is tested. I myself have been working lately to view my most natural state—a sniveling, insecure rat-lizard—as fascinating or funny instead of so shameful that it can never be acknowledged, let alone worked through. I would also like to think that the person who wants to evolve past the rat-lizard—when I’m structuring my time, putting in the work to be less depressed, making the conscious decisions to be a good friend and partner and to like myself—is just as “real” or “true,” as much my “natural state” or “essential self,” as the rat-lizard. We’re spongy animals in a corrupt world! How could you not sometimes feel like evil, self-loathing garbage! Admitting this is the first step to unlearning one’s rat-lizard habits.

“Human Nature” also makes me think of nature as humanlike. I guess I’ve always seen it as a people-tendency to create patterns and narratives, but as Alexander McQueen once said, “There is no better designer than nature.” His collections often felt like either people and nature in total symbiosis, or nature overtaking the models as a kind of revenge. And I frequently revisit this part from the catalogue of the Museum of Jurassic Technology, whose founder I interviewed here in 2012:

“All of nature in its awful vastness and incomprehensible complexity is in the end interrelated—worlds within worlds within worlds: the seen and the unseen—the physical and the immaterial are all connected—each exerting influence on the next—bound, as it were, by chains of analogy—magnetic chains. Every decision, every action mirrors, ripples, reflects and echoes throughout the whole of creation. The world is indeed bound with secret knots.”

So, check out our Submit page, send in your own thoughts/reflections/collages/photos/videos/.gifs, and we’ll see where these worlds within worlds within worlds overlap.

T.G. Rat-Lizard, C.P.A.