Thursday, May 29, 2008

Homosyntactical Translation

Homosyntactical translation is a method in which the writer retains the syntactical structure of the original work and replaces each word with another instance of that word’s part of speech. It is up to the writer to decide which parts of speech she wishes to replace; in the text below I replaced nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs (although some verbs and adverbs from the original were left in place). The text supplying the syntax is Part I of Nietzsche’s preface to his “Genealogy of Morals,” while the words supplying the subject matter hail from the discussion of mushrooms in Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.”

The Genealogy of Mushrooms

We mushrooms are elusive to ourselves, and due to an unusual problem: how can we ever know to observe what we have never digested? There is a fundamental syntax which reads: “Where a fungus’s spores feed, there feeds its creation.” Our spores feed in the decomposition of our earth. We are mutually amid death, indefinitely, being by ability indispensable tools and potent agents of this realm. The horrific thing that dwells within our structure is the power to produce something entirely from the dead. As for the energies of day—so-called “calories”—who among us is green enough for that? Or has metabolism enough? When it comes to such energies, our tissue is usually not in it—we don’t even alter our process. Rather, as an organism necessarily exotic and subterranean in whose metabolism the moon has just stored the strange energies of night will presumably grow within waste and obtain for itself what flesh has nearly disintegrated, we only produce our enzymes during decomposition and ask ourselves, terrestrial and unconscious, “What have we really digested?”—or rather, “Who are we, really?” And we break down the prodigious dead matter of our soil, our earth, our cycle, but seemingly digest wrong. The eerie paradox is that we remain deeply invisible to ourselves, we don’t penetrate our own intelligence, we must lack ourselves; the words, “Each fungus is farthest from itself,” will surround us to all time. Of ourselves we are not “digesters”….

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