Think of the museum scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
How many splotches can you delete from a Jackson Pollock
Before it becomes wallpaper?
How many lines can you delete from a Chagall window
Before you’d be willing to install it in a McMansion?
How many colors can you delete from “Dimanche sur la Grande Jatte
Before Cameron ceases to see himself?

Everyone knows you can’t delete anyone in the chain of children.
Well, everyone but some racists.

I have a story about that.
I went to the Art Institute once,
And a homeless man outside offered to sell me a newspaper.
I was surprised by the reaction of a person nearby.

When an ecosystem loses a species,
The number of possible configurations of the ecosystem drops sharply.
The species is gone.
The links, predator-prey and vice versa, for example, from the species to other species are gone.
The effects of the species on the landscape are gone.

A degree of complexity is gone,
So when there’s another shock to the system,
Maybe another species is deleted,
There are fewer stable configurations left
To catch the system from plummeting to something near its lowest state
Of nothing much left
But wallpaper
And McMansion windows
Slowly decaying, because people can’t survive
Without unclean animals,
Economically undervalued beings,
Like God ordered Noah to load on the ark,
Even if they sold newspapers
Or preferred their own company
Or that of a Pollock
Most of the time.

The more I think about complex systems,
The more I understand the Book of Genesis,
Which says, among other things, that before the flood,
“…God saw, … that every imagination of the thoughts of [man’s] heart
“Was only evil continually.”
If you’ve met enough humans, you know
That this would not happen unless
The people considered their evil imaginations good.
What could they possibly have been imagining?

I have a guess that they were imagining the same things
We all do:
A pleasant and secure home
At a cost to other life
That we don’t even figure in,
Let alone feel.

But we can still stay God’s hand
If we learn to love,
Or even value,
Each color and line and splotch
And living being.

By the way, I just looked it up.
The Pollock in the Art Institute in the movie
Is called “Greyed Rainbow.”
If God is everywhere and God is love,
A little in me and a little in you
And in every living being,
Then what we’re doing right now
Is God breaking God’s promise to God
By loving not too little
But a little too selectively,
Thereby deleting God,
And man, as well.

God comes back.
Man wouldn’t.

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