snow on your nose

About an hour ago I made some delicious eggs to read Provincializing Europe by. Like I told Matt, I've rehabilitated eggs, primarily by not putting milk in them, which is gross. Proper scrambled eggs are made by essentially fucking up an omelet. Leave them runny.

Anyway, I was standing over my bastard eggs and disturbing their surface periodically so they'd clot together with the uncooked parts left at the outside-- kind of like a giant egg!-- which prompted me to think some more about Carlo Ginzburg's The Cheese and the Worms. If you haven't read it, I'd highly recommend it, and if you ever find yourself at a party talking to someone who likes history, they'll probably be excited to hear that you did.

In the book, Ginzburg examines the Inquisition records (not the Spanish Inquisition; there were lots of Inquisitions) of a sixteenth-century Italian miller (not that there was an Italy yet, but you knew that). The miller, Menocchio, believes that the universe was formed through a process analogous to putrefaction that's actually rather beautiful:
All was chaos, that is earth, air, water, and fire were mixed together; and out of that bulk a mass formed-- just as cheese is made out of milk-- and worms appeared in it, and these were the angels.

This made me think about complex internal structures in general (is some amount of inner space implied? or is space/not-space an unnecessary distinction for a really excellent internal structure). Matt has architecture dreams that he tells me about and which usually make me imagine very high ceilings and, well, a lot of internal space. What's beautiful about these buildings is, in large measure, the way they manipulate space, and so it's space that has to impress you for these buildings to.

But my eggs around noon also had a complex internal structure (the one I created, at the delicious level; also, I assume, the one baby Jesus created, at the molecular level or something) that was beautiful to watch form. And the angel worms in the cheese seem, to Menocchio and anyone like me who stopped taking science as soon as it seemed viable, to come from nowhere. They're miraculous because it's unclear where they came from and where they even should have had room to appear in a dense mass.

Sometimes I wonder if studying historiography hasn't forced me to philosophize rather more than I like to, or more than my little brain is really equipped to do. But on another note, I think it's interesting that Menocchio's materialist peasant tradition, which treats religion as a worldly thing useful for governing one's relationships and behavior, got him tortured and killed by a Church in which you can be saved by works.

I also think it's interesting that Jesuit priests with Pill-sniffing dogs haven't burst into my Wednesday noon Russian class to drag me away from Loyola forever and make me work in the head shop downstairs or something, but that's a story for another day.


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