The Intelligence of the Soul


My magnum opus, currently titled The Russian American School of Tomorrow (rasot) is under the scrutiny of beta readers

My beta readers have pointed out some discrepencies and confusing parts. In one section, I describe the shopping for bread in Russia:

I saw a dark building right by; that must be the bread store. I ducked in, the warm yeasty smell so inviting after the freezing outside. Darker inside than out, it was quite small. Raw plywood sheets had been nailed against two-by-fours around the top half of the room, to create slanted bread bins. Some of the shelves even had the tall dense loaves on them. The bread was naked to the touch and cost 75 kopeks.

My reader asked what I meant by “naked to the touch.” Was I being overly poetic?

I meant that they weren’t in plastic bags, or any kind of bag. Plastic bags existed in Mirnyy in 1992, but not the throwaway disposable kind we have become accustomed to. For allĀ  I know, Russia is as coated in plastic now as America was then.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? I am thinking of the movie “The Graduate” One word. Plastics.

I was watching the outstanding Genius of Design again. It was the episode that talks about the chair…the one-piece plastic chair. Back when it was avant garde art. Now it is 6 dollars each at the big box store. Because of plastic. We think in plastic. The guy at the end of the documentary said “Plastic is 100% human intelligence”

Oh boy. Now we have to think about that. What is plastic? What is human intelligence?

The plastic that first was used to invent the one-piece chair isn’t the same plastic we use now. We have better plastic. We have better intelligence.


Plastic has taken on a new meaning. It is an adjective and an adverb. We should be plastic. We should be especiallly plastic about our ideas of plastic.

Wanting things to be moldable and pleasant to the touch and durable and manufacturable…We have a new technology. It’s all over the news right now. 3D printers use plastics to take a thought–a computer drawing–and make them real.

they use more than plastic. We have made other materials more plastic. Metal has been changed and treated into a powder which will react and then solidify with a 3D printer.

So will wood, when made into the right form.

The idea of plastic has been so compelling, so seductive, that we are inventing plastics that aren’t plastic.

And now I am thinking of something Margaret Fuller said:

Whatever the soul knows how to seek, it cannot fail to obtain.