Pando is the largest living organism on the planet. It spans an area of over 100 acres in So. Utah, and is over 80,000 years old. It might not survive this century.
Pando is an Aspen (genera = “Populus”) forest. But Aspen’s are not individual trees; they share a common root system, and as such are a single living organism within that root system. Pando is the largest such known, and we are killing it. It has been chosen as the symbol of the encroaching ecological catastrophe, and the image of hope and imperative that is the driving force behind the 10th International Whitehead Conference. When the conference is finished, Pando Populus will be the ongoing site for linking activism, philosophical and scientific information, and community in a common root system of energy and life.The whole, “I can’t sleep in any bed that isn’t my own, and I can’t sleep in my own bed either” thing is taking its toll — and tomorrow is my “big day” in terms of presentations. Fortunately, those are already given, and the more tired I become, the less likely I am to give a sh!t about details I can’t control.
This morning’s plenary was focused on technical details rather than high-falootin’ (sp?) rhetoric. This both pleased and surprised me, and resulted in the title of this night’s post. I encourage everyone to check out the website for Pando Populus, because this is, and will become, an ongoing project.
I skipped the evening plenary for reasons I’ll not go into here.
The first two rounds of sessions that I participated in were quite good. (Recall: presentations are distributed amongst 12 SECTIONS, which have a number of TRACKS (usually 7, but it varies from as few as 5 to as many as 11, with a total of 82 for the entire conference), while each Track has 6 (or 7) sessions. There are somewhere between 1,000 and 1,400 presenters here. It is hard to calculate exactly since many presenters, including myself, overlap in multiple Sections/Tracks.) I moderated/commented on a session in the “Pop Culture” track (Section XI, Track 6), and attended a session in the “Mathematics & Intuition” track (Section IV, Track 2). Tomorrow I have both of my presentations. The first, which involves a commentary on the First Person Shooter game, Borderlands 2, requires that I wag THE BEAST (my enormous, 17″ screen laptop) around with me all day. I’m glad I’ve a friend with a vehicle here, as the thought of adding the 1 1/2 mile walk to and from the Pomona campus with this Sisyphean stone hanging off my shoulder is quite enough to lead one into unhappy existential contemplations.