"Everything impinges on everything else. Everything is potentially everywhere."

Alluvium

No one thing ever merges gradually into anything else; the steps are discontinuous, but often so very minute as to seem truly continuous. If the investigation is carried deep enough, the factor in question, instead of being graphable as a continuous process, will be seen to function by discrete quanta with gaps or synapses between, as do quanta of energy, undulations of light. The apparently definitive answer occurs when causes and effects both arise on the same large plateau which is bounded a great way off by the steep rise which announces the next plateau. If the investigation is extended sufficiently, that distant rise will, however, inevitably be encountered; the answer which formerly seemed definitive now will be seen to be at least slightly inadequate and the picture will have to be enlarged so as to include the plateau next further out. Everything impinges on everything else, often into radically different systems, although in such cases faintly. We doubt very much if there are any truly “closed systems.”

John Steinbeck

As humans, we have a tendency to artificially sever the continuum into fragments with our casual opinions which often leave no room for change, improvement, or even just “otherness”.

Our human inability to remain mentally unattached, to be free from divisive opinions, robbing us of at least a part of our humanity, is one of the greatest obstacles to us as a species.

John Steinbeck said in his book Log from the sea of Cortez:

A thing may be so “because” of a thousand and one reasons of greater or lesser importance… The separate reasons, no matter how valid, are only fragmentary parts of the picture. And the whole necessarily includes all that it impinges on as object and subject, in ripples fading with distance or depending upon the original intensity of the vortex.

The whole is necessarily everything, the whole world of fact and fancy, body and psyche, physical fact and spiritual truth, individual and collective, life and death, macrocosm and microcosm (the greatest quanta here, the greatest synapse between these two), conscious and unconscious, subject and object. The whole picture is portrayed by is, the deepest word of deep ultimate reality, not shallow or partial as reasons are, but deeper and participating.

Alluvium – organic and inorganic material deposited by rivers and streams over a period, usually most extensively developed in the lower parts of the course of the river or stream, forming floodplains and deltas. The deposits can originate from anywhere upstream along the course of flow, and if the river is fed into by smaller streams, the area of origin of the alluvial deposits becomes even greater. This sediment washed along by the water’s flow may contain any number of valuable ore and gemstones. The result of alluvium being deposited in one place means that erosion took place elsewhere – a process which, from an agricultural and conservation point of view is undesirable, yet, much of agricultural land exists on alluvium. The one can not exist without the other. Erosion has also lead to the exposure of fossils buried deep under layers of soil.

Alluvium itself being a confluence of material from a wide range of origins, is an apt metaphor for systems like cultures, cities, or even our psyches – all intrinsically linked in the same way that organisms and populations are linked within an ecosystem, the inflow of which is often driven by some sort of flow beyond our control, washing in new and unknown but often valuable substances into our being, and in the process constantly shaping, changing our inner landscape or the political landscape or the global trajectory of our collective future – changes that are inevitable.

Alluvium explores the flow and unceremonious dumping of events and people into our lives by forces greater than us – on every scale, from the personal to the global, and compares it with alluvial plains where this confluence has created something quite remarkable, but ethereal, because with the next flood, what is right now, will have changed beyond recognition.

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