NABOKV-L post 0018419, Wed, 1 Jul 2009 16:25:45 -0300

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Re: THOUGHTS: VN and intelligent design
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Tom Rymor [addressing Dear Nabokoholics] writes: Regarding VN's published remarks on evolution, and his feeling that there is more to mimicry than meets the eye, I speculate that being quoted in support of creationism/intelligent design would have displeased him.[...] Old McNab is in the Grand Potato story as a designer of butterflies because of his flyleaf dedications with drawings of fanciful species. And for VN's intelligence, needless to say. But not to promote intelligent design!

JM: I should have added Tom's remarks to my example about "to victors, the potatoes". Machado de Assis' arguments deal with a precocious darwininian proposition for "the survival of the fittest" and the life-struggle. Machado's character, Quincas Borba, believes that "peace is destruction; war is conservation," because his point of view doesn't take sides or stress the importance of the individual: all that matters is the continuation of "life" - whatever shape it needs to assume to go on prospering. Nevertheless, Nabokov worried about personal survival and the preservation of individual memories, something that is not at all "darwinesque".

In Tom's sci-fi there is no place for chance, but enough room for personal memories and individual "designs".
In Nabokov's there is chance (randomness and coincidence) and there is design (art), but his personal living memories have no certified survival should they be transposed, as in Tom's story, from a sub-sub to a sub-prime level - unless Nabokov manages to believe in an "intelligent design".

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