Perhaps it is a feature of our Western perspectival mentality to want to boil things down to their "true essence" or to delve into the "core" get to the Truth or to be ever on the hunt for the Center. This habit is manifest in the reductive tendencies that keep repeating themselves by substituting different names: "it all comes down to genes," or the nucleus, or the brain, or bacteria and then focusing on that spotlighted aspect of life to find the key to the rest. These habits are so deep-seated that they remain unquestioned. The ubiquitous term "seeing through the lens" of something to understand another thing in its terms, is symptomatic of a mentality that must narrow the world to the circumference of a lens. This kind of mentality cannot deal with, much less understand relationships and interdependencies. Opening to other kinds of life expands the imagination and possibility. Perhaps the center is everywhere, truth is everywhere, intelligence is everywhere in different forms, voices and languages, and immersing our own consciousness in the rhythms of other kinds of consciousness is one way for us to move beyond our narrow perceptual habits.
Paul Valéry wrote, “To the spiritual eyes, the plant presents itself not just as an object of humble passive life, but a strange will to join in a universal weaving.” This strange will to weaving seems like a good way to think beyond the container/contained model. Life does seem to weave. In this spirit, the artist Diana Scherer makes living textiles from plant roots, the architect Niklas Weisel creates vertical textiles that grow food from ugly skyscrapers, the artist/architect Tomás Saraceno collaborates with spiders, who spin three-dimensional webs that cosmologists study for insight into the cosmic web in which our galaxy is held. This strange will to weaving does not concern itself with categories but with connections.