In the beginning (Biblical reference, and admission of the unscientific nature of my explanation), there were single celled organisms. The world was amoebas. I will call it the Amoeba World.
In the Amoeba World there was no internal conflict – the amoeba had a sense of inner peace, perhaps. So the Amoeba World is like an idyllic paradise – an Eden – of amoebas living without internal conflict.
Original sin is the evolution of multicellular organisms. And the intra-action that occurs within the individual – multicellular – organism.
The evolution of consciousness – human (or higher order animal intelligence) – and language isn’t the original sin that destroys the idyllic Eden of the single celled amoebas (please, give me a pass on the metaphor, amoeba is poetic word choice). Rather, the human mind – with words – can describe this internal conflict that existed in the earliest forms of multicellular life.
One of these early multicellular creatures – the subject of this lunacy – is the baitfish.
The baitfish – to my knowledge – has no language insofar as it does not communicate ideas with words.
But it is a conflicted creature, and this conflict, that exists within the dying baitfish – communicates a clear message to predators:
I’m not suggesting that the dying baitfish is a suicidal creature. Instead. I’m saying that there is a conflict within the baitfish – the dying baitfish – that sends a message to bigger, predatory fish, to dispatch of it. To swallow it, digest it, and reduce it to shit.
That message isn’t sophisticated human language. It is conflict.
The cells of the fish want to survive. When one has a burst of desire (metaphor) to live, perhaps a chemical or electrical energy is released, which is received as if it were a message by all the other cells that make up the baitfish. It causes synchronous, reflexive, unconscious motion.
It isn’t flight directed by the brain of the baitfish.
It is synchronized – the burst of motion in the dying baitfish – because there is no message from the brain to supersede it. There are no instructions coming from the brain to do some other, synchronous motion – like to change direction, or to go lay an egg, or something like that.
So the cells of the dying fish are like individuals now – not taking orders from the brain.
I am suggesting that random bursts of energy – that cause flight in a single celled organism – can be perceived and acted upon, synchronously, by a population of single celled organisms in close proximity.
The dying baitfish is like a concentration of individual single celled organisms now…
The sudden, impulses that appear to be coordinated by a brain are not coordinated by the brain at all.
The brain is resigned.
It gives up control.
But the cells don’t ever give up.
And so the cells are saying “I am alive, I am organic, I am edible.”
The bursts of motion say that.
And the cells won’t stop bursting with motion, at random intervals, because the brain does not put a stop to it.
Perhaps it can’t. It is dying.
But this is the biological basis of altruism.
The brain goes passive.
It allows death to come.
While the individual cells still struggle for life.
It is this conflict between the parts and the whole that gives the baitfish up as easy prey to the predator fish.
And it saves the rest of the baitfish from being targeted, at least under conditions where there isn’t a blitz or some other survival mechanism that causes more aggressive predation that doesn’t discriminate between the weak and the strong.
So why did I catch the striper?
Long casts, quick retrieves.
They suck in ordinary conditions.
Because under ordinary conditions, predators take out the weak and dying baitfish, and they behave like I just described.
The long cast and quick retrieve means a top water presentation.
It won’t catch fish.
But the irony is this…
The long cast is life. The quick retrieve is urgency.
It is coordinated by a conscious brain – yours – whose identity is being defined, in the moment, relative to the success of his peer fishermen.
You cast long and strong, and retrieve quick and energetically, because you are competing with your fellow fishermen.
Like a strong baitfish who ain’t never gonna get eaten.
Now I, on the other hand, cast short and deep.
I was tired and depressed.
My mind was not so much guiding the motions of my fly.
Instead, you guys kinda forced me to be out there fishing.
And thank God you did.
Because, ironically, nature has a way of giving itself up to the weak.
The strong striper to me.
Just like it works the other way as well.
The weak, dying baitfish to the striper.