(un)natural: Ideas about naturalness in public and political debates about science, technology and medicine


Published 30/11/2015

Booklet cover
Naturalness quotes

we have learned to imitoot you exarktly.’ – The Simpsons, ‘Tree House of Horror VII’

The doppelganger arrived in the small hours

with a suitcase of clothes identical to mine

down to the last crease and palm oil stain

(the institute is meticulous about such things).

A team of techno-detectives have condensed

my digital footprint to the perfect wallet litter:

train tickets, a Polaroid taken on the day

of my graduation, a receipt from the Museo

Nacional de Antropología’s gift shop.

Every detail fits my natural inclinations.

Still, something sticks, and here the doppelganger

is to divine the finer points of my ontology.

We begin with the day Burial fell into hearing,

a side-street in Newcastle, headphones itching

the skin of my ears. He has a lot of questions

I cannot answer in any language I speak.

After several weeks the doppelganger leaves

to complete his mission. He stands in for me

with such fidelity I have, at times, slipped

and started thinking we are one and the same.

Some days it is hard to know who imitates who.

If, after all, I am not the sum of my habits

but a mass of tangled possibilities, then maybe

I am pretending to be him pretending to be me.