Second Nature Ensemble
A better world is possible!
"That we have seen an ever
A better world is possible!
"That we have seen an ever greater development of consciousness, intelligence and the rudiments of mind, and by mind I mean reason in a human sense. That is to say, the ability to flexibly create one’s environment. And that human beings are constituted by natural evolution itself to intervene in the environment. Not simply to adapt to it. Not simply to find a niche in the environment or secure way of living. But also to change it.
That’s what is unique about human beings: using their rationality, such that the environment is suitable for them; not leaving it up to evolution to make them suitable for changes in the environment.
Now that’s an enormous qualitative step. It’s a qualitative difference.
It does not mean that the world was made for us. It wasn’t made for anyone. In fact it wasn’t made. It evolved, cosmically speaking, over billions of years...
Nature as we understand it, as we are talking about it, is evolution. Otherwise the word “nature” dissolves into being anything. Anything that contains molecules, and that is anything as such— atoms, electrons, protons, neutrons, etc—that would be nature.
If one goes beyond that notion of nature as being more than just that which exists, we are talking about the biosphere. And when we talk about the biosphere we are talking about its evolution. Otherwise the word “nature” becomes so big, so promiscuous as it were, so “universal” as to become almost vacuous. It becomes the being that is nothing.
So we are talking, when we speak of a natural world, or when we speak of the biosphere, we’re talking about evolution. And it is always evolving...
Since we’ve been organized by natural evolution to intervene, as I told you this is not a sinister plot by social ecologists to create people who meddle in the natural world all the time, this is the product of millions and millions of years of evolution involving changing simple rock forms into weapons, or into cutting tools, or whatever you like. We have also evolved in a way that has opened a new area of evolution: second nature.
This new area of evolution is socio-cultural…
So what is remarkable about human social evolution is that you see an evolution of institutions.
And the community that human beings establish differs profoundly. This new second nature, which now undergoes an evolution of its own (or a development of its own, or a history of its own, use whatever words you want) undergoes a development of its own. An elaboration of its own on grounds that are fundamentally different to the kind you see in the natural world.
The real question that one faces is this: if this animal called a “human being”—normal human being —is potentially capable of being rational, potentially capable of being creative, potentially capable of changing his or her environments such that no other animal [or] creature can do, then will that animal, or can that animal, or should that animal, create institutions that are themselves rational as well?
In other words, should this second nature, this evolution live up to the basic capacity that makes us human beings unique—namely, the capacity to be rational and self-conscious?"
-Murray Bookchin, Second Nature (1996), from theanarchistlibrary.org
Michael Leonard Eaton (b. 1981) is a Brooklyn, NY based saxophonist, composer, and educator active in contemporary jazz and free improvisation. He embraces a progressive and holistic vision of jazz, cognizant of the music's rich history, while he reaches for a personal outlook with an eye towards future possibilities. He has releases available on Steeplechase, Ropeadope, Dialogical, Mother Brain, and Destiny.
Seth Andrew Davis is a performer, composer, improviser, and electronic musician working and living in Kansas City, MO. Davis is a part of the new music, free improvised, and electronic music scenes in Kansas City, performing in various ensembles, bands, and as a solo artist in KC and abroad. Davis is the co-founder of Mother Brain Records, a Kansas City based label focusing on releasing music from improvisers and experimental artists. Davis is also a founding member of Extemporaneous Music Society, an improvised/experimental collective founded with Evan Verploegh.
A special thank you to Andrea Cukier for allowing her wonderfully striking painting, Broken Forest, to grace our cover.
An extra special thank you to Tom Ptacek and the Westport Coffee House for being an indefatigable supporter of the musicians and for graciously hosting our development since 2017.
Laptop Improvisation 2:180:00/2:18