self-organizing iterative feedback of our own consciousness,nmust also be subtly guided and conditioned by futurenobservers. Our own wave function is being collapsed bynfuture awarenesses that we will help to bring into being andnthat will in turn ratify our existence and help us to fall into andefinitive shape.nI know perfectly well that my own mind is not capable innitself of those leaps or marvelous compactions into a newnthought that it undergoes in the process of composing anpoem or a creative essay. Perhaps this feeling itself, of therenbeing some niche or prepared receptor for the heavy currentnof thought, some attractor that will emerge out of itsnturbulence, was what the Greeks meant by the Muse.nSometimes she speaks with unmistakable and imperiousntongue (yet she is so delicate, so easily deniable, is she not?),nsometimes in a still, small voice; but if one had nevernexperienced her, and suddenly heard her voice for the firstntime, one would be convinced that one were in the presencenof the supernatural, or that one were hallucinating thoughtsnnot of one’s own making. Only when she is, as she is, a dailynsource of insight and surprised reminder, do we take hernvoice as normal and unremarkable. But without it how dullnand dim the world would be!nAll cultures know of them, these spirits or kamis orn”presences / That piety, passion or affection knows,” asnYeats put it, these beautiful and terrible animate forms thatnvisited Lot and Abraham and Jacob and Ezekiel. The reportnof them is so widespread that they must represent somenreality. Let us name these future knowers of us, thesenobserver-participants in the creation and generation of ournnature and being. They are the angels.nBut as the argument implies, they are not only thenattractors and subtie guides of our action, our creativenevolution. They are also its result. Angels are painted asnbabies, as putti; of course, because they are our children, ournunborn descendants. Children, but evidently childrennwinged with incalculable power and complexity of purpose;nas far beyond us as we are beyond the dim wonderings ofnpithecanthropus; as they were beyond the animals, plants,nminerals, and physical particles that preceded them — thosenforerunners that, by observing, we lend a more distinctnbeing:nFriihe Gegliickte, ihr Verwohnten der Schopfund,nHohenziige, morgenrotliche Gratenaller Erschaffung,—Pollen der hliihenden Gottheit,nGelenke des Lichtes, Gdnge, Treppen, Throne,nRdume aus Wesen, Schilde aus Wonne, Tumultenstilrmisch entziickten Gefiihls und plotzlich,neinzeln,nSpiegel: die die entstromte eigene Schonheitnwiederschopfen zuriick in das eigene Antlitz.nEarly successes, favorites of fond Creation,nranges, summits, dawn-red ridgesnof all forthbringing, — pollen of blossomingngodhead,njunctures of light, corridors, stairways, thrones,nchambers of essence, shields of felicity, tumultsnof stormily-rapturous feeling, and suddenly,nseparate,n24/CHRONICLESnnnmirrors, drawing up again their own.noutstreamed beauty into their own faces.n— Rilke on angels, repeating much that we know fromnEzekiel and Blake and Giotto, and more strangely the ritualnart of Indonesia and China and Tibet, the dragon-forms ofnMayan vision-carvings, of African and Eskimo spirit-masks;nthe authentic voice of the shaman.nIf the angels are our children, what must we do to bringnthem into being? — for clearly they are so beautiful thatnwe ought to bring them into being. Having once experiencednthem, one can be in no doubt of the value’snexistence, could one have but the smallest role in-opening tonthem the gates of history.nWe are at a remarkable juncture in our own history andnindeed of the history of the cosmos: when evolutionnbecomes fully self-aware, when nature finds the theme andnmode it has sought from the beginning. Not that the changenthat is coming will be utterly unprecedented. We havenalways been capable of directing our own evolution: in thentraditional way, by choosing mates who have the beauty andnwit and capacity for love and strength of mind that will leadnthe species by increments toward the more deeply human;nand we know the more deeply human as horse breedersnknow racing temperament and apple breeders know a noblenstrain, even before we have good examples of what we arenafter. In like fashion a poet recognizes the line or cadence ornimage as truly part of the unborn poem. But now thatnprocess has become irretrievably self-conscious, and isnassisted by a more and more powerful battery of technicalnaids.nHowever shocking and terrifying is the idea of biologicalnengineering, we cannot now lay it aside. If we want angels,nshould we not build and beget them? Genes can be altered,nadded, removed; and, more excitingly, new studies shownthat we use only a tiny fraction of our DNA, and that ourndevelopment and mature being depends almost as much onna unique pattern of suppression and expression of the genesnwe already have, as on what the genes are to begin with.nThis pattern itself may be subject to craft and sculpture.nEspecially in this area, now known as epigenetics, andnencompassing the older, more empirical sciences of embryologynand development, some of the ancient enemies ofnhumankind — cancer, aging, immune deficiencies, neurochemicalndiseases — now seem to be revealing their weaknesses.nSlowly, infinitely carefully, in fear and trembling, we willncontinue what we have already started: the correction ofninherited diseases, the repair of genetic deficits, the tuning ofnthe chemistry of mood, memory, and thought so as tonexpress fully, rather than in its present muffled and cripplednform, the special grandeur of each individual’s inheritance.nThose who are great artists, athletes, givers, scientists, lovers,nknow the sweet clarity and power of perfect work and action,nin moments that are tragically brief but which neverthelessnmake a lifetime worthwhile. But they also know the stiflingnburden of their own usual stupidity, forgetfulness, depression,nirritated spite and sheer incapacity: as when you look atna certain kind of problem in a field for which you have nontalent, and nothing happens, the quick insight does not flow.n