Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Immense Journey (1). Loren eiseley.

New York: Random House. 1946/1957.

Why read it? Series of essays concerned with the meaning of evolution. Eiseley bridges the two cultures of science and art. By profession he is a paleontologist. He views evolution as a continuing process, to become—who knows what? Men and women as they are now will not be the men and women of the far future. We are working out what we are going to be.

Eiseley’s sentences are blends of metaphor, paradox, and suggestiveness. He may seem to be speaking directly, but he almost never is. The reader of Eiseley’s essays always has plenty of room for reflection. Eiseley begins his essays with little incidents in his daily experience.

Sample quotes and ideas:

“I believe in Christ in every man who dies to contribute to a life beyond his life.” p. x. ……….

J.W. Krutch: “We think of ourselves as the climax of evolution, but we may be hardly more than its beginning.” p. xiv. ……….

J. W. Krutch: “This end in view is not mere survival but a fuller and fuller realization of the potentialities of life and mind.” ……….

J.W. Krutch: “Actually we already have more facts than we know how to interpret or how to use wisely.” p. xv.

“The creature [fossil] had never lived to see a man, and I, what was I never going to see?” p. 3. ……….

“…offered…as a somewhat unconventional record of the prowlings of one mind which has sought to explore, to understand, and to enjoy the miracles of this world.” p. 8. ……….

“...I have tried to put down such miracles as can be evoked from common earth.”

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” p. 10. ……….

“It [water] can assume forms of exquisite perfection in a snow flake, or strip the living to a single shining bone cast up by the sea.” p. 11. ……….

“No utilitarian philosophy explains a snow crystal….” p. 18. ……….

“There is no logical reason for the existence of a snowflake….” p. 19.

To be continued.

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