Monday, June 8, 2009

The Star Thrower (3). Loren Eiseley.

New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 1978.

Why read it? Eiseley’s sentences and essays haunt the reader. You can’t let them go, dismiss them. They remain in your mind, hooked there by ideas and images. The lead story in this collection of his essays, “The Star Thrower,” projects the image of a lonely man walking the beach at dawn, picking up stranded starfish and flinging them back into the ocean so they can resume living. What does that image suggest to you?

Sample Quotes and Ideas:

“What is it we are part of that we do not see, as the spider was not gifted to discern my face, or my little probe into her world?” p. 120. ……….

“Civilizations…are transmitted from one generation to another in invisible puffs of air known as words….” p. 123. ………..

“Like a mutation, an idea may be recorded in the wrong time, to lie latent like a recessive gene and spring once more to life in an auspicious era.” p. 124. ………

“It has been said that great art is the night thought of man.” p. 126.

Summary of the story, “The Fifth Planet.” An amateur astronomer has been led to believe that between Mars and Jupiter there had been a fifth planet that had been blown to bits and that meteors from it were hitting Earth. He kept studying these meteors, hoping to find fossils which would prove life was “out there.” But after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he no longer cares whether he finds evidence of life on that fifth planet. He concludes that that planet, if life existed on it, probably met the fate that this planet inevitably must—blown to bits by our own technology.

Quotes from “The Star Thrower”:

“Death is the only successful collector.” p. 172. ……….

“…there is little or nothing that remains unmeasured: nothing, that is, but the mind of man.” p. 174. ……….

"The power to change is both creative and destructive.” p. 176. ………

“…tools increasingly revenged themselves upon their creators.” p. 178. ……….

“Man’s powers were finite; the forces he had released in nature recognized no such limitations.” p. 179. ……….

“I love the lost ones, the failures of the world.” p. 182. ……….

“The Thrower who loved not man, but life.” p. 185. ……….

“Somewhere, my thought persisted, there is a hurler of stars, and he walks, because he chooses, always in desolation, but not in defeat.” p. 185.

Comment: Hope you found some ideas to think about. RayS.

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