Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Star Thrower. Loren Eiseley. Significant Sentences 07.

Significant sentences from Loren Eiseley's The Star Thrower, a collection of Eiseley's essays on nature and humanity's relationship to it.

Title of the Essay: "The Hidden Teacher."

"Sometimes the best teacher teaches only once to a small child or to a grownup past hope." p. 116.

"...I once received an unexpected lesson from a spider." p. 177.

"And war it has been indeed--the long war of life against its inhospitable environment, a war that has lasted for perhaps three billion years." p. 118.

"The student of fossil life would be forced to tell us that if we take the past into consideration the vast majority of earth's creatures--perhaps over 90 percent--have vanished." p. 118.

"The specialized perish with the environment that created them." p. 119.

"...there had at last emerged a creature with a specialization--the brain--that, paradoxically, offered escape from specialization." p. 119.

"Man, too, lies at the heart of a web, a web extending through the starry reaches of sidereal space, as well as backward into the dark realm of prehistory." p. 119.

"Is man at heart any different from the spider?" p. 120.

"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.

"But beyond lies the great darkness of the ultimate Dreamer, who dreamed the light and the galaxies." p. 120.

"He [man] came because he is at heart a listener and a searcher...." p. 121.

"Nature teaches, though what it teaches is often hidden and obscure." p. 121.

"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.

"Upon this world, life is still young, not truly old as stars are measured." p. 124.

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

" knowledge we may grow beyond our past, our follies, and ever closer to what the Dreamer in the dark intended." p. 128.

"In the pages of an old book it has been written that we are in the hands of a Teacher, nor does it yet appear what man shall be." p. 128.

Reflections: This essay is almost mystical in its reach into the world beyond man, to the "Dreamer" who set the universe in motion, the hidden Teacher who is leading humanity to what it can be. The theme is a familiar one for Eiseley, who believes that man is evolving, that he is not in his final form, that he can become something better, and in this essay, he is suggesting that the universe, nature and its origin, the "Dreamer," are all hidden teachers showing us the way. What is it that we do not see, just as the spider did not see Eiseley who intervened in his web to help? Man, says Eiseley, is growing, improving, led by the "hidden teachers."

A hopeful thought for all of us pessimists out here, who watch "Action News" each night where, "if it bleeds, it leads," becomes the lead story for the night--murder, drugs, rape, fire and the general mayhem of man's inhumanity to man and beast.

Why read books? We need the hopeful ideas of people like Loren Eiseley.

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