Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Star Thrower. Loren Eiseley. Significant Sentences 17

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 Essay: "How Natural is 'Natural' "?

" our day he [man] has pierced so deeply through the screen of appearances that the age-old distinctions between matter and energy have been dimmed to the point of disappearance." p. 283.

"He [man] holds the heat of suns within his hands and threatens with it both the lives and the happiness of his unborn descendants." p. 284.

Pascal: "There is nothing natural which we do not destroy." p. 284.

"As society improves physically, we assume the improvement of the individual and are all the more horrified at those mass movements of terror which have so typified the first half of the twentieth century." p. 284.

"The special value of science lies not in what it makes of the world, but in what it makes of the knower." p. 291.

"The Renaissance thinkers were right when they said that man, the Microcosm, contains the Macrocosm." p. 293.

Kierkegaard: "Maturity consists in the discovery that there comes a critical moment where everything is reversed, after which the point becomes to understand more and more that there is something which cannot be understood." p. 294.

"Man's quest for certainty is, in the last analysis, a quest for meaning." p. 295.

" see, beyond the natural, to that inexpressible realm in which the words 'natural' and 'supernatural' cease to have meaning." p. 296.

Reflections: You can't get more cryptic than the last sentence. I think Eiseley means that at some point the natural and the supernatural come together as one entity. Make of that what you want.

I really like the sentence on page 291 that the goal of science is not what it makes of the world but what it makes of the knower. What does that sentence mean to you? RayS.

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