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Tuesday's 'Galaxy' Insight --"The Human Species"

 

 

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“Since the first human eye saw a leaf in Devonian sandstone and a puzzled finger reached to touch it, sadness has lain over the heart of man. By this tenuous thread of living protoplasm, stretching backward into time, we are linked forever to lost beaches whose sands have long since hardened into stone. The stars that caught our blind amphibian stare have shifted far or vanished in their courses, but still that naked, glistening thread winds onward. No one knows the secret of its beginning or its end. Its forms are phantoms. The thread alone is real; the thread is life.”

Loren Eiseley,  anthropologist, philosopher, author of The Immense Journey, who was Benjamin Franklin Professor of Anthropology and History of Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

Image credit: With thanks to wallpaperup.com

Comments

No one knows if a human saw a leaf in sandstone or reached out to touch it. Not sadness but optimism has touched the heart of man. We are not linked to any lost beach. We are not amphibians nor blind. There is no naked thread and the secrets of the universe are slowly coming to light. The only phantoms are in Loren Eiseley's uneducated mind. This whole "insight" is rubbish!

Peter Smitt...That is the most idiotic comment I've ever read.

I seldom respond to stupid comments. Peter Smitt can spit out anything from his dysfunctional mind, but Loren Eiseley was certainly not un-educated. I wonder what "education" dear mister Smitt imbibed. How many humans today are such Zombies? They contaminate The Internet. I encourage controversial ideas - I put out many of my own - but they are based on research and thought. It has been decades since I read Loren, and unfortunately I had forgotten about him. I couldn't sit by and let Smitt have the final say.

It is neither a romantic nor hyperbolic or fictional assertion to say at some point the earliest ancestors of humankind looked around and began to wonder. Animals express curiosity, examine and explore their environments, and proceed to make use of materials and later adapt and evolve to conditions. The same can almost certainly be safely assumed of humankind. At some point there were poets - not as we know them today - but early synthesizers of ideas, connecting perceptions and conceptions with observations, even if they lacked the verbal tools and diction to put it into grunts or words at the time. Eventually we got to this point, and so there was a time where such observation and interpretation began and developed. Science need not be so thoroughly austere as to suggest such things never happened, as optic nerves, evolving brains, and ultimately history has revealed otherwise.

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