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Quotes of the day: Loren Eiseley

Published Saturday, September 03, 2016 @ 1:51 AM EDT
Sep 03 2016

Loren Eiseley (September 3, 1907 - July 9, 1977) was an American anthropologist, educator, philosopher, and natural science writer, who taught and published books from the 1950s through the 1970s. He received many honorary degrees and was a fellow of multiple professional societies. At his death, he was Benjamin Franklin Professor of Anthropology and History of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


As for men, those myriad little detached ponds with their own swarming corpuscular life, what were they but a way that water has of going about beyond the reach of rivers?

Content is a word unknown to life; it is also a word unknown to man.

Each one of us is a statistical impossibility around which hover a million other lives that were never destined to be born.

Every man contains within himself a ghost continent.

Evolution has to be lived forward.

If it should turn out that we have mishandled our own lives as several civilizations before us have done, it seems a pity that we should involve the violet and the tree frog in our departure.

If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.

In the desert, an old monk had once advised a traveler, the voices of God and the Devil are scarcely distinguishable.

It has been asserted that we are destined to know the dark beyond the stars before we comprehend the nature of our own journey.

It has been said repeatedly that one can never, try as he will, get around to the front of the universe. Man is destined to see only its far side, to realize nature only in retreat.

It is frequently the tragedy of the great artist, as it is of the great scientist, that he frightens the ordinary man.

Life may exist in yonder dark, but it will not wear the shape of man.

Like the herd animals we are, we sniff warily at the strange one among us.

Man is always marveling at what he has blown apart, never at what the universe has put together, and this is his limitation.

Many of us who walk to and fro upon our usual tasks are prisoners drawing mental maps of escape.

Modern man lives increasingly in the future and neglects the present.

One does not meet oneself until one catches the reflection from an eye other than human.

Seek out the sunshine. It is a simple prescription. Avoid the darkness.

The future is neither ahead nor behind, on one side or another. Nor is it dark or light. It is contained within ourselves; its evil and good are perpetually within us.

The journey is difficult, immense. We will travel as far as we can, but we cannot in one lifetime see all that we would like to see or to learn all that we hunger to know.

The need is not really for more brains, the need is now for a gentler, a more tolerant people than those who won for us against the ice, the tiger and the bear. The hand that hefted the ax, out of some old blind allegiance to the past fondles the machine gun as lovingly. It is a habit man will have to break to survive, but the roots go very deep.

The plan is not what you think.

We are one of many appearances of the thing called Life; we are not its perfect image, for it has no perfect image except Life, and life is multitudinous and emergent in the stream of time.

We cannot pluck a flower witout disturbing a star.

We think we learn from teachers, and we sometimes do. But the teachers are not always to be found in school or in great laboratories. Sometimes what we learn depends upon our own powers of insight.

Categories: Loren Eiseley, Quotes of the day


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