A Journey to the Great Deeps with Loren Eiseley

Loren Eisley

“Whenever I see a frog’s eye low in the water warily ogling the shoreward landscape, I always think inconsequentially of those twiddling mechanical eyes that mankind manipulates nightly from a thousand observatories. Someday, with a telescopic lens an acre in extent, we are going to see something not to our liking, some looming shape outside there across the great pond of space.

“Whenever I catch a frog’s eye I am aware of this, but I do not find it depressing. I stand quite still and try hard not to move or lift a hand since it would only frighten him. And standing thus it finally comes to me that this is the most enormous extension of vision of which life is capable: the projection of itself into other lives. This is the lonely, magnificent power of humanity. It is, far more than any spatial adventure, the supreme epitome of the reaching out.”

The above are the last two paragraphs from an essay titled “The Great Deeps,” which is included in a book by the title of The Immense Journey: An Imaginative Naturalist Explores the Mysteries of Man and Nature. I’ve happened to stumble upon this writer today, the name of which had eluded me thus far. My foray has amounted to not more than two essays. But I can already see the sparks kindling, the muffled tones of a gigantic wave soon approaching – a wave that doesn’t promise to swallow, but instead gently surrounds and submerges me into the depths of life on this planet. Such a premonition seems almost inexplicable to me and perhaps I might let it remain so.

Every once in a while, all of us come across an author whom we immediately resonate with at a deeper wavelength. It’s not often that I meet such kindred spirits on the page, the composer of which also happens to be an archeologist, anthropologist, and a pupil of nature and its biodiversity. But this above-mentioned essay has had such an impact already – what sort of impact, I know not yet, that I’ve now thus taken it upon myself to be his pupil in the days and months to follow. Therefore, dear reader, I apologize for the lack of content as I really don’t know much at this moment. But it would be very hard to go wrong with the book I’ve linked to above. I also find wikipedia to be a good and quick 101. These two heads-up aside, I hope to provide you with some form of a bracing when I publish my ruminations and reflections on the ideas of this person.

Updates to follow soon. If any of you have read his works before, do comment away.


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