Unreal Nature

April 24, 2015

That We Do Not See

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:43 am

… he is at heart a listener and a searcher …

This is from the essay ‘The Hidden Teacher’ found in The Unexpected Universe by Loren Eiseley (1994, 1964):

… She knew the tug of the wind, the fall of a raindrop, the flutter of a trapped moth’s wing. Down one spoke of the web ran a stout ribbon of gossamer on which she could hurry out to investigate her prey.

Curious, I took a pencil from my pocket and touched a strand of the web. Immediately there was a response. The web, plucked by its menacing occupant, began to vibrate until it was a blur. Anything that had brushed claw or wing against that amazing snare would be thoroughly entrapped. As the vibrations slowed, I could see the owner fingering her guidelines for signs of struggle. A pencil point was an intrusion into this universe for which no precedent existed. Spider was circumscribed by spider ideas; its universe was spider universe. All outside was irrational, extraneous, at best, raw material for spider.

[ … ]

… Let man spin his web, I thought … ; it is his nature. But I considered also the work of the phagocytes swarming in the rivers of my body, the unresting cells in their mortal universe. What is it we are a part of that we do not see, as the spider was not gifted to discern my face, or my little probe into her world?

… As we turn from the galaxies to the swarming cells of our own being, which toil for something, some entity beyond their grasp, let us remember man, the self-fabricator who came across an ice age to look into the mirrors and the magic of science. Surely he did not come to see himself or his wild visage only. He came because he is at heart a listener and a searcher for some transcendent realm beyond himself.

My previous post from Eiseley’s book is here.

-Julie

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