Unreal Nature

September 25, 2015

To a Philosophical Spider

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:39 am

This is from The Lost Notebooks of Loren Eiseley edited by Kenneth Heuer (2002, 1987):

… Last evening the largest house centipede I have ever seen died peacefully on our bathroom rug.

It is a strange thing to record the death of a centipede with the reluctance with which one speaks of the death of a pet sheepdog, but at the last I think I may have been a little confused on the whole subject. Toward the end this centipede was very tired, and like two aging animals who have come into a belated understanding with each other, we achieved a mutual tolerance, if not respect. He had ceased to run with that flowing, lightning-like menace which is part of the horror of centipedes to man; and I, in my turn, ceased to drive him away from the woolly bathroom rug on which his final desires had centered.

Scutigera_coleoptrata_MHNT_
scutigera coleoptrata [image from Wikipedia]

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“What if there are only spiders there?” a man once asked. “We always think of eternity as being vast, vast. What if it’s one narrow room, like a bathhouse in the country, black and grimy with spiders in every corner?”

I suppose that to a philosophical spider such a notion of the universe would seem a tidy and cosy one.

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In a New York subway several days ago I saw a man with a gibbon hand. Unfortunately, in the crowd I could see no more. The hand was clinging to the subway hanger. Amazing resemblance to a primate hand — long palm, almost footlike, short fingers.

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A university is a place where people pay high prices for goods which they then proceed to leave on the counter when they go out of the store.

My most recent previous post from Eiseley’s book is here.

-Julie

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