Thursday, March 15, 2007


"Genesis On The Book Shelf"

(last piece in the book)

Putting aside the debate about man’s origin for a minute…Fallen Angel versus Risen Ape…let’s look at following estimates:

Since his appearance on this planet, man has stacked up about eight hundred life-spans. The first seven hundred and forty life-spans were spent in caves or worse. It’s only been the last sixty where man had any real shelter. It has been estimated that only in the last forty life-spans has man had any discernable, formal communications. And only the last seven life-spans saw printing. Words.

The spoken word is amazing in its own right: Sounds carried on puffs of breath that not only announce immediate and basic concerns, but transmit abstract concepts from one living person to another. With words, man created the second world; the world of culture. Words painted portraits of the past and graphic visions of the future.

The source of most elation--and dark brooding--is injected into our scrambled psyches via words. The unique greatness and the unique suffering of our species comes from knowledge we are able to pass from one individual to another. "Words" are our Eve's apple; our greatness...our suffering.

Because of words, Man is different from that mute animal whose past vaporizes quickly, and whose entire universe consists of that which lies immediately in front of him. The world of that other animal, contains no abstract anticipation; there is nothing outside his periphery to revere or fear. Nothing exists outside his periphery.

If words were the tools that led to the creation of culture, creation of the abstract, affirmation of the past, the hopes for the future, then the written word immortalized the fleeting thought, and institutionalized concepts.

You don’t need Genesis to believe in miracles. With the written word, you can sit in your solitude and share a moment or share a dream with someone who has been dead for a thousand years. How’s that for a miracle?

Table of Contents

Foreward (essay
--the fight between the "arts" and the "sciences" for the right to define man)... Upon Hearing Sarah Vaughan Sing "Dreamsville"... Scenes That Strike You Silent... I Would Fight More Fiercely... Blessing Space (essay--man's irresistible compulsion to probe)... Lazarus On A Spur Line... Self-Improvement Books... To Loren Eiseley...Alaskan Winter Night... Old Cordova (Alaska) In Summer (essay)... On The Docks... The Sailor and The Whore... To Dr. Francis Schaeffer... Crossing The Line-- Speaking Of Schaeffer (essay--the battle to define Man continues as Religion and Philosophy weigh in)... A Few Yards Short of a Poem (Written in prose form but thick with alliteration and assonance, meant to be read aloud and has been at several significant occasions)... To Don... Saturday Mornings... Sadat... Hiroshima... Introduction to 'Reflections of Pontius Pilate' (essay--Besides explaining the historical/political backdrop of Good Friday, it traces the changes in Man's view of himself)... Reflections of Pontius Pilate... Introduction to 'The Assassinations'...The Assassinations... Introduction to Uncle Russ... Uncle Russ... Take My Hand... God Bless Grandpa, Beer, and Mrs. Murphy's Chowder... Two Years Since My Father's Death... In Memory... Introduction to 'To What's-His-Name'... To What's-His-Name, Aged 24... Genesis On A Book Shelf (essay--"Words" are our Eve's Apple", the source of our greatness and our misery).