Friday, August 08, 2008

Being Dead

Still not sure where I'm going with this here blog, but here's a quote from the latest novel we've been reading in our book club.

It's "Being Dead" by Jim Crace. I'll share my introduction with you later, but here's a taster:

'Whatever philosophical claims we might make for ourselves, human kind is only marginal. We hardly count in the natural orders of zoology. We'll not be missed.' Joseph, in a rare display of scientific passion, had told a student . . when she had been too dismissive of the earth's smaller beings. 'They might not have a sense of self, like us. Or memory. Or hope. Or consciences. Or fear of death. They might not know how strong and wonderful they are. But when every human being in the world has perished, and all our sewerage pipes and gas cookers and diesel engines have fossilized, there will still be insects.'

It has always seemed extraordinary to me that when human beings wish to insist on their superiority to other creatures, they invariably select for comparison those very human characteristics that they are naturally bound to excel in. The capacity for prolonged survival in the most extreme conditions is not one of them.

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