Saturday, November 15, 2008

True North by Elliot Merrick...Read it

Here is a novel (written in 1930) that upon reading; in many instances gave me serious pause for reflection as the lines rang true with such burning clarity and insight... Rare prose indeed and yet so fundamental to thinking about the requirements of living a purposeful and meaningful life…Bravo Elliot Merrick!!!! Below is a sampling:

“…how fine it is of the unspoiled Eskimos away North to put in the grave the precious knives and spears of his kinsmen. We sniff and say that an Eskimo who dies for lack of a knife that sleeps beside a skeleton is a fool, never supposing that his custom may be the acceptance of a challenge, a wail of grief and a battle cry defiance to life, to death, to Nature kind and Nature cruel, to the shadowy future and all the engulfing incomprehensible. He doesn’t care for his own future when he stands beside a grave. But we, we think always of the future; that is the root of civilization. In this respect primitive races are certainly finer than we; that they can ignore the certain sufferings of tomorrow. It enables them to live today, which is more than civilized men do. It is inexpedient, it costs life, but it is brave. Life is so uncertain; they know how to treat it. To a certain degree, in certain ways, they provide for the future, of course, but beyond a certain point they will not go. It is not always ignorance that stops them. Many of the Indians we have met, and even some of the trappers have a fine disdain for the future that makes our foresight, our anxiety to provide every possible comfort and safety, our desire to insure against the future and establish that unattainable ideal of society, Security, show up by contrast as ugly and greedy and small. Smart, yes; but not glorious.”

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