In a universe devoid of life, any life at all would be immensely meaningful. We ARE that meaning. 'And what we see, 'says the poet Mary Oliver, 'is the world that cannot cherish us, but which we cherish.' As though life itself is the great, universal, unrequited love of all time. But there is even more to this. Deep mystery. We are the universe aware of itself. We let the miracle get lost in distractions. On a planet so rich with living companions, much of humanity sentences itself to solitary confinement. Late at night, I used to lie in my boat listening to radio calls from ships to families ashore. There was only one conversation, and it boils down to, 'I love you and I miss you: come home safe.' Connections make us individuals. Ironic, isn't it? The more connected, the more unique our life becomes...
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APACarl Safina Quotes. (n.d.). Jar of Quotes. Retrieved , from JarofQuotes.com Web site: https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=in-universe-devoid-life-any-life-at-all-would-be-immensely-meaningful-we-are-that-meaning-and-what-we-see-says-poet-mary-oliver-is-world-that-cannot-cherish-us-but-which-we-cheri
ChicagoCarl Safina Quotes. Jar of Quotes, 2019. https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=in-universe-devoid-life-any-life-at-all-would-be-immensely-meaningful-we-are-that-meaning-and-what-we-see-says-poet-mary-oliver-is-world-that-cannot-cherish-us-but-which-we-cheri, accessed .
MLA"Carl Safina Quotes." Jar of Quotes, 2019. . https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=in-universe-devoid-life-any-life-at-all-would-be-immensely-meaningful-we-are-that-meaning-and-what-we-see-says-poet-mary-oliver-is-world-that-cannot-cherish-us-but-which-we-cheri
For proponents of ecosystem-based management,the good news is that another new book, Ecosystem-based Management for the Oceans, conveys the topic at its state-of-the-art level of development...both Marine Ecosystems and Global Change and Ecosystem-based Management for the Oceans are valuable troves that could profitably be mined, and any academic bookshelf would wear them well.
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Saving the world requires saving democracy. That requires well-informed citizens. Conservation, environment, poverty, community, education, family, health, economy- these combine to make one quest: liberty and justice for all. Whether one's special emphasis is global warming or child welfare, the cause is the same cause. And justice comes from the same place being human comes from: compassion.
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A painting is nothing more than light reflected from the surface of a pigment-covered canvas. But a great painter can make you see the depth, make you feel the underlying emotion, make you sense the larger world. That, too, is the power of science: to sense and convey the depth and dimensionality of nature, to glance at the surface and to divine the shape of the universe around us.
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We are one knot in a great web of being, building out of the vast past and (with luck) continuing billions of years into the future, until the sun dies, the last of its energy reaches Earth, and our local light goes out. The most appropriate response to the world is to realize, with awe, the ferocious mystery of being alive in it. And act accordingly. The worst thing anyone should be able to say about their life is also the greatest thing anyone can say: 'I tried my best.
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One note is not music. It is what lies between the notes that makes the music. And what is between them is: their relationship. Relationships are the music life makes. Context creates meaning. Asking, "What is the meaning of life?" is the wrong question; it makes you look in the wrong places. The question is, "Where is the meaning in life?" The place to look is: between.
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Ethics that focus on human interactions, morals that focus on humanity's relationship to a Creator, fall short of these things we've learned. They fail to encompass the big take-home message, so far, of a century and a half of biology and ecology: life is- more than anything else- a process; it creates, and depends on, relationships among energy, land, water, air, time and various living things. It's not just about human-to-human interaction; it's not just about spiritual interaction. It's about all interaction. We're bound with the rest of life in a network, a network including not just all living things but the energy and nonliving matter that flows through the living, making and keeping all of us alive as we make it alive. We can keep debating ideologies and sending entreaties toward heaven. But unless we embrace the fuller reality we're in- and reality's implications- we'll face big problems.
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Another big group of dolphins had just surfaced alongside our moving vessel-leaping and splashing and calling mysteriously back and forth in their squeally, whistly way, with many babies swift alongside their mothers. And this time, confined to just the surface of such deep and lovely lives, I was becoming unsatisfied. I wanted to know what they were experiencing, and why to us they feel so compelling, and so-close. This time I allowed myself to ask them the question that was forbidden fruit: Who are you? Science usually steers firmly from questions about the inner lives of animals. Surely they have inner lives of some sort. But like a child who is admonished that what they really want to ask is impolite, a young scientist is taught that the animal mind-if there is such-is unknowable. Permissible questions are 'it' questions: where it lives; what it eats; what it does when danger threatens; how it breeds. But always forbidden-always forbidden-is the one question that might open the door: 'Who?' - Carl Safina
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The last glow of sundown dims away. Stars appear in the east. Night encloses us. The ocean seems to enlarge. When you're adrift at night, imagination and perception merge. They have to. You can't see as well, as far, as deep. You tie knots by muscle memory, and you operate your reel mostly by feel. Your boat drifts, your thoughts drift. You sense the sweep of tide and water, and the boat gets rocked in turbulence just past each undersea ridgeline and boulder field. You, too, are looking up, searching constellations, dreaming. You fell again how flexible and expansive your mind can be when it's working right. And you slip your leash to explore the vast vault of sky and great interior spaces.
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It's hard to walk briskly at this time of year; the accelerating pace of unfolding spring slows my own. I repeatedly stop- to watch what's moving. Soon the torrent of migrants will completely overwhelm my ability to keep up with all the changes. But it's easy to revel in the exuberance and the sense of rebirth, renewal.
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I am impressed anew by... how much the harshness that challenges life is what causes the beauty. Birds fly because they must escape predators and search for food. Trees grow skyward because they compete fiercely with other trees for light. Living things need something to push off of. Each of us needs challenges to give us the right shape.
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The coast is an edgy place. Living on the coast presents certain stark realities and a wild, rare beauty. Continent confronts ocean. Weather intensifies. It's a place of tide and tantrum; of flirtations among fresh- and saltwaters, forests and shores; of tense negotiations with an ocean that gives much but demands more. Every year the raw rim that is this coast gets hammered and reshaped like molten bronze. This place roils with power and a sometimes terrible beauty. The coast remains youthful, daring, uncertain about tomorrow. The guessing, the risk; in a way, we're all thrill seekers here.
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Whenever we take the focus off ourselves and move it outward, we benefit. Life's most fortunate ironies are that what's best for the long run is best now, and selflessness serves our interests far better than selfishness. The wider our circle of considerations, the more stable we make the world-and the better the prospects for human experience and for all we might wish. The core message of each successive widening: we are one. The geometry of the human voyage is not linear; it's those ripples whose circles expand to encompass self, other, community, Life, and time.
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Summer has weeks left, but once the calendar displays the word 'September, ' you'd think it was Latin for 'evacuate.' I pity them for missing the best weather and the most energized time of year... It's an extremely impressive display of life at the apogee of summer, the year's productivity mounded and piled past the angle of repose. It is a world lush with the living, a world that-despite the problems- still has what it takes to really produce.
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People have been on earth in our present form for only about 100, 000 years, and in so many ways we're still ironing out our kinks. These turtles we've been traveling with, they outrank us in longevity, having earned three more zeros than we. They've got one hundred million years of success on their resume, and they've learned something about how to survive in the world. And this, I think, is part of it: they have settled upon peaceful career paths, with a stable rhythm. If humans could survive another one hundred million years, I expect we would no longer find ourselves riding bulls. It's not so much that I think animals have rights; it's more that I believe humans have hearts and minds- though I've yet to see consistent, convincing proof of either. Turtles may seem to lack sense, but they don't do senseless things. They're not terribly energetic, yet they do not waste energy... turtles cannot consider what might happen yet nothing turtles do threatens anyone's future. Turtles don't think about the next generation, but they risk and provide all they can to ensure that there will be one. Meanwhile, we profess to love our own offspring above all else, yet above all else it is they from whom we daily steal. We cannot learn to be more like turtles, but from turtles we could learn to be more human. That is the wisdom carried within one hundred million years of survival. What turtles could learn from us, I can't quite imagine.
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The world is changing because we're changing it. And that makes me understand, at least, what kind of person I'd like to be. A person can seek ways, whether big or small, to heal the world. That, to me, is spirituality and one's 'soul.' Not some disembodied eternal wishfulness but a way of being that, most days, I can work on. Life is like walking with a flashlight on a dark night. You can't see your destination, but each step illuminates the next few steps, and, taking one after another, you can get where you need to go. Only now, we'll need to quicken our pace if we are to avoid major upheaval in this century. It's up to us not just as individuals but as citizens of nations and of the world.
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We look at the world through our own eyes, naturally. But by looking from the inside out, we see an inside-out world. This book takes the perspective of the world outside us-a world in which humans are not the measure of all things, a human race among other races... In our estrangement from nature we have severed our sense of the community of life and lost touch with the experience of other animals... understanding the human animal becomes easier in context, seeing our human thread woven into the living web among the strands of so many others.
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And finally I saw that the very land itself had risen, that the sunbaked land had taken form as something vast and alive, and was in motion. The land walked as multitudes, their strides so utterly of the earth that they seemed the source of the very dust. The cloud they raised engulfed us, seeped into every pore, coated our teeth, seeped into our minds. Both flesh and metaphor. That big. And you could see their heads, like warriors' shields. Their great breaths, gushing in and out, resonant in the halls of their lungs. The skin as they moved, wrinkled with time and wear, batiked with the walk of ages, as if they lived within the creased maps of the lives they've traveled. Travelers across landscapes, and through timescapes. The skin moving like swishing corduroy, textured and rough but sensitive to the slightest touch. The grind of their cobblestone molars as, sheaf by sheaf and mouthful by mouthful, they acquire the world. All the while uttering the contented purring of mounds of memories. Their rumbles rolling through the air like distant thunder approaching, vibrating through the undulating ground and the roots of trees, rallying families and friends from the hills and rivers, sending among themselves greetings and recognitions and news of where they have been; sending to us a sign of something coming. A mind moves a mountainous mass of muscle and bone, the brown eyes light a landscape, and one elephant rumbles in. See her squared brow, trace the tracks of snake-size blood vessels. Heralded by her own trumpet, applauded by her own clapping ears, she strikes us as timeless and a bit sublime, aware and deliberative, peaceful and nurturing and deadly dangerous as needs arise. Wise only within the confines of her capabilities, like us. Vulnerable. As we all are. 'Delicate and mighty, awesome and enchanted, ' wrote Peter Matthiessen of them in The Tree Where Man Was Born, 'commanding the silence ordinarily reserved for mountain peaks, great fires, and the sea.' Silence. Watch. Simply listen. They will not speak to us, but to each other they say much. Some of it, we hear. The rest is beyond words.
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Fishing provides time to think, and reason not to. If you have the virtue of patience, an hour or two of casting alone is plenty of time to review all you've learned about the grand themes of life. It's time enough to realize that every generalization stands opposed by a mosaic of exceptions, and that the biggest truths are few indeed. Meanwhile, you feel the wind shift and the temperature change. You might simply decide to be present, and observe a few facts about the drifting clouds... Fishing in a place is a meditation on the rhythm of a tide, a season, the arc of a year, and the seasons of life... I fish to scratch the surface of those mysteries, for nearness to the beautiful, and to reassure myself the world remains. I fish to wash off some of my grief for the peace we so squander. I fish to dip into that great and awesome pool of power that propels these epic migrations. I fish to feel- and steal- a little of that energy.
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