Sunday, February 21, 2016


     What about us?  Are we natural anymore?  How can we be, when we've morphed into superheroes?  Our ancestors adapted to nature according to the limits of their senses.  But over the eons, by extending our senses through clever inventions - language, writing, books, tools, telescopes, telephones, eyeglasses, cars, planes, rocket ships - we've changed how we engage the world and also how we think of ourselves.  We just assume now that human beings can move across the skies at 500 mph.  Or spot a hawk across a valley.  Or do colossal calculations at speed.  Or watch events unfolding halfway around the world.  Or safely repair someone's heart.  Or wage war.  Our attitude about our own nature, what sort of creatures we are, now includes the novelties we've pinned to our senses.

-Diane Ackerman,  The Human Age:  The World Shaped By Us

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