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Loren Eiseley
1907 - 1977

Anthropologist, poet, author of The Star Thrower (1949) and The Unexpected Universe (1969)


God knows how many things a man misses by becoming smug and assuming that matters will take their own course.

A young man was picking up objects off the beach and tossing them out into the sea. A second man approached him, and saw that the objects were starfish. 'Why in the world are you throwing starfish into the water?' 'If the starfish are still on the beach when the tide goes out and the sun rises high in the sky, they will die,' replied the young man. 'That's ridiculous. There are thousands of miles of beach and millions of starfish. You can't really believe that what you're doing could possibly make a difference!' The young man picked up another starfish, paused thoughtfully, and remarked as he tossed it out into the waves, 'It makes a difference to this one.'

1949 - from The Star Thrower
Like the herd animals we are, we sniff warily at the strange one among us.

from The Mind as Nature