To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child , a garden patch, or a redeemed condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Rewards of multiple-book reading...

While reading through the Pullitzer Prize-winning 'The Sixth Extinction' (TSE), on the ravages wrought by the human race on our natural environment (almost on the same scale as those caused by natural disasters millions of years back, which resulted in the five known extinctions of life) like dwindling biodiversity due to ocean acidification caused by carbon emissions, it struck me that the scales of time the book talks about are akin to those described in Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos'. Of course, both the timelines and the physical span covered by 'Cosmos' are much larger/longer in scale (billions of years instead of bare millions), and Sagan covers an eclectic mix of human knowledge (Chapter X for instance, which I just finished, closes with Sagan's musings on the mythical 'fourth dimension'!).

Actually, the book closer to TSE in its sweep is perhaps the renowned 'Sapiens', Harari's groundbreaking tome on the human race (which I finished a few months back). With the same theme of human race having caused extinction of so many of the ancient species of flora and fauna. However, while TSE sticks to a central theme of environmental degradation, 'Sapiens' takes into its fold a much larger swathe of human history, archeology, economics and so many other domains. In its span, as such, 'Sapiens' is closer to 'Cosmos'.

No comments: