our fellow mortals

"John Muir" by H. W. Bradley & William Rulofson
“John Muir” by H. W. Bradley & William Rulofson

The world, we are told, was made especially for humans – a presumption not supported by all the facts… Why should humanity value itself as more than a small part of the one great unit of creation? And what creature of all that the Lord has taken the pains to make is not essential to the completeness of that unit – the cosmos? The universe would be incomplete without humans; but it would also be incomplete without the smallest transmicroscopic creature that dwells beyond our conceitful eyes and knowledge. From the dust of the earth, from the common elementary fund, the Creator has made Homo Sapiens. From the same material God has made every other creature, however noxious and insignificant to us. They are earth-born companions and our fellow mortals.
~ John Muir
(Meditations of John Muir: Nature’s Temple)

14 thoughts on “our fellow mortals”

    1. Muir’s words reminded me of some of the lyrics of a song that I love…

      “strange evolution
      how people have come to believe
      that we are its greatest achievement
      when really we’re just a collection of cells
      overrating themselves”
      ~ Dave Matthews
      ♫ (Eh Hee)

  1. Barbara,

    It is like John Muir is being discovered once again, and it is a good thing. He was wise beyond his time. The U.S. should be grateful for his following of his bliss, to live among nature and to write his journals to create beauty and share the beauty that lies in this land.
    How right he is that we mere mortals assume so much, when we are all part of the whole!

    1. Yes! Muir was definitely wise and a man way ahead of his times. We are indebted to the Father of the National Parks for his activism, the Sierra Club and our understanding of the link between nature and spirit. I’m with you, Jeff, it is a very good thing his work is being rediscovered!

  2. Good point, well made.
    Though I sometimes wonder if the universal whole can be seen in a different way – as a complex changing organism. Therefore disappearance of, say, the Dodo, is part of that complex evolution. Parts change or disappear – but the entity continues. Who’s to say that humans might not go the same way as the Dodo?

    1. Well said, Paul. I think it’s going to be a Dave Matthews day today — your thoughts made me think of some lyrics from another of his songs…

      “So I wonder this
      As life billows smoke inside my head
      This little game where nothing is sure, oh
      Why would you play by the rules?
      Who did? You did, you…
      When was she killed
      The very last dodo bird?
      And was she aware
      She was the very last one?”
      ~ Dave Matthews
      ♫ (Dodo)

  3. Any living creature that God created is beautiful, and we have the responsibility as his special creation to take care of the other living things and not harm them. We’re suppose to co- exist in harmony as he intended. Thank you for posting a topic that cares.

    1. You’re welcome, island traveler! Sometimes I find it difficult to coexist with certain bugs, but I’m trying. And reflecting on Muir’s words helps me to get in the right frame of mind! 🙂

  4. Oh man what a great quote Barbara. It was only after I read it that I realized that although I have great respect for John Muir and all that he achieved – especially in the California -I haven’t read any of the great man’s writings.

    1. I’m just learning about him myself, although my mom was a passionate member of the Sierra club, which he founded, I never paid attention until recently. Editor Chris Highland compiled a selection of Muir’s writings which I feel is an excellent introduction, “Meditations of John Muir: Nature’s Temple.” I also enjoyed the PBS documentary, “John Muir in the New World.” He was a man of remarkable achievements!

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