Wandering

Here’s a quote that seems to capture the spirit of so many of my friends (e.g. Sushi).

‘Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.’ 
Anatole France*

*Bruce Chatwin, Songlines (please read the comments for a valuable lesson about the internet).

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6 thoughts on “Wandering

  1. DavidA

    Extinction is inevitable eventually, whether humans keep wandering/wondering or not. Reproduction is a crucial element in avoiding extinction, yet there are highly-industrialised nations where the birth rate has declined below replacement rates. Having children is seen as something to be avoided for as long as possible, or avoided altogether. There is relentless pressure to work for year after year to enrich and empower the elites of the world, elites which channel power and wealth to themselves at ever-greater rates as the years pass.

    Humans have wandered the Earth, bringing deforestation, repression, genocide, extinction, decimation of oceanic life, mass air and land and sea pollution, slavery, Justin Bieber, and various other sundry atrocities. Anatole France’s quaint romanticism contrasts deeply with what happens when humans start wandering. There was no original harmony between humans and the universe. Humans destroy, rape, pillage, eradicate, discriminate, eliminate. In their relentless quest to extract and use up every possible resource, humans bring a reign of death upon the Earth, removing ecological balance and replacing it with a rampaging spirit of eternal consumption. They claim to “produce” things, but this production only arrives via masses of consumption of other resources.

    Humanity is a great grand wrecking-ball that obliterates the life and health of the Earth, all in the name of increasing humanity’s own stock. Humans are searching for other planets to conquer in the future. They want to wander even further. The mega-massacres of humanity’s nightmarish history have not satiated its thirst for yet more annihilation and imperial power-mongering. If other planets are visited that contain life that does not want to be conquered, the alien life will be marked down for destruction or enslavement inside humanity’s insidious machine of exploitation and ideological hubris. It is unacceptable to rebel against the ceaseless invasive rapacity of the homo sapien overlords of the universe.

    Only when the last human has breathed its final breath will harmony return to the Earth. Hairless monkeys have much to answer for, yet who will make them answer? The gods lie as dead as peasants incinerated alive by fire from above. The gods were killed by logical reasoning, reasoning as sharply efficient as a machete hacking a child to pieces. Not everyone realises that the gods are dead; they still continue to believe in a world beyond empirical materiality, yet their daily actions betray their enslavement to their unconsciously-rapacious DNA.

    The northern winter is dark and cold. The aberrations of the Earth’s orbital comportment bring discomfort to me. England may be ahead in the Ashes, yet sun deprivation has turned me into a misanthrope with no positive thoughts to think. I don’t want to be this way. I want to get better. I want to go where the sun never sets. I want to hold Molly’s hand. I want to be happy again.

  2. DavidA

    You know, I don’t think that that quote is by Anatole France at all. I think it’s one of those misattributions that the internet (especially Wikipedia) creates and passes on in countless repetitions. Using Google Books, I found this quote from The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin (1988, p.178):

    “Yet, in the East, they still preserve the once universal concept: that wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.” (Google Books link; not a full view of the page unfortunately.)

    (Another Google Books link where a different book attributes the quote to Chatwin’s Songlines, full page viewable.)

    There are loads of sites on the internet that attribute the quote to Anatole France (including the dreaded Wikipedia), yet they give no source whatsoever. Where did France write this quote? What is the original French? There is none as far as I can tell.

    Here’s what I believe happened: someone just took the quote from Chatwin and attributed it to Anatole France (accidentally or deliberately), then this spread across the internet onto thousands and thousands of sites, lincluding “quotation” sites that don’t bother finding out if a quote is properly attributed or not (Wikipedia is great at this).

    Bizarrely, Google Books has many copies of “Works of Anatole France” which include the quote as being by France, yet the text is clearly just copied from Wikipedia (I kid ye not). This shows how the internet (especially Wikipedia) has debased quotation and attribution. I’m annoyed.

  3. DavidA

    Here’s a fuller quote of what Chatwin wrote in Songlines:

    “Psychiatrists, politicians, tyrants are forever assuring us that the wandering life is an aberrant form of behaviour: a neurosis; a form of unfulfilled sexual longing; a sickness which, in the interests of civilisation, must be suppressed.

    Nazi propagandists claimed that gipsies and Jews – peoples with wandering in their genes – could find no place in a stable Reich.

    Yet, in the East, they still preserve the once universal concept: that wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.”

    http://distortion-of-perception.blogspot.com/2004/02/psychiatrists-politicians-tyrants-are.html

  4. DavidA

    It’s weird how interesting-looking quotes get misattributed to names that are more famous than the original writer. I suppose it’s the “big name” effect, where a quote can get repeated if it’s assumed to be by a famous name, like Oscar Wilde.

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