Sunday, April 20, 2008

First paragraph from David Quammen's Monster of God

I can tell that this is going to be a great book to read and talk about.

Great and terrible flesh eating beasts have always shared landscape with humans. They were part of the ecological matrix with which Homo sapiens evolved. They were a part of the psychological contect in which our sense of idenity as a species arose. They were part of the spiritual systems we invented for coping. The teeth of the predators, their claws, their ferocity and their hunger were grim realities that could be eluded but not forgotten. Every once in a while, a monsterous carnivore emerged like doom from a forest or a river to kill someone and feed on the body. It was a familiar sort of disaster-like auto fatalities today- that must have seemed freshly, shockingly gruesome each time, despite the familiarity. And it conveyed a certain message. Among the earliest forms of human self-awareness was the awareness of being meat.

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