[lit-ideas] Re: Going Home

  • From: Andy <mimi.erva@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2012 19:43:46 -0800 (PST)

Oh darn, I read John Wager's post quickly earlier.  I saw transcendental and 
tube and put the mythological on it.  It seems he's saying it's the opposite 
of a mythological journey.  We're just a bunch of tubes.  And in fact we are.  
I wonder what Joseph Campbell would say about tubes on a hero's journey.  Maybe 
he'd agree that we're the only tubes capable of a hero's journey.  To the 
extent that the hero's journey is enlightenment into the self, maybe we're the 
only ones that need to do it.  I was watching Life After Humans on the History 
Channel and how if humans suddently disappeared the planet would in due 
course revert back to its pristine beauty.  And of course they lamented that 
there would be no one there to appreciate it, meaning humans.  Except that 
there are humans now and they are hardly appreciating anything.  Good night...  

From: John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2012 10:17 PM
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Going Home

On Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 10:31 AM, John Wager <jwager@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

The "tube" image is also part of Alan Watts description of human beings in THE 
BOOK: ON THE TABOO AGAINST KNOWING WHO YOU ARE, a 1960's intro to World Soul or 
Transcendental Ego or Atman or Hinduism, take your pick.  He describes humans 
as physically a tube, with stuff going in one end and coming out the other. He 
says that this physical description can't come close to explaining why humans 
are human.

Pedantically speaking, I have just consulted Wikipedia and confirmed that The 
Book: On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are was published in 1966. I 
encountered the tube in A.S.Romer The Vertebrate Body, the 1963 edition, that 
was the textbook for a class I took while contemplating becoming an 
anthropologist. The first edition was 1949. 

Oddly enough, I have just discovered thanks to Google that I mentioned Romer 
once before on lit-ideas, in a discussion of Reading Lolita in Tehran. There I 
mentioned Romer's opening sentence, still to me one of the most beautiful I've 
ever read, "Simplest are the solitary tunicates." The solitary tunicates are 
the sacs from which the vertebrate story is drawn.



>John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324

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