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IfMurraB’s newBookshoP 1411 e0111111M4 Street Dai4as, Texas A NATURALIST ON NATURALISTS Europe’s Rails Bedichek ReVieWs Krutch’s New Book and Expands Somewhat on Determinism, Art, the Themes of Life THE VOICE OF THE _DESERT, by Joseph Wood Krutch, William Sloane Associates. New York. 1955. 223 pp. $3.75. Mainly “The Voice” is a cry of desert life for water and for a place out of the sun. The devious and amazing devices by : which desert to exist and reproduce with too little water in too much sun provide subject matter for this book, which might be called a’ thesis, except that the dismal connotation of the word . precludes its use in connection. with any of Professor; Krutch’s writings. This second book’about life in the Sonoran Desert fully justifieS the ‘mothise of The Desert ‘Year, which earned the John Burroughs medalin 1954. Plants and animals, according to the author, have.fOund ;four ways of copfor long periods, like the toad or the economize, by following the example of the saguaro -and the jack rabbit; garoo rat’s unique solution. The contrivances described for tempering or escaping the excessive sunlight of that.cloudless area are quite as remarkable. Hence arise_weird ways of living and mechanisms of incredible ingenuity. The treatment is as pleasantly dis cursive as Nature herself. We are led -along from lizards to road runners, to saguaros, to woodpeckers; on and On with a Darwinian profusion of exam ples. Although this is all intrinsically interesting and would stand alone in the ordinary nature-book, here it merely provides underpinning for various ecological summaries which ail desert life into biotic colonies 440***”‘-””-c. ‘V-ith surprising affiliations and depen dencies. Indeed, mutuality, coopera tion, live and let live, associations in which man himself is or should be a law-abiding citizenthis is the scar let tie that binds the book into a sub Memoirs of Harry S. Truman VOLUME 1 YEAR OF DECISIONS VOLUME II YEARS OF TRIAL Now we will know the facts behind the headlines during those tense years when Mr. Truman was President. The first volume of this two volume work will be published in October and the second volume will be out early in 1956. This set will be $8.50 if you order now. After the first of the year the separate volumes will be $5-.00 each. Fill in the coupon below and mail it to us and we will order for you this outstanding set. Ammon MII11 a =WM McMurray’s Bookshop 1411 Commerce Dallas, Texas Please send Vol. I at $5.00 …. Vol. II at $5.00 The, set at $8.50 …. Remittance enclosed . Name Address City and State stantial unityscarlet because it is a warning, of which more later. INTERSPERSED here and there, we find philosophical interludes with speculations of pith and Moment, for which only mild apologies, as, for instance,. “It is not ignorance but knowledge that is the mother of wonder.” Of his actual experiments, ,”all these, I recognize, will seem very mild amusements to some.” However, he stoutly maintains what Eddington calls “direct,” that is extrasensory apprehension of natural phenomena … consciousness, looking out through a private door,” says Eddington, “can learn . by direct insight an underlying character of the world which. physical measurements do not -betray?’ The author permits us entrancing glimpses through his own “private door.” Thus, particularly in the concluding chapter, waves of speculative thought, emotionally impelled, break into whitecaps .of mysticism. A description of the various mechanisms which life has developed in order to survive in this inhospitable environment naturally brings on that the mechanist and the vitalist. Krutch sides with the latter. He advances his position gingerly., with guard tip and certainly with …polite deference to those of opposing views. Is Pronuba yuceasella merely a Mechanism . and did its activities evolve without purpose, or’ desite, or foresight, or intention, unguided or uninfluenced by any special directive? Must we e accept the mechanist’s amplitude-of-time as an explanation ? Shall we admit that all -the,wonders of evolution result from chance ‘operating in a space-time continuum without beginning 4nd without end ? Or is it more reasonable to. countenance a little purposive intervention here and there ? To take the stock illustration, will a brigade of monkeys hammering on typewriters through endless eons, come up at any time with Milton’s Paradise Lost? The mathematics of probability say no. According to the authorities in this field, probability under certain conditions fades completely’ ‘away. “The laws of probability,” observes the author, “take the chanciness out of chance.” And fin -ther, as a partial excuse for scientific indifference in this connection, “Mechanisms are eas ier to study than intelligence or purpose are.” Mechanists oversimplify. True, their explanations explain-,-that is they follow out with sublime patience and fox-houndish discrimination causal sequencesbut they .. cannot explain their explanations; or rather, the -assumptions tipon which their explanations are founded. ALL THIS IS in the tradition of great nature-writing. What, after all, is a naturalist ? The terms naturalist and scientist were once interchangeable. \\Old dictionaries define ‘naturalist’ as “one versed in naturalscience.” Webster’s 1907 edition adds, a a student of natural history, esp. the natural histOry of animals.” Long before that “Natural history” included all the modern sciences. Down the centuries the field of the naturalist shifts emphasis to living. things. But still there is no sharp line dividing the naturalist from the scientist, although lately an invidious at tempt is made to base the distinction on whether the person being classified pursueshis studies systematically or at random. , It seems to me more a matter of emphasis and interpretations. Sir Ar. thur Eddington breaks into poetry while submerged in mathematical formulae ; Hudson fingers the intestines of his pampa partridge to make a discovery which startled a great anatomist into f r u i t ful investigations; Krutch keeps his tadpoles, kangaroo The Texas Mind THE TEXAS OBSERVERPage :6 Sept. 21, 1955 rats and desert plants under observation in his cabin as any laboratory researcher would; Thoreau indulges a passion as intense as any physicist’s for precise measurements. Haeckel in 1870 accuses the naturalist of dealing “uncritically” with the ecology of animals, a charge which no scientists today would level against the ecology of the present volume. A NATURALIST must be articulate. We demand of his. writing a literary flavor–humor, urbanity, classical allusions, philosophy, not so much metaphysics as metabiwith a dash of mysticism. We demand of him a larger perspective than we do of the sicentist, as proved by the fact that when a scientist attains a larger perspective we tend to reelassify him. But more frequently the ranks of naturalists are recruited from literature and art. Krutch was a. distinguished literary man half his life before ”an accident forced him into the isolation of his desert cabin and into the study of ecology. The cross between ecology and literature endowed his style and thought with hybrid. vigor. His mind is so impregnated with the great literature of the World that, exercising it in his new field, the mental sweat is itself fragrant. Consider only the artistic and literary exudations of the penultimate chapter, by far the most important one in the book; being a concise, convincing and eloquent elaboration Of Aldo Leopold’s great article, “A Land Ethic.” The plea is here for an aroused conscience which will convert man to citizenship in a biotic colony with. protective consideration for the rights and privileges not only of his own kind but of every living thing that subsists in the same area with him. This is not sentimentalism, not idealism, but in the long view a policy of salvation, co-existence ,or no existence in a larger context. Otherwise, ki plundered planet. IS. there not a measure of retribution in that fact that. Man as Destroyer, Man as Devastator, Man as Exterminator of countless other forms of life on a planet obviously designed’ for all, has finally, at long last, organized his society and provided the means of exterminating himself ? Roy B EDIC Friendly, Fast, and On Time \(Another special report to the Observer . from touring State FLORENCE, ITALY, When it comes to railroading -, Europe still has a lot of things to teach the United States. It seems to me that most people have an instinctive interest in railroads, a fascination for the “choochoos” that does not quite apply to buses, autos ; or airplanes, and the decline of rail, passenger travel: in the U.S. is to:be:Iamented. Travel by rail in Europe is still go-ing “powerfully strong. On the whole, the trainsare good and fast,. and from most-large cities there are trains leaving -many. times a day for just about . any destination you choose. In ‘third ‘classthe cheapestthe trains rare usually packed, with dozens of people ‘standing in the aisles for all or part of. their journey, while second class is pretty full and first class is usually empty except, ‘ for rich American tourists. I like the European pullmans. The berths run cross-wise of the train rather than lengthwise as in America, and that makes for much easier riding and sleeping. In the first class, you have a compartment all to yourself; in second . class, there are two berths and in third class, three berths, one ort top of another. ‘But there’s no undressing in an upper berth : even in third class, you undress in the compartment, hang your clothes up, then climb a ladder to your berth. There cis a Wash basin, a’ window. adjustable for ventilation, and a big decanter of drinking water. Each berth is soft and roomy, and there are good reading, lights. At_ fir ,you. are nervous :about sleeping in a -compartment with one or two total strangers, “foreigners” ‘at that, but every time I’ve. ;.found my compartmentmates well-mannered, considerate, and interesting to talk -to. Dining cars -don’t get the patronage they do in_ the . states most people carry ..their -lunclies or buy items at the various -stations along the way,. . The ‘Way’ the trains sta y on schecl ,. leave the station, right on the dot, and they’ . stay’ schedule all the way. in ,the statesyou .can go down to the train. in ‘advance and get on your car and wait for the train to pull out. Not in Europe. In most places, even if the train is starting from your town, you cannot board it more than about ten .minutes.. before departure time. When you reach your destination, you had better be ready to get off. European trains, Of course, use the compartment system rather than the open coach like we have. Third class compartments seat eight people, four on one side and four on the other, facing each other, and the aisle runs along one side of the coach. I used to think I liked this, but after some 7,500 miles on European railways, I think I’ll take the American style. Too often you get a sense of claustrophobia in the compartments, and besides, at least one of your seven compartmentmates is likely to leave something to be desired. ‘Like American trains, some are very, fast, others very slow, but on the whole there are many more last trains each day out of goOd-sized,European towns than we have. In towns which were2lboinbeedur-. ing the war,. beautiful new railway stations have been built. The big, airy, glass-anchconcrete new station in