“Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler’s Ninth Symphony” by Lewis Thomas

Having already read his other two works, “The Lives of a Cell” and “The Medusa and the Snail“, I thought I was reasonably familiar with Thomas’ ideas and beliefs, but he still managed to amaze me. Reading this book was like listening to a piece of music with a familiar lyrical tune, there were pleasant wonders here and there, and near the end there was a climax  followed by a melancholy almost tragic ending that echoed the beginning.

Thomas was oppressed by the prospect of thermonuclear warfare, and listening to Mahler’s Ninth almost drove him to despair, with the thoughts of “death everywhere, the dying of everything, the end of humanity.”

Despite the ominous undercurrent, throughout the book Thomas’ expressed strong faith in science, nature and the symbiotic development of all the species in the ecosystem of the earth. He advised strongly for basic scientific research. Human beings are still just starting in the long evolution process of learning about nature, about ourselves, and becoming the “consciousness of the earth”.


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