17.03.02 – Sunday
And when young dawn with her rose-red fingers walks o’er the dew of yon high eastern hill, the night had waned and with it their allotted time among the shades. Of course we merely allude to avoid making any statement of our own. Everything else is indeterminate. Notes of wandering scientist:
It seems sad that on the one hand such exquisite creatures [as the bird of paradise] should live out their lives and exhibit their charms only in these wild inhospitable regions, doomed for ages yet to come to hopeless barbarism; while, on the other hand, should civilized man ever reach these distant lands, and bring moral, intellectual, and physical light into the recesses of these virgin forests, we may be sure that he will so disturb the nicely-balanced relations of organic and inorganic nature as to cause the disappearance, and finally the extinction, of these very beings whose wonderful structure and beauty he alone is fitted to appreciate and enjoy. This consideration must surely tell us that all living things were not made for man. Many of them have no relation to him. The cycle of their existence has gone on independently of his, and is disturbed or broken by every advance in man’s intellectual development; and their happiness and enjoyments, their loves and hates, their struggles for existence, their vigorous life and early death, would seem to be immediately related to their own well-being and perpetuation alone, limited only by the equal well-being and perpetuation of the numberless other organisms with which each is more or less intimately connected.
—Alfred Russel Wallace, from
The Malay Archipelago,
qtd. in Peter Raby. Bright Paradise:
Victorian Scientific Travellers.
Princeton UP, 1996, p. 159.