Wednesday, November 03, 2010

what i'm reading now

This is a gem I found at a yard sale. Blackberry Winter is the autobiography of Margaret Mead. Published in 1972 it is an account of her life up to the second World War. She reveals her family life, upbringing, and influences that shaped the direction of her career. I found the narrative about her studies in Samoa, New Guinea, and Bali very interesting, but toward the end she shares her thoughts about being a grandparent and I found that intriguing.  Here are a couple of paragraphs that I thought were especially cogent:

"In the presence of grandparent and grandchild, past and future merge in the present.  Looking at a loved child, one cannot say, 'We must sacrifice this generation for the next.  Many must die now so that later others may live.'  This is the argument that generations of old men, cut off from children, have used in sending young men out to die in war. Nor can one say, 'I want this child to live well no matter how we despoil the earth for later generations.' For seeing a child as one's grandchild, one can visualize that same child as a grandparent, and with the eyes of another generation one can see other children, just as light-footed and vivid, as eager to learn and know and embrace the world, who must be taken into account--now."

and this:

[The human unit of time can be defined as] "the space between a grandfather's memory of his own childhood and a grandson's knowledge of those memories as he heard about them. We speak a great deal about a human scale; we need also a human unit in which to think about time."

3 comments:

Lorna said...

Not surprisingly, Margaret Mead is intriguing.

Lorna said...

I try to live by her quote, and take comfort by it:
A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.

wally said...

Yes, that's a good one.