Hitched to Everything Else
My point was to say, at the beginning of something I thought I was going to write about this morning that, when I sit down to write about the importance of x, I find I can’t go on until I explore its relationship to a-through-zed.
It’s nigh impossible to tease any single fact or observation apart from its context in time and space, its place along the continuum in theÂ history of human knowledge. There are no lone truths.
Any given bit of data, then, as I try to focus, becomes the object of another track of discovery. And that, Â of yet another and another.
I find a good bit of satisfaction in the quest to follow the rabbit to the end of the warren, but have concluded there is not an end.
As a matter of fact, I wanted to get the intended opening Muir quote about “tugging at one thing” correct, and find that even that leads me veering off in an unexpected direction. This Sierra Club pageÂ tells us the only time Muir ever used the word “tug” was describing a boat that guided a sailing ship into harbor.
Here’s the misquote and the correct quote:
Misquote Alert: CAUTION – JOHN MUIR NEVER SAID THIS:
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”
The correct quote is:
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”
He revised his writing often–since any writer’s work is never really DONE. And I like Muir’s wordier version below even better in describing the tangle of tantalizing threads that every “simple” tug leads me to, with such satisfying frustration.
“When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe.”