The Gnat Is Older Than Man: Global Environment and Human Agenda

By Christopher D. Stone | Go to book overview

Dedication

The world was made for man, though he was the latecomer among its creatures. This was design. He was to find all things ready for him. God was the host who prepared dainty dishes, set the table, and then led his guest to his seat. At the same time man's late appearance on earth is to convey an admonition of humility. Let him beware of being proud, lest he invite the retort that the gnat is older than he.

Talmud

IN A HOSPITAL in Boston, my father, seventy years a journalist and riding the crest of a successful volume on Socrates, spoke with enthusiasm of getting out of bed and into a new book he was planning but declined to discuss. He died never revealing what it was to have been about.

At the time, it seemed to me the saddest thing about Dad's death, and yet the most glorious about his life, that he should have carried to the very end the feeling that he had one more book in him. Knowing that was enough. I gave the mystery of his intentions no more thought.

In the summer of 1992 on the way to my family home in Washington, D.C., I stopped off in Princeton to discuss with Princeton University Press among other things a title for this book. I continued on to Washington with the suggestion that I might “look for something from the Bible, or something like that.”

The house that I had grown up in, governed now by my mother alone, had changed. Of the huge library which once furnished and inspirited it, fewer than a thousand volumes stood guard. (On his

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