Thursday, January 22, 2009

Charles Darwin on why we need the arts

This marvellous quote appeared in the programme for the Wigmore Hall concert last night:

"...if I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature." - CHARLES DARWIN

Take note, politicians...

The other day, travelling home on the train, I found myself next to a gentleman who had just bought, and was reading, a large, highly illustrated, full-colour edition of The Origin of Species. I peered over his shoulder at it for the whole 20-minute journey, entranced. Luckily he didn't mind and was only too happy to share this treasure. The sense of wonder that emanates from Darwin's prose manages to be both balanced and ecstatic - an ideal way of being, perhaps. Marvellous. My neighbour told me he had bought the book at the Darwin Exhibition at the Natural History Museum, which he recommended most highly. I'll be along there as soon as I have a free moment. Lots to explore meanwhile.

Back to speech-writing for library gig tonight now...