An Easter Celebration With Loren Eiseley and George Fredric Handel
“As a modern man, I have sat in concert halls and watched huge audiences floating dazed on the voice of a great singer. Alone in the dark box I have heard far off as if ascending out of some black stairwell the guttural whispering and bestial coughings out of which that voice arose.”
The Immense Journey, Loren Eiseley.
In the US, Easter is one of the holidays that spans the gamut of profound to profane. Some celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ; some celebrate the Easter Bunny; some spend quality time with family/friends while some party featuring drugs, sex and alcohol.
Throughout human history people have strived to improve the quality of their lives and perhaps the lives of others. Anthropologists have dated the first artifacts that indicate the dawning of human spirituality circa 100,000 years ago. Eiseley does a fast-forward from guttural groans to opera diva. Any guesses as to where we are headed?
Emerson encouraged us to create our own Bibles and I have my own list of saints. Loren Eiseley and George F.Handel are both on that list. It has been said that great people carry torches to show others the way through darkness but, saints themselves, are living torches that guide others. Handel and Eiseley have soared higher than most could ever hope. Eiseley blended his physical, mental and spiritual writing so seamlessly, so passionately, that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Handel composed notes, to complement lyrics, infused with his spirit to create a masterpiece that moves millions of people each Easter. In an almost frenetic pique of genius, he wrote “The Messiah” in 24 days.
Eiseley, on the other hand, took 6 years to write The Immense Journey.
Both works are brilliant beacons that will shine as long as there are people on the planet who appreciate inspirational music and holistic biological essays. Both men were dedicated to a search for truth, meaning, and a cause that far exceeded the boundaries of their solitary existence.
I did not share Handel’s piece in the Biodesign Class because of its specific religious message, but I did use non-religious arias from Beverly Sills, Alma Gluck, Anna Moffo, and the Spanish singers Plácido Domingo and José Carreras and the late Italian singer Luciano Pavarotti.
Shakespeare wrote, “Assume the virtue though you have it not,” and James Allen’s book, “As A Man Thinketh,” both claim that there is a direct correlation between the quality of a man’s thought process and his destiny. The hundreds of quotes used in Biodesign were selected in hopes that they would stretch young minds to higher levels of meaning and understanding.