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Questioning the Millenium

A beloved child bought me this book (the 1997 edition) after finding it in a second-hand bookstore (knowing my fondness for Stephen Jay Gould). This is a short work. In fact I read it on plane journey.

I enjoyed this  book despite it being 11 or 12 years since the “millenial change” depending on one position on when a millenium starts. This is one amongst a number of tidbits explored in the book.

I have always enjoyed Gould’s story-telling style. This book also coincides with a personal interest in man’s quest for imposing order on the ‘cycles of nature’.  Gould describes the roots of pre-occupation with millenium through time. He explores the challenges of calendrics: reconciling solar and lunar cycles and desribes  the  pragmatic and ultimately arbitrary and political solutions.

Gould ends on a poignant note describing day-date calculations from a personal viewpoint: his autistic first born son had exceptional calendrical calculational abilities.

Some people find Gould pompous and self-indulgent. I find him a consumate story-teller who tries to connect with his reader and show the complex nature of the human exploration and explanation of the  world. The noble and pinnacle of human reason frequently coexists with the banal and narrow, parochial and prejudicial.

I, for one, am saddened that there will be no more  Gould works. I was glad that a serendipitous book store find allowed me another pleasurable read.

Categories: books
  1. November 17, 2012 at 12:59 am

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