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The Horizon: A History of Our Infinite Longing by Didier Maleuvre

By Didier Maleuvre

What's a horizon? A line the place land meets sky? the top of the realm or the start of belief? during this incredible, attractive, and stimulating historical past, Didier Maleuvre trips to the outer reaches of human adventure and explores philosophy, faith, and artwork to appreciate our fight and fascination with limits—of lifestyles, wisdom, lifestyles, and demise. Maleuvre sweeps us via an enormous cultural panorama, permitting us to event every one preventing position because the cusp of a unlimited trip, no matter if he's discussing the works of Picasso, Gothic structure, Beethoven, or common Relativity. If, as Aristotle stated, philosophy starts in ask yourself, then this outstanding publication indicates us how wonder—the urge to understand past the conceivable—is itself the engine of tradition.

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It was to impose the conviction that death simply was not. Of course, the Egyptian denial of death really magnified an attitude common to most human societies. 6 Burial reveals that a population has begun to give thought to the afterlife, and therefore draws an elementary intellectual distinction between matter and mind, between nature and humanity. It shows man wishing to escape the natural cycle of annihilation. Thus the earliest stirrings of civilization seem to coincide with 14 / Permanence: Egypt the moral elevation of man over nature.

Another relief depicts the king and queen taking a meal. Never had a monarch been depicted with such acknowledgment of creaturely needs and frailties. 26 / Permanence: Egypt As Akhenaten allowed himself to personalize the god, so he also personalized the monarchy and, to the extent that his royalty was divine, humanized religious experience. On this relief and others (like the one depicting the tearful funeral of Akhenaten’s second daughter), the gist of existence is less immortality than human attachments in mortal time.

Here, then, are the main segments of what is, and is not, a narrative: it is a narrative inasmuch as it contains definite, overlayered periods and episodes; and it is not a narrative because it stays put, because we at the end are no farther or closer to seeing our way through the questions that initiated its quest: Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? ” It is, I realize, no small contradiction, indeed a possible sign of a misconstrued vocation, to proffer a study on a topic about which, ultimately, we know nothing—let alone to construct the “history” of a striving that stays put.

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