Thursday, July 7, 2011

Four Quartets: A Different Tack on Some Familiar Lines

On the left is a web built by a 17-day-old European house spider, Zygiella x-notata.
On the right is a web constructed by a 188-day-old spider of the same species.
Researchers suspect that elderly spiders, like elderly humans, might suffer from neurological deterioration resulting from the aging process.

These lines are from the second movement of "East Coker", the second quartet of T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets:

          ...There is, it seems to us,
     At best, only a limited value
     In the knowledge derived from experience.

And so these lines, also from "East Coker",

          ...Do not let me hear
     Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,...

might also apply to spiders....


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