The last launch : messages in the bottle


The last launch : messages in the bottle

Yi-Fu Tuan

George F. Thompson Pub., c2015

大学図書館所蔵 件 / 3



Includes bibliographical references (p. 197-203)



Can Yi-Fu Tuan, one of the world's most decorated geographers, from the aspen glow of retirement and a distinguished career, hold the interest of young readers who themselves are just now embarking on their own sojourns into the larger world? The question is all the more important for Professor Tuan, because the topic of his last book, his 'last launch,' is human life itself---what it means to be human and how we humans can reach our full potential in the brief period we live on Earth. Professor Tuan, like the curious child on a familiar beach, has decided to make his last launch a personal voyage in which he sends messages to the young in a bottle presented as a book. Securely corked, the bottle is cast into the vast sea before finding its resting ground in the hands of a young reader, who discovers the bottle on a foreign shore. Contained within the bottle are sixteen messages never before published. They represent Professor Tuan's last conversation, his last meal, with his readers, young and old. The messages that Professor Tuan has presented involve his final thoughts about childhood and education, about comprehending the relationship between space, place, and time, about understanding social reality and our attitudes toward nature and religion. But, ultimately, The Last Launch is about goodness and the Good, a recurrent theme in the master scholar's work. Although we humans, by nature, are flawed beings, Professor Tuan affirms that we are also the most subtly complex beings in the solar system, if not in the Milky Way. All of us are endowed with keen senses and some with even keener minds that enable us to savor the wonders of this world that is our only home. Moreover, we humans are, by nature, moral beings who find fulfillment and happiness in doing good. Since evil--as the fact of suffering, misfortune, and wrongdoing--does not disdain from inflicting the slightest hurt or harm, we must not miss any opportunity to do good, Professor Tuan urges, however inconsequential the doing may seem at the time. In a final reflection, Professor Tuan offers the following: that, in living a life fully, one senses that we are engaged in something larger than ourselves, that we may well be in a cosmic struggle for life in which there is no trifling player among us. Everyone and everything on Earth counts. Thus, doing good in one's life is the ultimate form of human love and caring. If we do not embrace this truth, is it because we fear the responsibility and accountability of doing good? Such are the questions to be found in Professor Tuan's bottle, to be answered in his last launch. Lucky is the person forever young in spirit who picks up the bottle on the beach and reads and listens to its contents. Distributed for George F. Thompson Publishing.

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