Doug Bruns

“Only an animal does useful things.”

In Adventure, Books, The Examined Life, Writers on June 16, 2012 at 6:00 am

“Only an animal does useful things. An animal gets food, finds a place to sleep, tries to keep comfortable. But I wanted to do something that was not useful–not like an animal at all. Something only a human being would do.”

It’s Saturday–again–and I want to leave you with a quote. (I see a pattern forming.) What you read above are the words of adventurer Gérard d’Aboville. His book, Alone, was being published in the U.S. and Paul Theroux was writing the introduction. The book is the account of d’Aboville’s single-handed 1991 journey rowing across the Pacific. Theroux was pressing d’Aboville: Why? Why take such a dangerous voyage? I very much like the nuanced answer, it’s “something only a human being would do.”

It’s the weekend. Go do something only a human being would do.

  1. Good morning. I’m reading Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux right now. It’s very good! I’m going water skiing today, but I think a dog has done that before!

    • S – I hope you had a good day skiing. I’m an open water swimmer but the water here in Maine is still too cold, even with a wet suit, at 52 degrees.

      Dark Star is a dark book. Theroux is pretty cynical in that one–but I like him in all flavors. A good post Africa obviously.

      Thanks for dropping in.

      • That’s amazing the water is still that cold! Theroux is somewhat cynical in Dark Star, but there is a dark side to everything! Skiing was fun…I’m stronger than ever before. It seems the older I get the better I get! ~Sherry~

  2. […] Stay tuned: No altitude sickness, of this I am sure. I am less sure, but almost sure, no snow awaits us. And we will be seeking out activities “only human beings do.” (See Saturday’s post.) […]

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