Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Nasty, Brutish and Short

From Michael Winter, The Big Why: A Novel (NY: Bloomsbury, 2004), an "historical fiction" about the life of American artist Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), who was a student of Abbott H. Thayer and contributed to Thayer's work on protective coloration or natural camouflage. Among Kent's friends was Thayer's son, naturalist Gerald H. Thayer, author of Concealing Coloration in the Animal Kingdom

Gerald Thayer once said to me, I'm afraid of dying. He was afraid, he said, that there might be a life after death. He was afraid that he believed there might be a God. He did not want it. He could not bear the thought of living again, after death. Seventy years, yes. But forever? It depressed the hell out of him. A short life excited him. He thought that when [Thomas] Hobbes said life was nasty, brutish, and short, he meant the last quality as a relief.