Journal archives for July 2018

July 17, 2018

second excerpt, A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Say you are the manager of the Southern Railroad. You figure that you need three engines for a stretch of track between Lynchburg and Danville. It's a mighty steep grade. So at fantastic effort and expense you have your shops make nine thousand engines. Each engine must be fashioned just so, every rivet and bolt secure, every wire twisted and wrapped, every needle on every indicator sensitive and accurate.
You send all nine thousand of them out on the runs. Although there are engineers at the throttles, no one is manning the switches. The engines crash, collide, derail, jump, jam, burn. . . . At the end of the massacre you have three engines, which is what the run could support in the first place. There are few enough of them that they can stay out of one another's paths.
You go to your board of directors and show them what you've done. And what are they going to say? You know what they are going to say. They're going to say: It's a hell of a way to run a railroad.
Is it a better way to run a universe?

Annie Dillard, A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
1994

Posted on July 17, 2018 17:29 by ellen5 ellen5 | 0 comments | Leave a comment