This book is written with the knowledge that serious cancer will foreshorten the author’s life. It is an expression of a life of exploring ideas and nature. And it is an affirmation of the essential unity of human beings and a natural order that is valuable and good. Following Alfred North Whitehead, this order can be called “nature alive.” The author has been shaped by an impulse to explore the life of the mind and the recognition of his own fundamental ignorance. The writing and contents of the book are shaped by two themes. One, “living waters,” centres on the direct experience with the nonhuman world, particularly fly-fishing, and is a metaphor for the fact that the natural world is fluid and dynamic, not completed and static. The second theme is “magic mountains,” which refers to the influence that important philosophical thinkers have had on the author’s thinking and self-identity. Each chapter in the book is designed to reveal the development of this tradition of questions and ideas and to invite readers to carry that dialogue further in their own lives and minds.
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