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Humans and the Sea

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Dr. Sean gaining illumination from a Jalama Beach sunset.
Have you reckoned a thousand acres much? Have you reckoned the earth much?
Have you practiced so long to learn to read?
Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?

Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and the sun...there are millions of suns left,
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand...nor look through the eyes of the dead...nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself.

-- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

This section of our studies takes a decidedly philosophical cast. It serves one purpose: to illuminate your relationship with the sea.

The stories herein are the stories of men and women who have gained greatness or met their death at the hands of the sea. These tales and mysteries were woven over more than two (2) million years of human interaction with the sea. The earliest threads lie in middens, hidden in the shells of mollusks. More recent fabrics emanate from your fingertips, limited only by your experience and the knowledge you seek.

In these next pages, we will take a look at some of the people who first embarked on serious explorations of the sea. No mere shore waders, these men and women sailed out of sight of land, some never to return. Fantastically, 99.99% of these explorations occurred across only two dimensions of the ocean, as it has only been in recent times that exploration beneath the sea surface has begun.

We will also look at a few of the artists, poets and writers who have gained inspiration from the sea. These works of art bring us to the sea from a different perspective and provide some feeling for the breadth of human intellect and emotion tied to the sea.

And we will splash a few salty tales on the silver screen, examining a few of the ways in which Hollywood and television have portrayed the sea.

But even these heady musings will not deter us from taking a hard look at human exploitation of the sea. From overfishing to habitat destruction to global warming, we'll discuss the perils and promises of human interaction with the sea.

Throughout these pages, I would like you to consider your experiences with the sea. Try to recall your best days and worst days on the sea or at the beach. Think about your own perceptions of the thrills or dangers of being at sea or on the shore. What do you think about the sea? How does it affect your life?

Take a few moments to jot down some of the things you love or hate about the sea. And try to answer this question: what is your relationship with the sea?

We'll discuss a few of these thoughts in one of our forums. I look forward to hearing what you think.

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