Sunday, October 16, 2011

Oven dried tomatoes and Albert Schweitzer

Journal Entry: 10/11/2011 Reading Albert Schweitzer

This morning when J--- left for his rounds I decided to oven dry the huge pile of cherry tomatoes we have harvested the last few days. And I set about it: rewashing them, slicing them, harvesting basil (sweet and Thai) and parsley from the garden, chopping them along with garlic cloves and mixing them and some olive oil. This I poured into the bowl of sliced tomatoes. I added some dried oregano leaves from the garden, drained the mixture a bit then poured it onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I put them in the oven at 275 for 30 minutes, reduced it to 250 for 30 more and am now “roasting them” at 200 for 5 more hours before I cut the heat and let them sit in the oven overnight.

J--- returned, fussed about the imperfectly cleaned kitchen which he then cleaned.

With him back, I decided to postpone a planned furniture moving and opted instead to haul some more books upstairs.

So here I am reading one of them, an Albert Schweitzer anthology, edited by Charles R. Joy and published by the Beacon Press in 1947.

Here is a selection from the first chapter, “The Sanctuary of Thought,” which I thought of sending to L---. It’s titled ‘Historical Instinct.’

There are some who are historians by the grace of God, who from their mother’s womb have an instinctive feeling for the real. They follow through all the intricacy and confusion of reported fact the pathway of reality, like a stream which, despite the rocks that encumber its course and the windings of its valley, finds its way inevitably to the sea.

No erudition can supply the place of this historical instinct but erudition sometimes serves a useful purpose, inasmuch as it produces in its
possessors the pleasing belief that they are historians, and thus secures their services for the cause of history. In truth they are at their best merely doing the preliminary spadework of history, collecting for a future historian the dry bones of fact, from which, with the aid of her natural gift, she can recall the past to life.
-- The Quest of the Historical Jesus, p 25, 1926].

Reading Albert Schweitzer gives me the feeling that I am stepping into neutral territory -- A sanctuary? -- where thought is free from the influences of belief, opinion and judgement.

Is that possible?