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"Possibly the best comic strip EVER in the history of the entire universe", claimed one commentator.
I think Dennis the Menace (in its heydey), Gaston Lagaffe and one or others may occupy the same pantheon as Calvin and Hobbes, but there is little doubt that, for all those of us who have been deeply touched by the warmth, humour, sheer humanity with which Bill Watterson blessed us over so many years, these creations occupy a very special place in our hearts.
A.S. Byatt tells us that "for the Victorians, everything was part of one thing - science, religion, philosophy, economics, politics, women, poetry. They didn't compartmentalise - they thought big." - quote in New Statesman, 27/04/09
This is the Halcyon philosophy too, as much of what's most interesting and important in life appears to come from the interconnectedness of ideas, from the alchemy of putting together - in the words of Theodore Zeldin - two ideas that have never met.
"He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth", so said Goethe, as quoted in Jostein Gaarder's philosophy primer-cum-mystery novel Sophie's World.
"If the past is replayed too fast, life seems futile, and humanity resembles water flowing from a tap, straight down the drain. A film of history for today needs to be in slow motion, showing every person who ever lived as a star, though dimly visible in a night sky, a history still unexplored" - Theodore Zeldin, An Intimate History of Humanity
A call to action. Time to explore these unexplored histories together.
What if we were not fixated by today's headlines and concentrated instead on the "long news", i.e. the stories that may still be important years, decades, even centuries from now.
Imagine anyone being able to travel virtually anywhere...such as along the Trans Siberian Railway. No substitute for the original, certainly, but perhaps a relatively green way nonetheless of democratising curiosity.