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Breaking ThroughEssays, Journals, and Travelogues of Edward F. Ricketts$
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Edward Ricketts

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520247048

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520247048.001.0001

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“Essay on Non-teleological Thinking”

“Essay on Non-teleological Thinking”

(p.119) Chapter 5 “Essay on Non-teleological Thinking”
Breaking Through

Katharine A. Rodger

University of California Press

Edward F. Ricketts developed his “Essay on Non-teleological Thinking” during the early years of his friendship with John Steinbeck, a period also marked by collaborations with Joseph Campbell, Henry Miller, and other friends and colleagues. At the heart of Ricketts's desire to articulate non-teleological thinking is his struggle to put into language that which by its very nature eludes definition. Deeply philosophical, Ricketts's essay is at times convoluted, but the significance of non-teleological thinking is of primary importance to his unified field hypothesis. Through “his thinking,” Ricketts believes, an individual may better accept and understand the world and ultimately “break through” or transcend. Ricketts and Steinbeck's 1940 expedition to the Gulf of California was inspired in part by their desire to integrate scientific inquiry with non-teleological thinking, and Steinbeck later included a revision of the “Essay on Non-teleological Thinking” in Sea of Cortez. The seventeen-page version included in this chapter, marked “Typed by Toni, March 1941, original to John,” is likely the draft the latter worked from while writing Sea of Cortez.

Keywords:   Edward F. Ricketts, John Steinbeck, Joseph Campbell, Henry Miller, non-teleological thinking, Gulf of California, Sea of Cortez, unified field hypothesis

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