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Saturday morning quotes 2.44: Knowledge

March 23, 2013

taxesIs a little knowledge a dangerous thing? Is ignorance bliss? Did Donald Rumsfeld really think he was making a scrap of sense when he spoke of known unknowns?

It is something of a bad joke that Spring, which should be a season of joyous optimism for the fresh and new, is the time of year when we are forced to examine and confront just how little money was made over the year past.

As a distraction, today’s quotes are focused on the value of knowledge.

“…The question is: what do we strive for in developing a social order that is conducive to fundamental human needs? Are human beings born to be servants to masters, or are they born to be free, creative individuals who work with others to inquire, create, develop their own lives? I mean, if humans were totally unstructured creatures, they would be … a tool which can properly be shaped by outside forces. That’s why if you look at the history of what’s called radical behaviourism, [where] you can be completely shaped by outside forces – when [the advocates of this] spell out what they think society ought to be, it’s totalitarian.”

- Noam Chomsky

 “Soule of the world, knowledge, without thee,
What hath the earth that truly glorious is?
Why should our pride make such a stir to be,
To be forgot? what good is like to this,
To do worthy the writing, and to write
Worthy the reading, and the worlds delight?”

- Samuel Daniel, Musophilus: Containing a generall defence of learning. (1599)

“Knowledge cannot save us, but we cannot be saved without Knowledge; Faith is not on this side but beyond it; we must necessarily come to Knowledge first…Divers men may walke by the Sea side, and the same beames of the Sunne giving light to them all, one gathereth by the benefit of that light pebles, or speckled shells, for curious vanitie, and another gathers precious Pearle, or medicinall Ambar, by the same light.  So the common light of reason illumins us all; but one imployes this light upon the searching of impertinent vanities, another by a better use of the same light finds out the Mysteries of Religion; and when he hath found them, loves them, not for the lights sake, but for the naturall and true worth of the thing it self.”

- John Donne, [Sermon No. 6] Preached at Saint Pauls upon Christmasse day, 1621.

“There is no desire more natural than that of knowledge. We try all ways that can lead us to it; where reason is wanting, we therein employ experience, “

Per varios usus artem experientia fecit,
Exemplo monstrante viam,”

["By various trials experience created art, example shewing the
way."--Manilius, i. 59.].”

- Michel de Montaigne, Essays, XIII. Of Experience.

One Comment
  1. Lautenist permalink

    Have you read Pirsig’s “Zen or the art of motorcycle maintanance”?
    I don’t have it at hand: as you surely know it deals with quality (the philosophical quality – which would translate as not countable attributes of something).
    At one place Pirsig speaks about the quality in music: everybody would call Bach’s music “better” than some pop tune.
    And he is speaking about the added pleasure which you get if you know more about the piece.
    So maybe:
    The beauty of the music is so to say self-speaking. You will recognize it as “good”
    But you can add to this vague feeling if you obtain profund knowledge.

    (Just what I thought when reading your post)

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