Lazy in the library

Author: joe

Thursday, 25 November, 2010 - 19:59

- on thinking of nothing

Of human knowledge as a whole and in every branch of it, by far the largest part exists nowhere but on paper, - I mean, in books, that paper memory of mankind. Only a small part of it is at any given period really active in the minds of particular persons. This is due, in the main, to the brevity and uncertainty of life; but it also comes from the fact that men are lazy and bent on pleasure. Every generation attains, on its hasty passage through existence, just so much of human knowledge as it needs, and then soon disappears. Most men of learning are very superficial. Then follows a new generation, full of hope, but ignorant, and with everything to learn from the beginning. It seizes, in its turn, just so much as it can grasp or find useful on its brief journey and then too goes its way. How badly it would fare with human knowledge if it were not for the art of writing and printing! This it is that makes libraries the only sure and lasting memory of the human race, for its individual members have all of them but a very limited and imperfect one. Hence most men of learning as are loth to have their knowledge examined as merchants to lay bare their books.
The Art of Literature by Arthur Schopenhauer

I am lazy, bent on pleasure, and definitely very superficial. This all on top of being full of a cold - sorry - a debilitating respiratory infection requiring me to rest fully and properly. I had planned for this week's ruminations to conclude with some thoughts about a world that does not inexorably withdraw beyond the gap outside experience; but I need to read and think in a way that is beyond me right now.

Therefore I turn to Schopenhauer for my text today. I particularly note his observation that "unless an author takes the material on which he writes out of his own head, that is to say, from his own observation, he is not worth reading", and those that do write about the content of other books - "talk in such a loose and vague manner, that the reader puzzles his brain in vain to understand what it is of which they are really thinking. They are thinking of nothing."

Categories: Arthur Schopenhauer, snot,
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