The multitude of books is making us ignorant.
The coming of the printing press must have seemed as if it would turn the world upside down in the way it spread and, above all, democratized knowledge. Provide you could pay and read, what was on the shelves in the new bookshops was yours for the taking. The speed with which printing presses and their operators fanned out across Europe is extraordinary. From the single Mainz press of 1457, it took only twenty-three years to establish presses in 110 towns: 50 in Italy, 30 in Germany, 9 in France, 8 in Spain, 8 in Holland, 4 in England, and so on.
In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love; they had five hundred years of democracy and peace and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.
Silent companions of the lonely hour,Friends, who can never alter or forsake,Who for inconstant roving have no power,And all neglect, perforce, must calmly take,--Let me return to you; this turmoil endingWhich worldly cares have in my spirit wrought,And, o'er your old familiar pages bending,Refresh my mind with many a tranquil thought:Till, haply meeting there, from time to time,Fancies, the audible echo of my own,'Twill be like hearing in a foreign climeMy native language spoke in friendly tone,And with a sort of welcome I shall dwellOn these, my unripe musings, told so well.
In the cold change which time hath wrought on love(The snowy winter of his summer prime),Should a chance sigh or sudden tear-drop moveThy heart to memory of the olden time;Turn not to gaze on me with pitying eyes,Nor mock me with a withered hope renewed;But from the bower we both have loved, ariseAnd leave me to my barren solitude!What boots it that a momentary flameShoots from the ashes of a dying fire?We gaze upon the hearth from whence it came,And know the exhausted embers must expire:Therefore no pity, or my heart will break;Be cold, be careless--for thy past love's sake!
What every man needs, regardless of his job or the kind of work he is doing, is a vision of what his place is and may be. He needs an objective and a purpose. He needs a feeling and a belief that he has some worthwhile thing to do. What this is no one can tell him. It must be his own creation. Its success will be measured by the nature of his vision, what he has done to equip himself, and how well he has performed along the line of its development.
A drop of water is not immortal; it can be resolved into oxygen and hydrogen. If, therefore, a drop of water were to maintain that it had a quality of aqueousness which would survive its dissolution we should be inclined to be skeptical. In like manner we know that the brain is not immortal...