3 Matching Annotations
  1. Apr 2022
    1. James Boswell (1740–95) defended the state of learning in his day: “It has been maintained that this superfoetation, this teeming of the press in modern times, is prejudicial to good literature, because it obliges us to read so much of what is of inferiour value, in order to be in the fashion; so that better works are neglected for want of time, because a man will have more gratification of his vanity in conversation, from having read modern books, than from having read the best works of antiquity. But it must be con-sidered that we now have more knowledge generally diffuse; all our ladies read now, which is a great extension.”

      Link to earlier note about Caleb Deschanel

    2. Citing Pliny’s “no book so bad,” Gesner made a point of accumulating information about all the texts he could learn about, barbarian and Christian, in manuscript and in print, extant and not, without separating the good from the bad: “We only wanted to list them, and we have left to others free selection and judgment.”202
  2. Oct 2020
    1. I enjoyed Harari’s application of meme theory to the agrarian revolution of circa 10,000 BCE: it may have seemed like a giant leap for mankind, but imagine if you are wheat. As a species, you have conquered the world. Come on and harvest me! I will just spread further.

      I wonder if he credits this idea elsewhere. I've heard this exact type of argument about corn before in the past. (Perhaps Jared Diamond or David Christian? Possibly via Richard Dawkins, though less likely.)