Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Studying the past

In the Discourse on Method, René Descartes says that 'conversing with those of past centuries is the same as traveling ... But one who spends too much time traveling eventually becomes a stranger in his own country; and one who is too curious about practices of past ages usually remains quite ignorant about those of the present.' He doesn't explain why this would necessarily be a bad thing, mind you. A too great attachment to one's contemporary discourse of thought, like a too jingoistically blinkered patriotism, can be worse than drifting from place to place, surely.

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