Saturday, July 10, 2010

"Does wisdom have a future?"

Stephen Hall poses that question in Wisdom, and (of all places) in the gift shop of the New York Public Library. There, he found
a refrigerator magnet for sale that read, "Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness-- Confucius." Is this a way of preserving pearls of wisdom in our contemporary, mass-produced form of amber, or have economies of scale managed to turn the hard-earned coin of aphoristic wisdom into one more kind of widget?
Hmmm. We do indeed "embrace bits of wisdom, as long as they are short and compact enough" to fit on a magnet. Or in a tweet.

But isn't that better than nothing? People will always return to the refrigerator. Libraries of mere books, alas, are not so galvanizing these days.

2 comments:

Gina said...

Yo, Phil,

How's your mother-in-law? And have you rescheduled your tenure party yet?

Gina

Phil said...

Granny's recovery proceeds apace. No guarantees, and of course gravity is no more forgiving than it ever was. Even world-class cyclists and experienced engineers crash, so Granny's been cautioned to step lightly.

Party plans remain in abeyance, but the summer's not over yet.

Thanks for asking, Gina.

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