Monday, December 25, 2006


Coninuing discussion(rather continuing quoting from) on John Fowles's "the frech lieutenant's woman" ...

-------------(pages 51-52)
He would have made you smile, for he was carefully equipped for his role. He wore stout nailed boots and canvas gaiters that rose to encase Norflok breeches of heavy flannel. There was a tight and absurdly coat to match;...and a voluminous rucksack, from which you might have shaken out an already heavy array of hammers, wrappings, notebooks, pillboxes, adzes and heaven knows what else. Nothing is more incomprehensible to us than the methodicality of the Victorians;...

Well, we laugh. But perhaps there is somethign admirable in this dissociation between what is comfortable and what is most recommended. ... If we take this ... as mere stupidity, blindness to the empirical, we make, I think, a grave - or rather a frivolous - mistake about our ancestors; because it was men not unlike Charles, and as overdressed and over-equipped as he was that day, who laid the foundations of all our modern science. ... They sensed that current accounts of the world were inadequate; that they had allowed thier windows on reality to become smeared by convention, realigion, social stagnation; they knew, in short, they had things to discover... We think (unless we live in a research laboratory) that we have nothing to discover, and the only things of the utmost imporotance to us concern the present of man. So much the better for us? We are not the ones who will finally judge.

But here I find something that contradicts what I quoted before about how intelligent, lazy people set their sights are set too high. But then may be not. One describes the attitude of a generalist and the otehr describes the actions they do( because their sights are set too high).

------------------Page 53
Just as you may despise Charles for his overburden of apparatus, you perhaps despise him for his lack of specialization. But you must rememeber that the natural history had not then the pejorative sense it has today of a flight from reality ....

Now this is certainly in contradiction. :-)

---------------Page 53
...but think of Darwin ... The origin of Species is a triumph of generalization, not specialization; and even if you prove to me that the latter would have been better for Charles the ungifted scientist, I should still maintain the former was better for Charles the human being


Thats something I agree with. Its after my own passions. I am not a practisisng scientist and I tend to condone a breadth of view than a deep specialization. Specialization in anything has never appealed to me.

A small diversion for my almost non-existent readers:

A surgeon was met by an old lady in a party. The old lady asked "What are you?". The surgeon said "I am a naval surgeon".
"Oh, the way you people specialize these days!".


Anonymous Anonymous said...

One reader likes the direction of the blog. :)

---- Atul

12:16 PM  

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