Here’s the Clive James quote of the day, my friends. I will not insult your intelligence by explaining how relevant it is to what we are experiencing today. Good morning and let’s find time today to enjoy good books.
Science lives in a perpetual present, and must always discard its own past as it advances. (If a contemporary thermodynamicist refers to the literature on phlogiston, he will do so as a humanist, not as a scientist. Nor did Edwin Hubble need to know about Ptolemy, although he did.) The humanities do not advance in that sense: they accumulate, and the past is always retained. The two forms of knowledge thus have fundamentally different kinds of history. A scientist can revisit scientific history at his choice. A humanist has no choice: he must revisit the history of the humanities all the time, because it is always alive, and can’t be superseded. Two different kinds of history, and two different kinds of time. Humanist time runs both ways: an arrow with a head at each end.