Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Familiarity Breeds Contempt

Augustine, De Utilitate Credendi 16.34 (tr. Charles Lewis Cornish):
For the interchanges of day and night, and the settled order of things in Heaven, the revolution of years divided into four parts, the fall and return of leaves to trees, the boundless power of seeds, the beauty of light, the varieties of colors, sounds, tastes, and scents, let there be some one who shall see and perceive them for the first time, and yet such an one as we may converse with; he is stupified and overwhelmed with miracles: but we contemn all these, not because they are easy to understand, (for what more obscure than the causes of these?) but surely because they constantly meet our senses.

nam diei et noctis, vices, et constantissimum ordinem rerum caelestium, annorum quadrifariam conversionem, decidentes redeuntesque frondes arboribus, infinitam vim seminum, pulchritudinem lucis, colorum, sonorum, odorum, saporumque varietates, da qui primum videat atque sentiat, cum quo tamen loqui possimus; hebescit obruiturque miraculis: nos vero haec omnia, non cognoscendi facilitate — quid enim causis horum obscurius? — sed certe sentiendi assiduitate contemnimus.
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