Thursday, August 11, 2016


Quantum Est Quod Nescimus

Petrarch (1304-1374), On His Own Ignorance and That of Many Others 32 (tr. David Marsh):
But see what a small amount is even the greatest knowledge granted to a single mind! In any case, isn't the knowledge granted to one intellect still very small, whatever its amount? Indeed, human knowledge is as nothing compared with human ignorance, not to mention God's knowledge.

Alioquin quantulum, queso, est, quantumcunque est, quod nosse uni ingenio datum est? Imo, quam nichil est scire hominis, quisquis sit, si, non dicam scientie Dei, sed sui ipsius ignorantie comparetur!
Edwin Way Teale (1899-1980), Circle of the Seasons: The Journal of a Naturalist's Year (July 18):
As I gaze down on this algae-bordered puddle, a kind of despair envelops me. What are the algae of the green border? I don't know. What are the little flies landing and taking off? I don't know. What are the small plants thrusting up through the water? I don't know. The vistas of my ignorance seem boundless. How much that I see I do not recognize; how much that I observe I do not understand! In this despairing and humbled mood, I traverse the meadows and return home. In the study of nature, we never exhaust the possibilities of an area; the area exhausts the possibilities in us.
Related post: Erudition.

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