Thursday, January 13, 2022
A Gathering of Intellectuals
John Buchan (1875-1940), The Island of Sheep
, chapter VII:
'It was the usual round-up of rootless intellectuals, and the talk was the kind of thing you expect—terribly knowing and disillusioned and conscientiously indecent. I remember my grandfather had a phrase for the smattering of cocksure knowledge which was common in his day—the "culture of the Mechanics' Institute." I don't know what the modern equivalent would be—perhaps the "culture of the BBC." Our popular sciolism is different—it is a smattering not so much of facts as of points of view. But the youths and maidens at this party hadn't even that degree of certainty. They took nothing for granted except their own surpassing intelligence, and their minds were simply nebulae of atoms.'