10.0722 change

WILLARD MCCARTY (willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Wed, 19 Feb 1997 09:08:44 +0000 (GMT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 722.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: Bornstein <georgeb@umich.edu> (64)
Subject: Re: 10.0710 change

[2] From: Marta Steele <Marta_Steele@Pupress.Princeton.Edu> (25)
Subject: newness

[In reference to Humanist 10.710...]

Date: Mon, 17 Feb 1997 14:47:27 -0500 (EST)
From: Bornstein <georgeb@umich.edu>
Subject: Re: 10.0710 change

Good point, Willard. There's something in what you say, which we
could all remember a bit more. I recollect reading in grad school
Walter Houghton's book THE VICTORIAN FRAME OF MIND (1957), which points
out on page 1 that "The one distinguishing fact about the time [the
Victorian period] was 'that we are living in an age of transition.'" So
it does seem that some of our current mind set on living in such a
time has been around longer than we sometimes think!

George Bornstein Department of English
C.A. Patrides Professor of Literature University of Michigan
email: georgeb@umich.edu Ann Arbor, Mich. 48109-1045
office phone: (313) 764-6330 office fax: (313) 763-3128

Date: Mon, 17 Feb 1997 15:35:49 EST
From: Marta Steele <Marta_Steele@Pupress.Princeton.Edu>
Subject: newness


You've hit a vein. It's been a while. There's no enormous erudition
to tap on this subject, but here are some thoughts. What are the
implications of "nihil sub sole novum"? There are many enigmas within
our own history we have yet to tap, and people are still trying
accurately to dissect what really created the cerebral phenomenon of
ancient Greek culture. And why, precisely, does a squared plus b
squared equal c squared? Why is a parabola the cross-section of a
cone? The existence of such perfect formulations is to me entirely
enigmatic, no matter what elaborate explanations I am given.

A computer revolution in the sense of robots acquiring autonomous
wills and taking over will certainly be new; I hope that doesn't
happen, though when people begin behaving like robots, one wonders if
it hasn't happened already.

What's new that we live with every day are the dimensions coexisting
with us that we haven't yet learned to perceive. The infinite
universes of the small, the other dimensions we are not equipped to
perceive, the astronomical phenomena beyond our perceptions, the
existence of other genders... a next step in the evolution toward the
"new" might be some contact with these completely unknown quantities.
The ultimate new may be something we discover that can be related in
no way to anything we already know. Is that possible? Could we
perceive of anything one can't relate in any way to what is already

Is this what you were getting at, or am I entirely off the mark?

Marta Steele