19.671 reflections on the academic life

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2006 08:49:11 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 19, No. 671.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2006 08:44:22 +0000
         From: Norman Hinton <hinton_at_springnet1.com>
         Subject: Re: 19.670 reflections on the academic life

Willard, your note reminds me of a famous passage in To the
Lighthouse, where Woolf's Mr Ramsay is comporting the history of
metaphysics, and his own place in it, to traversing the alphabet:

".... if thought is like the keyboard of a piano, divided into so
many notes, or like the alphabet is ranged in twenty-six letters all
in order, then his splendid mind had one by one, firmly and
accurately, until it had reached, say, the letter Q. He reached Q.
Very few people in the whole of England ever reach Q....

....But after Q? What comes next? After Q there are a number of
letters the last of which is scarcely visible to mortal eyes, but
glimmers red in the distance. Z is only reached once by one man in a
generation. Still, if he could reach R it would be something. Here at
least was Q. He dug his heels in at Q. Q he was sure of. Q he could
demonstrate. If Q then is Q--R--."

Needless to say, he never gets to R.
Received on Wed Mar 22 2006 - 04:07:26 EST

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