Tuesday, September 29, 2009

time immemorial (dialectically speaking)

"Wealth and speed are what the world admires and strives for. Railways, express mail, steamships, and all possible facilities for communication are what the cultivated world desires in order to over-cultivate itself and thereby to stick fast in mediocrity. The concept of the general public has also led to the spread of a medium-level culture: this is the goal of the Bible Societies, the Lancastrian method*, and God knows what else. The fact is that this is the century for able minds, for quick-thinking, practical men with a certain dexterity which enables them to feel superior to the crowd, even though their gifts do not put them in the first rank. Let us try to remain true to the principles with which we came; along with perhaps a few others, we shall be the last members of an era which may not return so quickly."

- a letter from Goethe to Carl Friedrich Zelter, 1825.

*The Lancastrian method was based on the idea that children who were more proficient could teach other children under the supervision of an adult.

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