Acquiring a knowledge of history is a pleasant and safe pastime for the amateur.


Developing an understanding of history is essential for those who would influence the future.


It is not only on the lessons that history has to teach, valuable though they are, that this claim lies.


It is rather because history, by making us aware how we arrived where we are today, gives us our bearings so that, like any traveler, we may venture into the unknown confident at least of our direction.


When we meet the future by reacting to the present, how we react is largely determined by the past ―― our history.




When new fields of scientific activity first take form they begin, almost necessarily, with things and ideas that are part of the common experience of all men.


During this early period of growth the new science is widely intelligible, and the discoveries it makes can be understood, argued, resisted, supported, or ridiculed by millions of people.


At a later stage the science may become more precise, may achieve deeper understanding or soar to greater intellectual heights, but it will never again have the same impact on the average man’s view of himself and the world around him.





In the age of abundance, the apparent availability of virtually all material necessities tended to lead people to expect speedy gratification of their desires and to have little sense of the length of time over which people in other times and places had had to wait in order to have some of their more basic material needs satisfied.




The people that Butcher (アメリカの写真家) photographed were intensely aware of the ability of the photograph to freeze time and, in a sense, provide immortality.


In a number of his pictures, people hold photographs to replace deceased or absent family members.


In such cases photographs ascend to the status of a real person.


It is perhaps because of this respect for the image that people were seldom photographed in less than their best clothing.


In fact, there are records of family members’ being excluded from family photographs because they did not own proper attire.



1991 (A)

Only the smallest fraction of the human race has ever acquired the habit of taking an objective view of the past.


For most people, even most educated people, the past is merely a prologue to the present, not merely without interest in so far as it is independent of the present, but simply inconceivable except in terms of the present.


The events of our own past life are remembered, not as they seemed to us at the time, but merely as incidents leading up to our present situation.


We cannot persuade ourselves ―― in fact, we make no attempt to do so ―― that undertakings which ended in failure were entered upon with just as much forethought and optimism as those which have profoundly affected our lives.




The picture postcard was divided into six small sections.


There were views of the beach, the promenade, the bowling green, the pier, the flower-gardens and the war memorial.


In the middle, inscribed in capital letters, was the name WORTHING(イングランド南部の保養地).


The photographs, in smudgy black and white, appeared to have been taken before the war.


It was an ugly card ―― the fussy little segments distracted and repelled the eye ―― but Henry could mentally trace the motives behind its purchase with perfect confidence, for it was just the sort of card he had bought himself in past years to send to friends or relatives.


Six pictures for the price of one was good value for money and eliminated the problem of choice.



1992  (A)

What is new to our time is the realization that, acting quite independently of any good or evil intentions of ours, the human enterprise as a whole has begun to strain and eat away at the natural terrestrial world on which human and other life depends.


Taken in its entirety, the increase in mankind’s strength has brought about a decisive, many-sided shift in the balance of strength between man and the earth.


Nature, once a harsh and feared master, now lies in subjection, and needs protection against man’s powers.


Yet because man, no matter what intellectual and technical heights he may attain, remains embedded in nature, the balance has shifted against him, too, and the threat that he presents to the earth is a threat to himself as well.




Philosophers love posing dilemmas.


Here’s one.


You’re standing in the National Gallery at the opening of an art exhibition.


Suddenly a fire breaks out and spreads with enormous speed.


In front of you is a priceless Leonardo.


To your right is one of the country’s most respected elder statesmen.


To your left is your four-year-old daughter.


You can only rescue one of them.


Which do you save?


Well, if you emerged into the open air with the painting or the statesman, you might have contributed to the greater good.


But I wonder whether we would altogether trust you as a human being.


Somehow, the family goes to the heart of our sense of moral obligation.


Our ties to our children and to our parents are fundamental; and not the result of any rule or reflection.


Rather, they have to do with who we are and our peculiar relationship with those who brought us into the world and those we have brought into being in turn.


We would be inclined to say it is an instinct, a natural feeling.


But it is also a matter of culture, of acquired values.




New techniques used in film-making have made movies more vividly lifelike in recent years and further developments may make it possible to copy reality still more closely.


Even so, there will always be a distinct difference between experience of the real world and the experience in the cinema.


Perception of reality is an active process whereas our activity while watching a movie is strictly limited.


What we see in the real world is the product of our own will and choice.


In the cinema we have to accept the point of view given to us.


The making of a film requires the choice of a viewpoint which controls what is shown on the screen, thus limiting our normal freedom to survey what is in front of us, to select and examine what catches our attention or interest.


We can watch. We can listen. We cannot investigate for ourselves.




For only a tiny fragment of human history has man been aware even that he had a history.


During nearly all the years since man first developed writing and civilization began, he thought of himself and of his community in ways quite different from those familiar to us today.


He tended to see the passage of time, not as a series of unique, irreversible moments of change, but rather as a continuous repetition of familiar moments.


The cycle of the seasons ―― spring, summer, fall, winter, spring ―― was for him the most vivid, most intimate sign of passing time.




There can be no human society without conflict: such a society would be a society not of friends but of ants.


Even if it were attainable, there are human values of the greatest importance which would be destroyed by its attainment, and which therefore should prevent us from attempting to bring it about.


On the other hand, we certainly ought to bring about a reduction of conflict.


So already we have here an example of a clash of values or principles.


This example also shows that clashes of values and principles may be valuable, and indeed essential for an open society.




The huge blue heron glides over our cottage roof and settles down gently, taking up his post at the mouth of the tidal cove.


Standing guard on elegant long legs, he picks off trespassers who swim too close to the border.


When he is through and the water begins to intrude again, he takes off, arcing out over the bay.


Every day since we arrived, the great bird has followed this pattern.


He arrives at each low tide like clockwork ―― no, nothing like clockwork.


Watching him at my own porch post, I cannot imagine anything more different than tides and clocks, any way of life more different than one in tune with tides and another regimented by numbers.


The heron belongs to a world of creatures who follow a natural course; I belong to a world of creatures who have fractured continuity into quarter hours and seconds, who try to mechanically impose our will even on day and night.


But each year I come here, vacating a culture of fractions and entering one of rhythms.


Like many of us, I need a special place, just to find my own place, my own naturalness.




There is an extremely powerful conceptual connection between our idea of mind and our idea of writing.


Records are understood as a sort of external memory, and memory as internal records.


Writing is understood as thinking on paper, and thought as writing in the mind.


By means of this conceptual connection, the written work is taken as a substitute for or even as the essence of the author; the author’s mind is an endless paper on which he or she writes, making mind internal writing; and the book the author writes is external mind, the external form of that writing.


The writing is therefore conceived of as having a voice, one that speaks to us, and to which we respond.


The author is understood as the self thinking.


The self is understood as an author writing in the mind.


Sometimes, the self is an author writing thoughts externally on paper.


This makes it extremely easy for us to talk about “putting our thoughts down on paper” and to see the author’s self as contained in the writing.


This makes the everyday reference to writing by its author’s name ―― as in “Pascal is on the top shelf” ―― seem so natural.




Four and a half billion years ago, the earth was formed.


Perhaps a half billion years after that, life arose on the planet.


For the next four billion years, life became steadily more complex, more varied, and more ingenious, until, around a million years ago, it produced mankind ―― the most complex and ingenious species of them all.


Only six or seven thousand years ago ―― a period that is to the history of the earth as less than a minute is to a year ―― civilization emerged, enabling us to build up a human world, and to add to the marvels of evolution marvels of our own: marvels of art, of science, of social organization, of spiritual attainment.




If, as I intend, I go on living in New Mexico, I suppose I shall know it far better than I do now, but I suppose I shall never again see it as clearly as during my first year.


And what is there about this land which sets travelers to altering their schedules and overstaying?


What is there, more forcefully still, that has seized upon astonishing numbers of people who came to look, and then put down their luggage and remained?


As it has upon me.


I had no intention of living here.


When in late August we drove through a hurricane out of our Connecticut village ―― my wife, three of my children, with eleven pieces of lightweight baggage, and trustful that though New London (コネチカット州の町の名前)was flooded we might get a train in Hartford(コネチカット州の町の名前) ―― we were leaving for a year.


I had lived all my more than forty years in New England, I wanted a change, and I wanted to see the Southwest.




Why do mothers instinctively hold babies on their left side?


One theory was that it was a matter of convenience ―― mothers need their right hand free to feed the baby.


Others thought it had something to do with the greater sensitivity of the left breast.


But now, says a medical magazine, doctors have found the answer: mothers cradle on the left because it leaves the baby’s left ear exposed.


The left ear feeds information to the right side of the baby’s brain, the side which interprets the melody and emotional sound quality of the mother’s voice.




Home is where the heart is.


But at the same time, home is so sad.


Bland’s attitude towards his flat was the somewhat shifting point at which these two attitudes met.


When he was away from it he thought of it longingly, as the place which would always provide him with a refuge from the world.


When he was actually inside it, safe and warm and quiet, as he had always wished to be, it irritated him, precisely on account of those same qualities for which he had felt such intense nostalgia.


The quietness, which he cherished, tormented him. There seemed to be no way in which he could resolve the conflict between these feelings.





Reading is not a passive act. Good writing of any kind will invite you to participate, engaging your senses, emotions, imaginations, and intellect. It will trigger your own memories and associations, and it will stimulate your thinking. When you read, you absorb, evaluate, and extend what the writer has articulated, interpreting it in light of who you are and what you know. In this sense, when you read a work of literature, you recreate it.




Human cultures evolve differently under varying circumstances, just as biological systems do. From one culture to another, different attitudes about human relationships with nature ―― about the degree to which human beings are part of or separate from nature ―― prevail, and different assumptions arise concerning the roles human beings play in the natural order.





A prudent employer would take the time to analyze the incentives workers might list as their reasons for working ―― and most importantly, the order in which they list them. A recent study disclosed that money was number seven on such a list. Topping it was satisfaction in performing the job. Obviously, that good feeling one gets from having accomplished something is still the best reward for hard labor. But workers also need to know they are doing their job well, and the major deficiency within management today is the failure of telling them so.




It is good when someone speaks out about an issue that troubles a group, because then it can ―― must ―― be faced. I know from experience that the habit of avoiding controversy can in the end cause far more trouble than it avoids, because strong feelings, unexpressed, don’t die but build up. They can accumulate other resentments that might otherwise be unimportant. In the end, if we are not to be possessed by hidden ill-feeling, we have to listen to one another.





The mass media, printed and broadcast, are probably the most pervasive influence on attitudes and opinions in the modern world. Access to mass media is, in fact, one of the defining characteristics of modernity. Other, more powerful forces may exist within a given region or culture. On a global basis, however, in terms of sheer numbers reached, other forms of communication cannot compete with the words and pictures carried in newspapers, broadcasts, magazines, and advertising. For example, the ways women are presented in the mass media strongly affect people’s notions on women’s place, as it is and as it ought to be.




Any grouping of human beings has its own world; a certain range of knowledge and certain modes of evaluation. Such a worldview is subject to constant modification as time rolls on. Nor can its association with the particular grouping prevent it from being adopted, to a greater or a lesser extent, by members of some other grouping. On the contrary, information, tastes, habits, modes of feeling and judgment can be transmitted from one sociocultural grouping to another, and individuals can in any case have loyalties to more than one grouping, so that they themselves are mobile between different worldviews accordingly.


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