Academic life and knowledge

“you are not engaged so much in acquiring knowledge as in making mental efforts under criticism. A certain amount of knowledge you can indeed with average faculties acquire so as to retain; nor need you regret the hours that you have spent on much that is forgotten, for the shadow of lost knowledge at least protects you from many illusions. But as you go to a great school, not for knowledge so much as for arts and habits; for the habit of attention, for the art of expression, for the art of assuming at a moment’s notice a new intellectual posture, for the art of entering quickly into another person’s thoughts, for the habit of submitting to censure and refutation, for the art of indicating assent or dissent in graduated terms, for the habit of regarding minute points of accuracy, for the habit of working out what is possible in a given time, for taste, for discrimination, for mental courage, and mental soberness.Above all, you go to a great school for self-knowledge.”

William Johnson Cory, Eton Reform, (London: Longman, Green, Longman & Roberts, 1861), pp. 6-7 as quoted in Henry Rosovsky, The University: An Owner’s Manual, (New York: W.W. Norton, 1990).

“So far as theories of mathematics are about reality; they are not certain; so far as they are certain, they are not about reality.”

Albert Einstein

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“Action is worry’s worst enemy” – Fortune Chinese Cookie