Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Erasmus in praise of folly...

Erasmus had this very precise view of Academia (spotted on pieter.serneels' homepage while looking for a paper he presented at the Oxford CSAE conference):

'But people who use their erudition to write for a learned minority … don’t seem to me favoured by fortune but rather to be pitied for their continuous self-torture. They add, change, remove, lay aside, take up, rephrase, show to their friends, keep for nine years, and are never satisfied. And their futile reward, a word of praise from a handful of people, they win at such a cost – so many late nights, such loss of sleep, sweetest of all things, and so much sweat and anguish. Then their health deteriorates, their looks are destroyed, they suffer partial or total blindness, poverty, ill will, denial of pleasure, premature old age, and early death, and any other such disaster there may be. Yet the wise man believes he is compensated for everything if he wins the approval of one or another purblind scholar.’'

Erasmus, 1515, Praise of Folly

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