Friday, January 8, 2010

Galen: On Prisca Sapientia



"While, however, the statements which the Ancients made on these points were correct, they yet omitted to defend their arguments with logical proofs; of course they never suspected that there could be sophists so shameless as to try to contradict obvious facts. ... For I find that a great many things which have been conclusively demonstrated by the Ancients are unintelligible to the bulk of the Moderns owing to their ignorance -- nay, that, by reason of their laziness, they will not even make an attempt to comprehend them; and even if any of them have understood them, they have not given them impartial examination. The fact is that he whose purpose is to know anything better than the multitude do must far surpass all others both as regards his nature and his early training. And when he reaches early adolescence he must become possessed with an ardent love for truth, like one inspired; neither day nor night may he cease to urge and strain himself in order to learn thoroughly all that has been said by the most illustrious of Ancients. And when he has learnt this, then for a prolonged period he must test and prove it, observing what part of it is in agreement, and what in disagreement with obvious fact; thus he will choose this and turn away from that. To such an one my hope has been that my treatise would prove of the very greatest assistance. Still, such people may be expected to be quite a few in number, while, as for the others, this book will be as superfluous to them as a tale told to an ass." -- Galen, philosopher/physician, On the Natural Faculties, Book III, 2nd century

2 comments:

Fungus FitzJuggler III said...

Well! No comments by those who jeer!

Maybe you struck a nerve!

OilIsMastery said...

Isn't it amusing and telling how some posts get 30 comments and my favorite posts get none at all?