February 28, 2006

Tu Ne Quaesieris

 Tu ne quaesieris, scire nefas, quem mihi, quem tibi
finem di dederint, Leuconoë, nec Babylonios
temptaris numeros. Ut melius quicquid erit pati!
Seu pluris hiemes seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam,
quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare
Tyrrhenum, sapias, vina liques et spatio brevi
spem longam reseces. Dum loquimur, fugerit invida
aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you possess understanding! Who set its
measurements—if you know— or who stretched a measuring
line across it? On what were its bases set, or
who laid its cornerstone— when the morning stars
sang in chorus, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
(Job 38:4-7)

There's far too much to take in here

More to find than can ever be found

- Circle of Life

Tu ne quaesieris, scire nefas... I do believe that there are some things that
we are not meant to know. But is that such a bad thing? Is it such a limitation?
When I was little, I remember those lines really striking me in the Lion King:
There is more to find on this earth than we can ever hope to know and understand.
Far from being some celestial chain, restricting our minds, it's more of a cycle.
And each person learns a little, gives a little, takes a little. That's what the world is
all about. The world is constantly changing, and moving, and shifting. There are no two
snowflakes exactly alike; there are no two people alike, either. Genes are pushed
around and switched and rearranged all the time. It's the same with ideas. The cycle
seems to turn full circle, too... What is wise in one age is foolishness the next,
then heresay, than suddenly, it becomes the truth again...


J. Archer said...

Certainly not knowing some things are GOOD. Our futures would terrify us, for right now we are not strong enough to face it (are we ever?). Imagine seeing as a child all the less-than-pleasant people you would come across, all the long hours you'd spend trying to get work done, all the frustrations, the impersonality of bureaucracy... you would fear and understand little. Seeing your parents die (maybe they die horrifically) wouldn't be too good.

So definitely, some ignorance is good. One can also argue from the finity of humanity. Chesterton was making fun (well, I think he was, I don't quite understand him) of certain logicians who sought to get the heavens inside their heads. He was contrasting these folk with poets, who merely sought to get their head inside the heavens. Well, Chesterton says, when you get the heavens inside your head, your head splits open. ^^

Incidentally in early modern philosophy we are going through Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding, and at the outset he explains what he's about. To find limitations of human understanding, so that we can discuss what we CAN know with focus and etc. Analogy of physical strength goes with that. But that's mostly unrelated...

Tar Aryndil said...

You still can't make me read ASoIaF, woman!

Elindomiel said...

Actually, I wrote this post days before I talked to you about that, I just recycled some of the same arguments.

Tar Aryndil said...

I've no more to say, you can't make me read it! YOU CAN'T!

J. Archer said...

What's ASoIaf?

Abnormal Silence of Igloos and Furs?

Elindomiel said...

A book series, called "A Song of Ice and Fire" It's quite good, especially as fantasy novels tend to go... however, Aryndil refuses to read it because he's afraid it will influence his own style.

J. Archer said...


ANYTHING that happens influences one's style, abeit more often in subtle ways. I daresay that refusing to read something means that some other influence will be stronger... but arguing for this might take us into limited good and interconnectedness.

Oh well! As long as you can understand the logic of your own thought (to a fair degree, anyway), you can control your style quite a bit.

Tar Aryndil said...

It's the whole gritty realism one. I don't want people to go "Hey, this guy has copied ASoIaF and that's why he writes about bones being mashed to a pulp and all the teeth torn out by tongs after the battle, and the eyes knocked out by a hammer and a sharp stick."

Yes, not being influenced by ASoIaF does enhance the influence other, gritty works have on me. Like Heimskringla and the Iliad? Those are the ones I need to be influenced by, classical literature!