We have heard of a Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. It is said that knowledge is power, and the like. Methinks there is equal need of a Society for the Diffusion of Useful Ignorance, what we will call Beautiful Knowledge, a knowledge useful in a higher sense: for what is most of our boasted so-called knowledge but a conceit that we know something, which robs us of the advantage of our actual ignorance? What we call knowledge is often our positive ignorance; ignorance our negative knowledge.
Henry David Thoreau
Every one must understand that, whatever be the evil of slavery, it is not increased by its diffusion. Every one familiar with it knows that it is in proportion to its sparseness that it becomes less objectionable. Wherever there is an immediate connexion between the master and slave, whatever there is of harshness in the system is diminished.
I delight in the diffusion of learning; yet, I must confess it, I am most gratified and transported at finding a large quantity of it in one place; just as I would rather have a solid pat of butter at breakfast, than a splash of grease upon the table-cloth that covers half of it.
Walter Savage Landor
The joy resulting from the diffusion of blessings to all around us is the purest and sublimest that can ever enter the human mind, and can be conceived only by those who have experienced it. Next to the consolations of divine grace, it is the most sovereign balm to the miseries of life, both in him who is the object of it, and in him who exercises it.
The American people owe it to themselves, and to the cause of free Government, to prove by their establishments for the advancement and diffusion of knowledge, that their political Institutionsare as favorable to the intellectual and moral improvement of Man as they are conformable to his individual and social rights.
The present age has witnessed an extraordinary increase of a thinking public, by the facilities afforded to the diffusion of reading; the former happy resignation to ignorance begins to make way for a state of half-enlightenment, and few persons are willing to remain in the condition in which their birth has placed then.
Writers who get written about become self-conscious. They develop a regrettable habit of looking at themselves through the eyes of other people. They are no longer alone, they have an investment in critical praise, and they think they must protect it. This leads to a diffusion of effort. The writer watches himself as he works. He grows more subtle and he pays for it by loss of organic dash.
To no circumstance is the wide diffusion of error in the world more owing than to our habit of adopting conclusions from insufficiently established data. An indispensable preliminary, then, in every investigation, is to get at facts. Until these are arrived at, every opinion, theory, or system, however ingeniously framed, must necessarily rest upon an uncertain basis.
Christian Nestell Bovee
Wealth and speed are what the world admires, what each pursues. Railways, express mails, steamships and every possible facility for communications are the achievement in which the civilized world view and revels, only to languish in mediocrity by that very fact. Indeed, the effect of this diffusion is to spread the culture of the mediocre.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
When I came to the Senate in 1997, the world was being redefined by forces no single country controlled or understood. The implosion of the Soviet Union and a historic diffusion of economic and geopolitical power created new influences and established new global power centers - and new threats.
Learning is not virtue but the means to bring us an acquaintance with it. Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful. Let these be your motives to action through life, the relief of the distressed, the detection of frauds, the defeat of oppression, and diffusion of happiness.
May I reach That purest heaven - be to other souls The cup of strength in some great agony; Enkindle generous ardor, feed pure love, Beget the smiles that have no cruelty. Be the sweet presence of a good diffused, And in the diffusion ever more intense! So shall I join the choir invisible Whose music is the gladness of the world.
The psychological consequences of this spread of white culture have been out of all proportion to the materialistic. This world-wide cultural diffusion has protected us as man had never been protected before from having to take seriously the civilizations of other peoples; it has given to our culture a massive universality that we have long ceased to account for historically, and which we read off rather as necessary and inevitable.
In terms of the Internet, it's like humanity acquiring a collective nervous system. Whereas previously we were more like a [?], like a collection of cells that communicated by diffusion. With the advent of the Internet, it was suddenly like we got a nervous system. It's a hugely impactful thing.
We consider ourselves to be free because no one in our society is allowed unlimited powerno leader, faction, party or 'class', no majority, no government, church, corporation, trade, or professional association or trade union. The secret of its freedom is that it is composed of a multitude of organisations in the constitution of the best of which is reproduced that diffusion of power which is characteristic of the whole.
Michael Joseph Oakeshott
Mind is the great lever of all things; human thought is the process by which human ends are ultimately answered; and the diffusion of knowledge, so astonishing in the last half-century, has rendered innumerable minds, variously gifted by nature, competent to be competitors or fellow-workers on the theatre of intellectual operation.
But at sunset the clouds gathered again, bringing an earlier night, and the snow began to fall straight and steadily from a sky without wind, in a soft universal diffusion more confusing than the gusts and eddies of the morning. It seemed to be a part of the thickening darkness, to be the winter night itself descending on us layer by layer.
Without an acquaintance with chemistry, the statesman must remain a stranger to the true vital interests of the state, to the means of its organic development and improvement; ... The highest economic or material interests of a country, the increased and more profitable production of food for man and animals, ... are most closely linked with the advancement and diffusion of the natural sciences, especially of chemistry.
Justus von Liebig
Conventions of generality and mathematical elegance may be just as much barriers to the attainment and diffusion of knowledge as may contentment with particularity and literary vagueness... It may well be that the slovenly and literary borderland between economics and sociology will be the most fruitful building ground during the years to come and that mathematical economics will remain too flawless in its perfection to be very fruitful.
Kenneth E. Boulding
The struggle to emerge out of the past, clean of memories; the inadequacy of our hearts to cut life into separate and final portions; the pain of this constant ambivalence and interrelation of emotions; the hunger for frontiers against which we might learn as upon closed doors before we proceed forward; the struggle against diffusion, new beginnings, against finality in acts without finality or end, in our cursedly repercussive being..
This is an age of intellectual sauces, of essence, of distillation. We have conclusions without deductions, abridgments of history and abridgments of science without leading facts. We have animals for literature, Cabinet Encyclopaedias, Family Libraries, Diffusion Societies, and heaven knows what else! What is all this for? Not to add knowledge to the learned, but to tell points to the ignorant, without giving them the trouble to acquire the links. Oh! it is sad work. And the result will be injurious to all classes.
One of the principal obstacles to the rapid diffusion of a new idea lies in the difficulty of finding suitable expression to convey its essential point to other minds. Words may have to be strained into a new sense, and scientific controversies constantly resolve themselves into differences about the meaning of words. On the other hand, a happy nomenclature has sometimes been more powerful than rigorous logic in allowing a new train of thought to be quickly and generally accepted.
The logic of all this seems to be that it is all right for young people in a democracy to learn about any civilization or social theory that is not dangerous, but that they should remain entirely ignorant of any civilization or social theory that might be dangerous on the ground that what you don't know can't hurt you ... a complete denial of the democratic principle that the general diffusion of knowledge and learning through the community is essential to the preservation of free government.
Carl L. Becker
The party should stand for a constantly wider diffusion of property. That is the greatest social and economic security that can come to free men. It makes free men. We want a nation of proprietors, not a state of collectivists. That is attained by creating a national wealth and income, not by destroying it. The income and estate taxes create an orderly movement to diffuse swollen fortunes more effectively than all the quacks.
I'm not doing anything wrong, I'm not obstructing anyone's access. When I have a crowd I make sure that the crowd makes room for people. I'm an artist who cares about the cultural fabric of New York City. I care about New York as a harbor for street culture - and I care about street culture as a base-level populist diffusion of ideas. And I believe in making those ideas accessible to everyone.
Thomas Jefferson's Letter to John Holmes on the Missouri Statehood Question - April 20, 1820 I thank you, dear Sir, for the copy you have been so kind as to send me of the letter to your constituents on the Missouri question. It is a perfect justification to them. I had for a long time ceased to read newspapers, or pay any attention to public affairs, confident they were in good hands, and content to be a passenger in our bark to the shore from which I am not distant. But this momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the Union. It is hushed, indeed, for the moment. But this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence. A geographical line, coinciding with a marked principle, moral and political, once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men, will never be obliterated; and every new irritation will mark it deeper and deeper. I can say, with conscious truth, that there is not a man on earth who would sacrifice more than I would to relieve us from this heavy reproach, in any practicable way. The cession of that kind of property, for so it is misnamed, is a bagatelle which would not cost me a second thought, if, in that way, a general emancipation and expatriation could be effected; and, gradually, and with due sacrifices, I think it might be. But as it is, we have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other. Of one thing I am certain, that as the passage of slaves from one State to another, would not make a slave of a single human being who would not be so without it, so their diffusion over a greater surface would make them individually happier, and proportionally facilitate the accomplishment of their emancipation, by dividing the burthen on a greater number of coadjutors. An abstinence too, from this act of power, would remove the jealousy excited by the undertaking of Congress to regulate the condition of the different descriptions of men composing a State. This certainly is the exclusive right of every State, which nothing in the constitution has taken from them and given to the General Government. Could Congress, for example, say, that the non- freemen of Connecticut shall be freemen, or that they shall not emigrate into any other State? I regret that I am now to die in the belief, that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776, to acquire self-government and happiness to their country, is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be, that I live not to weep over it. If they would but dispassionately weigh the blessings they will throw away, against an abstract principle more likely to be effected by union than by scission, they would pause before they would perpetrate this act of suicide on themselves, and of treason against the hopes of the world. To yourself, as the faithful advocate of the Union, I tender the offering of my high esteem and respect. Th. Jefferson