Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Not anymore Henry

January 12, 2010

Interesting comparison between the knowledge of science and the knowledge of man by the always quotable Henry David Thoreau:

“Science does not embody all that men know, only what is for men of science. The woodman tells me how he caught trout in a box trap, how he made his trough for maple sap of pine logs, and the spouts of sumach or white ash, which have a large pith. He can relate his facts to human life. The knowledge of an unlearned man is living and luxuriant like a forest, but covered with mosses and lichens and for the most part inaccessible and going to waste; the knowledge of the man of science is like timber collected in yards for public works, which still supports a green sprout here and there, but even this is liable to dry rot.”

I also like the bit where he mentions that a lot of man’s knowledge ends up going to waste – presumably because it is lost with the man at death. Henry David Thoreau, though, didn’t live in a world with blogs and Twitter. If more people would spout out knowledge through these channels, instead of negativity, I think Henry’s thoughts could be outdated.