"The wisdom of the wise, and the experience of ages, may be preserved by quotations."~Isaac D'Israeli
Today, I was involved in a discussion with a young lady. Apparently, she had stumbled across a number of my articles and was using them as references for a school project.
As we talked, she told me that my view points of prejudice versus bigotry were inflammatorily irenic, my discussion on slavery in the prison system enlighteningly aphotic, and my discourse on the "The Algebra Of Peace" blindfully obvious.
I thanked her for such wonderfully verbose praise for my work, but I had one question for her.
She sat and scratched her head, then in a huff said, "Let me guess, you are going to ask if it changed my point of view of my world?"
To which my reply was no......
Then she asked, "Are you going to ask me if you could make any improvements on your narratives?"
I shook my head and said "Wrong again"
Finally, she gave up and said, "OK, what is your question for me?"
I could barely contain a giggle as I asked "Do you always use contraindicative words in your descriptions?"
For a brief moment, her eyes focused up into mine, she raised an eyebrow. I did not know if I had amused her with my question, or if she meant to attack me as her prey.
Then, in a rather dramatic elaboration, she said, "You actually know what irenic and aphotic means? I have been doing such things ever since I was in High School, and it took me to my Junior year of College to find a man that would notice it. I do it as sort of a mental game, to keep me on my toes."
"I know I have a good mind. I intend it to stay that way. Now, I have a question for you! Why do you always start you articles with quotes, either from yourself (you egoist) or from other famous people?"
In fact, she was not the first one to ask me that question. Upon careful reflection, I decided to write my reply in case any others would like to know as well.
The reason why I write quotations at the beginning and ending of my articles are twofold. The first reason is to focus the content of the article I am writing. The second is because we can prevent missteps toward the future by looking at the road map of our past, and see that others have made the same trek before us.
When I start off with a quote, I am either in agreement or disagreement with it. It is as if I am in a discussion with the opinions of the person I took the quote from. This is very important because as with any sculpture, we take the English Dictionary, you start by carving away the unnecessary and leave what the artist feels is the most expressive form of the work he is creating. Without the focus of the quotes, sometimes, I find myself writing tangents to unrelated materials, which in my inspirational frenzy of an irrational mind may seem orderly.
One example of this is when I tried to write an article about the practicality of algebraic expression in everyday common sense. I ended up composing a dissertation disagreeing with the notion that the Algebraic (oops, typo, I meant Abrahamic) religions need to be in constant struggle against each other. The outcome may have been much more beautiful then what I expected, but rarely do such tangents end up with such fruitfulness. In the words of W. Somerset Maugham's Summing Up:
"A good style should show no signs of effort. What is written should seem a happy accident."
Everyday our world is a new invention, new ideas, new theories, and new discoveries. Then, as the sky blushes knowingly at us in the sunset and the stars laugh at our naivety, some archaeologist discovers parts to an ancient computer. Maybe it is laughing at us as zoologist discover single-celled organisms bigger than some insects. All I know is as we discover new ways of thinking, the historians of the world are finding that same thoughts in our oldest writings. The censorship of ancient wisdom and the forgetting of ancient knowledge has sent man's development technologically and socially back millennia.
It does not matter if ancient ideas are right or wrong, but it saves time to know the who, what, when, where, how, and why of man's attempts. To forget our failures will lead us to attempt the same exact thing and expect success. If I am not mistaken, that is the definition of insanity.
I also include bits of wisdom from the past, so that I might expound upon it and apply it to the present. Each generation believes they are the greatest generation, often discounting the insight of the previous generations before them, and skeptical of the ideas of the next ones. Unfortunately, the greatest generation often fails to realize the the endeavors of the past generation were accomplished in their own fashion, and the dreams of tomorrows generation will push the human race past the point the greatest generation can see today.
"We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future."~George Bernard Shaw