Albert J. Nock
As far as I know, I have no pride of opinion.
The position of modern science, as far as an ignorant man of letters can understand it, seems not a step in advance of that held by Huxley and Romanes in the last century.
The business of a scientific school is the dissemination of useful knowledge, and this is a noble enterprise and indispensable withal; society can not exist unless it goes on.
Perhaps one reason for the falling-off of belief in a continuance of conscious existence is to be found in the quality of life that most of us lead. There is not much in it with which, in any kind of reason, one can associate the idea of immortality.
It is unfortunately none too well understood that, just as the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own.
Someone asked me years ago if it were true that I disliked Jews, and I replied that it was certainly true, not at all because they are Jews but because they are folks, and I don’t like folks.
Organized Christianity has always represented immortality as a sort of common heritage; but I never could see why spiritual life should not be conditioned on the same terms as all life, i. e., correspondence with environment.
Concerning culture as a process, one would say that it means learning a great many things and then forgetting them; and the forgetting is as necessary as the learning.
Like Prince von Bismarck in diplomacy, I have no secrets.
The positive testimony of history is that the State invariably had its origin in conquest and confiscation. No primitive State known to history originated in any other manner.
Perhaps the prevalence of pedantry may be largely accounted for by the common error of thinking that, because useful knowledge should be remembered, any kind of knowledge that is at all worth learning should be remembered too.
As might be supposed, my parents were quite poor, but we somehow never seemed to lack anything we needed, and I never saw a trace of discontent or a failure in cheerfulness over their lot in life, as indeed over anything.
The university’s business is the conservation of useless knowledge; and what the university itself apparently fails to see is that this enterprise is not only noble but indispensable as well, that society can not exist unless it goes on.
Life has obliged him to remember so much useful knowledge that he has lost not only his history, but his whole original cargo of useless knowledge; history, languages, literatures, the higher mathematics, or what you will – are all gone.
I am said to be difficult of acquaintance, unwilling to meet any one half way, and showing a social manner which is easy, not diffident, but formal and unresponsive, tending constantly to hold people off.