~ I have a bad habit of buying too many ebooks and never getting around to reading them. Its hard to resist when Amazon puts kindle books out on sale for $0.99 – $3.00. And its also hard to resist d/l’ng free epubs for my Nook.
Not too long ago, I was in a hunt for free epubs and found this by an old chum of mine: The Art of Literature, by Arthur Schopenhauer. Having never before seen this I picked it up.
Schopenhauer is a famous philosopher, known for writing tomes such as The World as Will and Representation, but – but, I don’t actually read any of his Philosophy because I find it to be too abstruse.
However I read his non-philosophical stuff because whether intended or not, I find it to be hil –
Case in Point: The Pessimist’s Handbook, a collection of essays describing and justifying Pessimism.
Anyway, all that said and aside, I want to excerpt something from the above, because I think its a lesson for me on exercising moderation with my ebook acquisitions. Were Herr Schopenhauer alive today, I think he would have modified this excerpt to fit our contemporary situation with ebooks.
Anyway, here it is:
“A library may be very large; but if it is in disorder, it is not so useful as one that is small but well arranged.
In the same way, a man may have a great mass of knowledge, but if he has not worked it up by thinking it over for himself, it has much less value than a far smaller amount which he has thoroughly pondered.
For it is only when a man looks at his knowledge from all sides, and combines the things he knows by comparing truth with truth, that he obtains a complete hold over it and gets it into his power. A man cannot turn over anything in his mind unless he knows it; he should, therefore, learn something; but it is only when he has turned it over that he can be said to know it.”*
~ This day and age, it is so easy to get books for free, especially if they are from yestercentury. I just d/l’d some Mark Twain, Charles Dickens and … can’t remember … earlier.
But its far better to read less and know it well, than to read tons and not only not know it well, but know it incorrectly.
*Note: On the side, I want to note that there seems to be something oddball about what old Schopenhauer is saying. He seems to be saying that in order to think something through, you first need to know it. Then he goes on to say that you cannot be said to know anything unless you first think it through???
Huh? There seems to be some kind of chicken and the egg – which came first – type of thing going on here… Ehhh.. whatever…