Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Books vs. Experience? Part II

This is a small continuation from Part I.

I found a really nice example on how books and experience don't conflict, but complement from Rules for Radicals:

"...I walked down the road from Argentieres to Chamonix after a snowfall, and suddenly from the abyss of unconscious memory a line of Virgil rose into my mind and I found myself repeating

Sed iacet aggeribus niveis informis et alto
Terra gelu

I had read the words at school and no doubt translated them glibly 'the earth lies formless under snow-drifts and deep frost'; but suddenly, with the snow scene before my eyes, I perceived for the first time what Virgil meant by the epithet informis, 'without form,' and how perfectly it describes the work of the snow..."

He couldn't visualize or understand the book completely, but with experience he was able to see the Virgil's description. Without the book he might of just seen snow, but with it he was able to appreciate it deeply.

That's what I'm talking about.

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