Reality bites Bankrupt Santa needs the Ca$h
The Blog, The Press, The Media: The Pursuit of Knowledge, From Genesis to Google
Every morning brings us the news of the globe, and yet we are poor in newsworthy stories.
One warm afternoon in the late 19th century, two middle-aged office clerks met on the same bench of the Boulevard Bourdon in Paris and immediately became the best of friends. Bouvard and Pécuchet (the names Gustave Flaubert gave to his two comic heroes) discovered through their friendship a common purpose: the pursuit of universal knowledge. To achieve this ambitious goal, they attempted to read everything they could find on every branch of human endeavor and, from their readings, cull the most outstanding facts and ideas. Flaubert's death in 1880 put an end to their enterprise, which was in essence endless, but not before the two brave explorers had read their way through many learned volumes on agriculture, literature, animal husbandry, medicine, archeology and politics, always with disappointing results. What Flaubert's two clowns discovered is what we have always known but seldom believed: that the accumulation of knowledge isn't knowledge.
The desire to know everything on earth and in heaven is so ancient that one of the earliest accounts of this ambition is already a cautionary tale. According to the 11th chapter of Genesis, after the Flood, the people of the earth journeyed east, to the land of Shinar, and decided to build a city and a tower that would reach the heavens.
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