Scan Quotes (3 quotes)
During the first half of the present century we had an Alexander von Humboldt, who was able to scan the scientific knowledge of his time in its details, and to bring it within one vast generalization. At the present juncture, it is obviously very doubtful whether this task could be accomplished in a similar way, even by a mind with gifts so peculiarly suited for the purpose as Humboldt's was, and if all his time and work were devoted to the purpose.
Great thinkers build their edifices with subtle consistency. We do our intellectual forebears an enormous disservice when we dismember their visions and scan their systems in order to extract a few disembodied gemsthoughts or claims still accepted as true. These disarticulated pieces then become the entire legacy of our ancestors, and we lose the beauty and coherence of older systems that might enlighten us by their unfamiliarityand their consequent challenge in our fallible (and complacent) modern world.
The mind can quickly scan not only the past, but also the projected future consequences of a choice. Its dynamics transcend the time and space of brain physiology.