Tryhard de Charlatan

I have read and studied The Phenomenon of Man with real distress, even with despair. Instead of wringing our hands over the Human Predicament, we should attend to those parts of it which are wholly remediable, above all to the gullibility which makes it possible for people to be taken in by such a bag of tricks as this. If it were an innocent, passive gullibility it would be excusable; but all too clearly, alas, it is an active willingness to be deceived.

The brilliant Sir Peter Medewar rips into the bullshitter Tielhard de Chardin in this 1963 review.

My only issue with this exegesis is the following line, which I didn't quite understand:

... so the spread of secondary and latterly tertiary education has created a large population of people, often with well-developed literary and scholarly tastes, who have been educated far beyond their capacity to undertake analytical thought.

I think the good Sir Peter might have been having a go at me too!

Anyway, my take: Tielhard de Chardin was a man who never had a clear thought and never wrote a clear sentence.



Posted by: expat@large on Jul 31, 07 | 1:05 am | Profile


Read Barry Schwartz's "The paradox of choice", a great book whose message I should apply to my dating and whom I think Sir Peter would agree with when it comes to education and analytical thought.

Posted by: Indiana on Jul 31, 07 | 11:36 am

Yes, I've read the Schwartz book, but its application to your dating issues was not on my mind at the time.

Posted by: expat@large on Jul 31, 07 | 11:49 am


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