Thursday, October 04, 2007
the nature of knowledge
This part of Arcadia intrigued me in particular, and I wanted to get other people's opinions. Tom Stoppard introduces the concept that knowledge is cyclical. The library of alexandria and all the knowledge it contained was burned, as was the hermitage's wealth of the apparantly lunatic scribblings of a madman (genius). Thomasina's own mathmatical musings (iterations), though abandoned by the originator, were taken up again years later by Valentine. I think that although some knowledge is discovered repeatedly, humans are making a general progression into as of yet undiscovered material. I realize that I may well share Valentines bias, but I still am having a hard time believing that knowledge so revolutionary to us in the 21st century may have been discovered long ago the first time around. I am struggling with the concept that advanced though we may view ourselves, knowledge as Stoppard would have it is more cyclical than progressive - that all the literary works of alexandria will one day be rewritten. At the same time, but through a literary lense, with archetypes as evidence, I can see how some aspects of knowledge can be considered tried and true. What do you think?