to man as it is, Infinite.
For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow
chinks of his cavern. — William Blake, from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, in The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake (University of California Press, 2008)
“Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!
Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.”
— Psalm 144:3-4 (King James Version)
“Lord, what are human beings that you care for them,
mere mortals that you think of them?
They are like a breath;
their days are like a fleeting shadow.”
— Psalm 144:3-4 (New International Version)
Too much time in academia can actually do you harm. Take writing, for example. When you get out of school, you have to unlearn so much of the way they teach you to write there. Some of the misguided lessons you learn in academia:
1. The longer a document is, the more it matters.
2. Stiff, formal tone is better than being conversational.
3. Using big words is impressive.
4. You need to write a certain number of words to make a point.
5. The format matters as much (or more) than the content you write.
It’s no wonder so much of business writing ends up dry, wordy, and dripping with nonsense. People are just continuing the bad habits they picked up in school. It’s not just academic writing, either. There are a lot of skills that are useful in academia that aren’t worth much outside of it. — Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, Rework (via self-ownership)
Well, who in his own back yard
Has not opened his heart to the smiling
Secret he cannot quote?
Which goes to show that the Bard
was sober when he wrote
That this world of fact we love
Is unsubstantial stuff:
All the rest is silence
On the other side of the wall;
And the silence ripeness,
And the ripeness all.
—W. H. Auden, from the preface of The Sea and the Mirror, ed. Arthur Kirsch (Princeton University Press, 2003