Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shakespeare Can't Really Be Blamed for How Far Behind Us He Was.

I mean, it just stands to reason. Coming all these centuries and decades after, we've got the benefit of not only that dude's peculiarly-laid foundation to rest our gathering laurels upon, but also the benefit of all the constructions and all the advances of all the dudes after him! And, lest you think me sexist, all the dudesses as well. Which just makes the odds more overpowering. Though that's a bit needless to say - and "dude" can be gender-neutral in most usages, surely!

We see the same kind of thing in all our fields. Advances. Advance is ineluctable, and it's effect is: it leaves shit behind.

Do you think our modern particle physicists, nuclear physicists, quantum physicists and astrophysicists spend their time sitting around in apple orchards, lounging against trees waiting for inspiration to strike? Fuck no. That was how physics used to get done - back when there were no better methods. But I believe it was Sir Isaac Newton himself who said "If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." And rightfully so, in his case! The dude was a shrimp, even by the shrimpy standards of his age.

Actually, I have no idea how tall Sir Isaac was. I submit to you that it may be irrelevant. The point is, by his own admission, the dude was no giant. Let's respectfully pass that over, and get back to Shakespeare.

Shakespeare. In the estimation of most people, Shakespeare was a giant. A giant of literature! But things have changed, Will. Frankly, I don't think you could hack it in this day and age. Why, we can meet OR BEAT every damn one of your plays, and all we'd need is an infinite number of monkeys! You ever even think of using monkeys, in your day?

That's the point. Methods have advanced, in literature as in all fields. Let's give our forebears all the credit in the world, for whatever they did back then, but you have to admit it's pretty lame now! Compared to what we can do, given a sufficiency of monkeys.

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