Saturday, January 7, 2012

George Steiner interview: "a certain kind of knowledge"

A short interview from with George Steiner, Renaissance Man, "interior professor", polymath and polyglot can be read here

Here is a short excerpt that you may wish to consider the next time you ask yourself why you haven't been able to get through that book that you have been promised to read:
Yes, the quality of silence is organically linked to the quality of language. You and I are sitting here, in this house surrounded by a garden, where there is no other noise other than the sound of our conversation. Here I can work. Here I can dream and try to think. Silence has become a huge luxury. People are living in a constant din. There is no more night in cities. Young people are afraid of silence. What will become of serious and difficult reading? Is it possible to read Plato while wearing a Walkman? I find this very worrying.
Amongst other things, Steiner laments the inaccessibility of science and the inability of writers and philosophers to communicate with "us".

Growing specialization and scientism in areas and subjects where the proposition is clearly dubious yet is foisted upon us as rigorous just adds to these circumstances in my opinion.

So, put down you Blackberry, turn off reality television, and pick up that book which looks great on your library shelf but which has clearly not been read.