Textbook Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 53 quotes )
Immortality is often ridiculous or cruel: few of us would have chosen to be Og or Ananias or Gallio. Even in mathematics, history sometimes plays strange tricks; Rolle figures in the textbooks of elementary calculus as if he had been a mathematician like Newton; Farey is immortal because he failed to understand a theorem which Haros had proved perfectly fourteen years before; the names of five worthy Norwegians still stand in Abel’s Life, just for one act of conscientious imbecility, dutifully performed at the expense of their country’s greatest man. But on the whole the history of science is fair, and this is particularly true in mathematics. No other subject has such clear-cut or unanimously accepted standards, and the men who are remembered are almost always the men who merit it. Mathematical fame, if you have the cash to pay for it, is one of the soundest and steadiest of investments.
A totalitarian society which succeeded in perpetuating itself would probably set us a schizophrenic system of thought, in which the laws of common sense held good in everyday life and in certain exact sciences, but could be disregarded by the politician, the historian, and the sociologist. Already there are countless people who would think it scandalous to falsify a scientific text-book, but would see nothing wrong in falsifying an historical fact.
Does the evolutionary doctrine clash with religious faith? It does not. It is a blunder to mistake the Holy Scriptures for elementary textbooks of astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology. Only if symbols are construed to mean what they are not intended to mean can there arise imaginary, insoluble conflicts. As pointed out above, the blunder leads to blasphemy: the Creator is accused of systematic deceitfulness.
What does seem to me poisonous, what breeds a type of patriotism that is pernicious if it lasts but not likely to last long in an educated adult, is the perfectly serious indoctrination of the young in knowably false or biased history - the heroic legend drably disguised as text-book fact. With this creeps in the tacit assumption that other nations have not equally their heroes; perhaps even the belief - surely it is very bad biology - that we can literally 'inherit' tradition.
The statement that there is any such thing, and the statement that there is no such thing, are niether of them statements that science can make. And real scientists do not usually make them. It is usually the journalists and popular novelists who have picked up a few odds and ends of half-baked science from textbooks who go in for them.
...the hippies of the 1960s did understand something. They were right in fighting the plastic culture, and the church should have been fighting it too... More than this, they were right in the fact that the plastic culture - modern man, the mechanistic worldview in university textbooks and in practice, the total threat of the machine, the establishment technology, the bourgeois upper middle class - is poor in its sensitivity to nature... As a utopian group, the counterculture understands something very real, both as to the culture as a culture, but also as to the poverty of modern man's concept of nature and the way the machine is eating up nature on every side.
I'm worried that students will take their obedient place in society and look to become successful cogs in the wheel - let the wheel spin them around as it wants without taking a look at what they're doing. I'm concerned that students not become passive acceptors of the official doctrine that's handed down to them from the White House, the media, textbooks, teachers and preachers.
Dr. Ransome marked the exercises in the algebra textbook and gave him two strips of rice-paper bandage on which to solve the simultaneous equations. As he stood up, Dr. Ransome removed the three tomatoes from Jim's pocket. He laid them on the table by the wax tray. 'Did they come from the hospital garden?' 'Yes.' Jim gazed back frankly at Dr. Ransome. Recently he had begun to see him with a more adult eye. The long years of imprisonment, the constant disputes with the Japanese had made this young physician seem middle-aged. Dr. Ransome was often unsure of himself, as he was of Jim's theft. 'I have to give Basie something whenever I see him.' 'I know. It's a good thing that you're friends with Basie. He's a survivor, though survivors can be dangerous. Wars exist for people like Basie.' Dr. Ransome placed the tomatoes in Jim's hand. 'I want you to eat them, Jim. I'll get you something for Basie.
[T]he act of true reading is in its very essence democratic. Consider the nature of what happens when we read a book - and I mean, of course, a work of literature, not an instruction manual or a textbook - in private, unsupervised, un-spied-on, alone. It isn't like a lecture: it's like a conversation. There's a back-and-forthness about it. The book proposes, the reader questions, the book responds, the reader considers. We bring our own preconceptions and expectations, our own intellectual qualities, and our limitations, too, our own previous experiences of reading, our own temperament, our own hopes and fears, our own personality to the encounter.
The appeal to the intellectually insecure is also more important than it might seem. Because economics touches so much of life, everyone wants to have an opinion. Yet the kind of economics covered in the textbooks is a technical subject that many people find hard to follow. How reassuring, then, to be told that it is all irrelevant -- that all you really need to know are a few simple ideas! Quite a few supply-siders have created for themselves a wonderful alternative intellectual history in which John Maynard Keynes was a fraud, Paul Samuelson and even Milton Friedman are fools, and the true line of deep economic thought runs from Adam Smith through obscure turn-of-the-century Austrians straight to them.
Many textbooks point out that no animal has evolved wheels and cite the fact as an example of how evolution is often incapable of finding the optimal solution to an engineering problem. But it is not a good example at all. Even if nature could have evolved a moose on wheels, it surely would have opted not to. Wheels are good only in a world with roads and rails. They bog down in any terrain that is soft, slippery, steep, or uneven. Legs are better. Wheels have to roll along an unbroken supporting ridge, but legs can be placed on a series of separate footholds, an extreme example being a ladder. Legs can also be placed to minimize lurching and to step over obstacles. Even today, when it seems as if the world has become a parking lot, only about half of the earth's land is accessible to vehicles with wheels or tracks, but most of the earth's land is accessible to vehicles with feet: animals, the vehicles designed by natural selection.
The words consent of the governed have become an empty phrase. Our textbooks on political science and economics are obsolete. Our nation has been hijacked by oligarchs, corporations, and a narrow, selfish, political, and economic elite, a small and privileged group that governs, and often steals, on behalf of moneyed interests. This elite, in the name of patriotism and democracy, in the name of all the values that were once part of the American system and defined the Protestant work ethic, has systematically destroyed our manufacturing sector, looted the treasury, corrupted our democracy, and trashed the financial system. During this plundering we remained passive, mesmerized by the enticing shadows on the wall, assured our tickets to success, prosperity, and happiness were waiting around the corner.
Aesthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed. The aesthetic motive is very feeble in a lot of writers, but even a pamphleteer or writer of textbooks will have pet words and phrases which appeal to him for non-utilitarian reasons; or he may feel strongly about typography, width of margins, etc. Above the level of a railway guide, no book is quite free from aesthetic considerations.
Ask questions, no, screech questions out loud - while kneeling in front of the electric doors at Safeway, demanding other citizens ask questions along with you - while chewing up old textbooks and spitting the words onto downtown sidewalks - outside the Planet Hollywood, outside the stock exchange, and outside the Gap. Grind questions onto the glass on photocopiers. Scrape challenges onto old auto parts and throw them off bridges so that future people digging in the mud will question the world, too. Carve eyeballs into tire treads and onto shoe leathers so that your every trail speaks of thinking and questioning and awareness. Design molecules that crystallize into question marks. Make bar codes print out fables, not prices. You can't even throw away a piece of litter unless it has a question mark stamped on it - a demand for people to reach a finer place
When I described Madame de T's night, I recalled the well-known equation from one of the first chapters of the textbook of existential mathematics: the degree of speed is directly proportional to the intensity of forgetting. From that equation we can deduce various corrollaries, for instance this one: our period is given over to the demon of speed, and that is the reason it so easily forgets its own self. Now I would reverse that statement and say: our period is obsessed by the desire to forget, and it is to fulfill that desire that it gives over to the demon of speed; it picks up the pace to show us that it no longer wishes to be remembered; that it is tired of itself; sick of itself; that it wants to blow out the tiny trembling flame of memory.