In which our hero discovers that learning can be a discomforting affair
“Should he be held to be just a layman, or does he have some art?”
The Sophist Plato (c 427 BCE – c 347 BCE), translated by Lesley Brown (2005: 221d)
– Whatever is well-said by another, is mine, says Seneca.1
Oldman must have banged his head or something, for when he came round he could hear lapping water and something akin to rowlocks. He felt bruised and his eyes were sore as if he had been crying for too long. Squinting up into the sun, he thought he could make out a bird punting from the wrong end of a flat-bottomed river craft.
Suddenly he was awake, summer sun on his face. He dropped his hand off the side of the punt; cool Isis. He laughed. This was getting more ridiculous. He looked his squinty look again. The Magpie looked awfully like a don in a university gown, gamely punting along.
– You know that you are punting from the wrong end? I had you down for someone with more culture than that.
So that remark in the garden shed had stung after all.
– Cam not Isis, tersely put.
He rolled over slightly and made out the pointed roofline of the chapel at King’s. The Backs. Damn, it was right – Cambridge, the Opposition.
– What are we doing here? I am no intellectual.
– Precisely. You are a lay brother, yet welcome here. You came here for your healing. An incident happened one day, as happens to us all, and it made you hesitate, fatally. I know this to be true. Such was its force that its impact fled to your memory, never to re-emerge. For too long it has weighed on your heart and imprisoned you in reticence. Now is the time for courage, friend, for I know you to be capable of immense success. You want to be liberated from its debilitating grip, to get yourself out of your current dilemma, where, too slowly to be observed, it has grown like ivy on a trunk and undermined your potential. That is why this Book is in your hands today.
– Well now it is out, no longer a private agony, but shared. You will never be able to go back, you have cut the knot. Neither are you unique, for there are many who know of these things also. Some would say too many, but of what use is opinion in this particular matter? Take it from me; we are legion, and they now include you in their number. Come, cease hugging it to yourself like a talisman, this experience can be discarded, no longer your definition but a past item to be learnt from before cataloguing under E for Experience.
The irritation welled again. What did he know? He had not been there. There was pain in his chest.
– I have previously referred to how your own magpie ways may be negatively interpreted by the intellectuals in such great seats of academe as this one, and I wish to encourage you here to accept the role of what I might term The Contented Layperson.
– A lot of the seeming drivel written in this Book will drive the specialists mad as you raid their conceptual cupboard and carry off only half the idea. Yet do not let them take you to task and accuse you of only having half-understood, for that is precisely the virtue of what you will come to appreciate as Uncertainty. To be honest, I am a layperson too, as are most of your readers. What more could a mere magpie be? I am not in the business of rewriting the discoveries made by specialists in their silos who, quite rightly, can delve deeper than a lot of us have time or inclination for. So let us, together, reclaim our right to be half-baked.
Did he catch a twinkle in the gimlet eye or was it the reflection from sunlight upon the water?
– The kindest thing ever said about laypeople is that they describe things in a non-technical way. The origin of the word comes from “the laity”, that secular group of people who are to be distinguished from the clergy. This distinction became highly developed in cities like this to protect the latter’s power-base and indeed it continues to pervade the modern culture of decision-making, still overly inhabited by the intellectual constructs of this place and its sister as you know. Take any definition of the lay at random and you will note how the clerical value system has been imported as a priority into these definitions, and hence to be negatively defined. You have only to count the ‘nots’ in the following deposition to appreciate this.
– Historically a layperson would have been described as lay-sister or lay-brother received into a community of monks, that is a person who, whilst following the vows, was not actually a member of the Order. From this the layperson came to be described as someone who was not an ordained cleric or member of the clergy. By analogy, as in this kind of august institution, that came to mean someone who was not a professional in a given field. One has but little distance to go before realising that, in their ordinary conversation, the clergy were using this word to define any common person: that is to say, someone who is untrained or lacks knowledge of a subject.
– So, with no shame, they went the whole hog, and the word has now come to mean a generally ignorant person.
– Now Contrary people like us delight in being negatively defined which, as you will come to know, is another virtue of Uncertainty. Of course, the Priesthood were once the only literate people around and from them developed the Intellectuals, a group known after the Latin as the literati. We English are famously resistant to intellectuals and it is a symptom of the low esteem to which idea-mongers2 have sunk in our culture, that this term is now solely retained as an insult for use by journalists. Interestingly it is not possible to be an individual literatus, the plural Latin noun being retained one supposes to designate the whole bloody lot of them.
– If you want status as an idea-monger, get yourself called a litterateur after the French fashion; a people, as we know, dangerously obsessed with ideas. Samuel Taylor Coleridge got hot under the collar about the naming of this group and once tried to re-assert his right to intellectualism by inventing the term clerisy3 to describe such a grouping of secular intellectuals. Regrettably, we have somehow failed to retain his option, but he was on to the same idea.
– Whilst I am retrieving some old terminology, we could be termed wit-mongers, perhaps a better pitch? However, this is also downhill all the way. “Monger” describes a dealer in a specific commodity, found in such combinations as ironmonger or costermonger. Out of this, the meaning slewed at some time towards designating a person promoting something undesirable or discreditable; witness scandalmonger or warmonger, and whence another usage, meaning “to peddle”. Perhaps worst, the word itself comes down to us from the Latin root mang, perhaps itself of Greek origin and meaning “a dealer in slaves”.4
The sun beat down and some birdsong filtered through. Afloat on the lazy stream he realised that he had completely lost control of his pace, that headlong rush into self-importance brought on by being busy. He remembered the car sticker seen in California, the godless state: “Jesus is coming – Look busy”.
“A-chacka-chacka-chacka” echoes on the far bank.
– So what’s to prefer you might ask? Well, the front half of either word is also Greek, both idea and wit having the same Greek root from idein, to see. Wit is about having the perception to connect ideas. Having joined-up ideas like this signals understanding and sagacity; mental acuity, composure, and resourcefulness. Which also brings us back to the Greeks. Without wishing to teach my grandmother to suck eggs (now there’s a lost skill on our side), and because time is of the essence, I would pause here to remember just one of their idea-mongers: Socrates.
– You could say he set the standard. He seems never to have written anything down, so we know him only as reported by others, writings at times more revelatory of their author than of Socrates himself, as might be expected. This absence of personally penned texts has created an unhelpful mythology around him, and lent him a somewhat inscrutable and enigmatic air. I am however quite spellbound with how his life became a paradigm of his thought. He mastered critical reasoning and loved debate and his use of the dialectic is exemplary. Through this excellent methodology he began a lifelong quest to determine what were more universal definitions for the key concepts that he saw as governing human life5 – though perhaps I would challenge his use of these talents in the mere pursuit of virtue. Yet was he the first to point out how ignorant we really are, how illusory is our carefully constructed understanding of the world, and to call for the destruction of these to free up our pursuit of genuine knowledge.
A bee bumbles by.
– Perhaps I should introduce myself: Merchant of the Spirit, that body of deep perception that links ideas, and signifies in the individual understanding and vision, mental acuity, composure, and resourcefulness; and Weaver of Aspects, one who draws from other minds and experiences a series of concepts which may be conjoined into a set of Uncertain rules designed to better model the functioning of human nature.
– A magpie task you might say, each bright idea of this Volume being transferred from its rightful place into the heart of your condition. Such thieving behaviour is condemned by some intellectuals but even the Law maintains that ideas remain exclusive to no-one. Later, you will learn that we, the Uncertain, a somewhat annoying people, like to be defined by opposition.
– Certainly these ideas have been developed in other realities but they are applied here to the individual context in order to construct a new intellectual geometry, Uncertain deductions to accommodate your frame of reference and transform these ideas into a praxis that belongs to you alone, an Uncertain alchemy to provoke your natural creativity into action by advocating behaviours that destabilize.
– I accept that such a review of your thoughts on the quality of your social interaction may be unprecedented for you.
Hmm. Fancies himself as some kind of teacher.
– Ha, look to yourself, sir. Magpie fashion, dare I say it, for over thirty years of your adult life, have you yourself raided many ideas that were already well-ensconced in their proper place. They had the advantage of not requiring a layperson like you to develop them further within their own context; this kind of context.
He included all Cambridge in the sweep of one wing of the gown.
– Indeed you lack the specific skills and specialist knowledge to do so, let alone the time. Yet here they sat like jewels in a box, shiny and irresistible. What this slim Volume will seek to do is to transfer them improperly into the heart of the human condition and thus illuminate, by adaptation, both the working and social lives of our species. Simply put, you will want them to be useful to the Many, whatever your own motivation. That is our task and this is your apprenticeship.
What slim volume? What is this book he keeps talking about? he wondered, his irritation welling up again.
They were being expertly steered alongside the big wall outside Cripps Court and the Magpie had avoided losing his pole in the deeps. Hmm, it had done this before.
Oldman was recovering his composure, intrigued by the turn of events.
So, they had a joint task. He had long considered writing down what he knew in some idle fashion, but here was something more purposeful. His brain had been expertly tickled like some lazy trout and caught up in an interesting net of possibilities. This might be fun. He turned his attention back to his Tutor.
– First let us consider some Strategies for Living in a Hostile World. How should one deal with the kind of accident that befell your youth for example? Somewhere in between This Adequacy, and That Death, lies Injury; that disabling Accident for which there is no preparation. Yet though accident may affect our Self, still it does not diminish our innate self-sufficiency, which, faced with a novel restriction on future experience, merely displaces the boundaries of what is possible. Only our mind, foolishly fond of our former image, would encourage us to limit our Self.
– It is a truism to observe that terrible accidents will happen to limit us as we interact with the physical world, removing or diminishing one or several of our mental or physical functions: a difficult birth, a poor marriage of a body to a working machine, a simple fall, an abusive adult. Of course the worst thing about an accident is that it is a type of incident for which, by definition, there can be no preparation. It limits our interaction with the world and throws our compass out of kilter.
– More often than not, an accident does not kill and the now injured victim is obliged to integrate the new data about him or herself practically, immediately, and somehow carry on. The body or mind has immense powers of self-healing and immediately sets about repairing itself within the resources remaining. Such is the adaptability of our species and so strong the drive to survive, that we are actually constructed in physical and mental ways to permit life to continue even as we encounter such physiological or psychic limitations. There are many examples of fellow humans overcoming adversity – in the UK, Dr Stephen Hawking or Mrs Jane Tomlinson spring to mind, but every culture has them.
A boat passes the other way.
– Their capacity to overcome limitation enabled them to find alternative pathways for their spirit to express their will, their life, their ability to survive. Many times this will even extend to a human whose own life is seemingly locked in adversity, to seek to provide improvement by effacing the Self to allow other lives through. A whole communications industry born of the yellow press feeds our curiosity about such people. Some of this may be motivated by morbid curiosity, some of it out of sheer relief or triumphalism (“there but for the grace of God go I”),6 but a lot more of it is, I would wager, just quietly celebratory and instructive of our own situation. As humans progress through life, they operate within limitations much of the time; be they intellectual, financial, social or emotional.
– These are constructed out of the twin building blocks of what have been termed Nurture and Nature.7 Nature is that ensemble of abilities we come with. Broadly put, the genome delivers at every birth a capable machine whose progress and survival actually seems to get fired up by external limitation, operating within the physical and mental limits of the human frame and brain. The machine is far from perfect I accept, some adaptations only just keeping us this side of failure, being too approximate or weak, as in the case of our upright skeletal frame that even after a hundred thousand years of natural selection still only just manages to keep at bay the damage inflicted by gravity. We have however developed a marvellous internal capacity of the mind to outwit the more negative impacts of the genetic accidents of birth; although less socially well-adapted members of our species, upon too cursory an external observation, may not appreciate the progress you have made.
– I am thinking here of such terrible prejudices in our culture as that against any form of disablement. It is this kind of terrible and terrifying impact of Others that is the more difficult affair to deal with, though we persist in entitling our interaction with them “Nurture”. What irony in that term some will feel, even you yourself might conclude from your experiences. We will have cause to explore this in more depth later. Yet it is in this challenging interaction that humans discover a wonderful capacity for engineering much greater social and emotional change for themselves than could ever be achieved through the basic tools of their genetic make-up at birth. In this Volume I want you to concentrate on that fierce ability to improve your lot within your own limitations, and thus encourage you to view yourself as a being capable of grand achievements, regardless of whatever your current view might be. In fact, discard it now.
He flicked water droplets off one sleeve as if in illustration.
– There are, of course, many social incidents and natural events that seemingly conspire to limit our contribution to life and living. Contrary to appearances, these limiting experiences do not, in fact, limit us, but they may encourage our minds to limit ourselves. Making this distinction is crucial if we are to realise our full potential. There is nothing more pernicious than being put in a natural or a social environment that teaches us that we are somehow normally more limited than the person or the phenomenon that is presenting us with that limitation.
– I am not seeking here to imply that our natural limitations are not real enough. They do constrain us. We know that a large electrical charge kills or that water drowns. Some plants fatally poison and various species, seemingly particularly our own, will actually seek to eliminate us from the competition if they can get close enough. Misuse of our spine frequently reveals its weakness in painful, sometimes permanent ways when faced with even the softest pull of gravity. Yet, if we could but see the true nature of these impacts on our wholesomeness, we would know how better to exploit their true nature; for in true Uncertain paradoxical style, do they not every time provide us with an opportunity to expand our capacities? For while such events have an impact on our autonomy and thus reduce our personal capacity, they do not impact on our innate self-sufficiency.
Oldman looked up. Progress was smooth, the man certainly knew his moments from his torques. They entered the verdant landscape of Jesus Green.
– So friend, have confidence in your limits, they are there for a reason. It is not my intention to suggest that we can live outside of them, only to give us hope that there are indeed ways for us to more fully inhabit our living sphere, energetically and with increased inspiration. It will be my contention that developing a confident ability to hook the Adult can release you into a new capacity where you will demonstrate autonomy on a daily basis. But I am getting ahead of myself.
– I recognise that my teaching style is gauche and you have had occasion to remark upon it internally several times, if not to be irritated by the manner of it. But far be it from me to actually seek to teach you a lesson. My purpose is much more humble. I merely wish here, as a Weaver of Aspects, to conjoin a series of concepts culled from other minds, other experiences, to help you emerge from your current fix. You wish to be freed from its debilitating grasp which, too slowly to be observed, has grown up like ivy on a broad trunk to slow down your potential.
He could not object. Dappled light played havoc on his closed lids.
– Humans are born with innate abilities to make their way through the material and social worlds. There is nothing in your original condition which militates against you being able to cope with whatever nature and society can throw at you – as presented to you via your interaction with those worlds, be they natural phenomena or societal. Have confidence in experience.
– We are born with a set of natural abilities, and few interventions from the natural world will take us beyond their protective limits, for you start out adequate to any situation because that is how you were conceived. The secret is to learn how to remain that way. We all emerge from a natural environment – dinosaurs, mammals – to which we are, perforce, adapted, since we have our origins in it. Human biology is the result of a myriad adaptations to the natural environment from which we are derived: waterproof when it rains, fuelled by what grows, kept alive by a beneficial gas that also revives the flame.
– The study of how this gas is inhaled, by the way, gives me cause to contradict your assertions that birds are the progeny of the dinosaur.8 Birds breathe like mammals, with a diaphragm; whereas it seems from fossil bone evidence that the Dinosaurs had to somehow tip their pelvises at each breath to draw in air, a far more inefficient system and not one birds could ever use during the exertions of flight I warrant.
The sun was hot on the grass and he was fascinated to observe, at his eye-level, mirages of water in the meadows. How far downstream might they eventually glide he wondered?
– We can take great comfort and inspiration from the implacable evidence presented by our responses to such natural phenomena. In a social situation we are also well-adapted as a social ape, to deal via our big brain with whatever another human throws at us. Be assured, in spite of what some may teach, that there can be nothing that we will experience during our social lives that will exceed our natural mental and social capacities. After all, are not these social interactions created by other members of the same species who fully resemble us, including in their limitations?
A dark moment cast its silence as they passed under a bridge.
– A collegiate species, we often survive through collective effort. Oh baleful paradox, when we learn that to entrust our vulnerability to Another opens us up for them to profit from our dependence. The shock of such a limitation requires us to restore control of our personal choice as soon as is feasible, thereby preventing us from handing our survival over to a third party and lose all touch with our innate personal strength.
– I do not need to affirm this, your personal experience is eloquent enough, is it not? Yet, although I know how much you grieve, in that conjoined world of the social and the natural, perhaps the greatest current danger is the deliberately unequal distribution of resources, which we term Poverty. Alongside recent changes to the climate, this is the greatest issue we must tackle head on, and very soon, if all species are to survive. I speak out of self-interest if I observe that conflict is a major contributor to poverty. Eighty percent of your world’s poorest countries have suffered from a major conflict in the past fifteen years, funded by a global military spend of $900 billion. Almost every conflict zone in our world is located in a developing country. Ninety percent of modern war victims are civilian and seventy five percent of your world’s refugees are women and children, as men are often killed or forced into armies or militias.9
– I can see the truth of this from the extent of poverty in the cultures of each continent. But one thing that is not true is that poverty puts a stop to the human capacity for the invention of creative solutions to find an exit. This holds for the poorest amongst us. By this I do not mean to stray into the dangerous world of Empowerment, the Comforts of which concept remain eminently criticisable. Here, the rich, out of guilt, often compound their oppression of this group by implying that poverty, because it reduces a certain kind of autonomy, somehow limits the capacity of the poor to improve their situation themselves.10 Feed them, clothe them, finance them, yes, but do not use those tools to shut down their will to take responsibility for their own way forward. There is a view that poverty prevents autonomy, yet how else did people like Zola or Pinter obtain sufficient cultural capital to become politically active? You yourself are a child of the British Welfare State, a product of the 1944 Education Act and thus an escapee from the post-war English working class; a product of early state care and a survivor of abuse.
And writing this, so take heart all, came an unbidden thought.
– In what kind of space does the human spirit live? The sensorium is a space where ideas are produced, a place where the brain is the physical manifestation and tool of the mind, which is, in turn, the seat of sensation where the brain interprets the experiences of the environment in which it operates.
– To my Uncertain mind’s ear, the word Sensorium encompasses sounds that ally it to the medieval herbarium,11 a reference collection par excellence that facilitates identification, research and education. My sensorium shares that aspect of the Herbarium, woefully described as a modern phenomenon at Kew Gardens, a collection of “dried, preserved specimens that document the identity of plants and funghi” to serve as “reference collections [for] identification, research and education”.12
– This further shares definition with the Bestiary, that set of most fantastic notions which seeks to confirm that the spiritual and mystical aspects of the animal world constitute a source of instructive knowledge for humanity.13 How much more instructive than superstition might such a book be in this current century.
– I make no apology for pushing this a little further. May I, in my Uncertain Magpie way, encourage you to treat this Book as a Sensorium, which term has a certain shifting Uncertainty which suits my thesis, allowing me to seek a fresher definition of these phenomena that is more suited to the current 21st century climate or mood.
– Seemingly having emerged into English via Late Latin in the mid-17th century – well certainly as according to the OED14 (pace Cambridge) – the notion of sensorium originally sought to describe the space where our ideas happen, that place where the brain can be seen as the physical manifestation or the tool of the Mind. As we shall come to see, this opposition between Space and Place is a crucial distinction for the Uncertain novitiate to comprehend.
– It was of course Marshall MacLuhan who did the most to secure a modern definition of the Sensorium in his writings of the 1960s.15 Inventor of the phrase “the medium is the massage”, you will remember the prevailing story that a printer’s error changed ‘message’ to ‘massage’ on the book’s cover16 and that MacLuhan kept it in. Whatever the truth of this, he went on to describe the human sensorium as being massaged by a whole series of impacts from a variety of media which paradoxically are themselves mere extensions of our human senses, bodies and minds.
– I cannot here resist an appalled aside about the current terrible slackness surrounding this term, which has given us one recent emergence as the trade mark of a UK company developing assistive technology for carers, whilst another features it as the name of a London-based Gothic rock band. Both worthy enterprises within their own context I dare say. Currently I suppose one could say that the word describes a philosophical concept relating to perception, but I wonder how many would recognise it as such? Please try, finally and perhaps most usefully for my thesis, to see the sensorium as the sum of an organism’s perceptions, the seat of sensation, where it experiences and interprets the environments within which it lives.
– And what of this thing called Uncertainty?
They were renegotiating the big willow that overhangs at Trinity, for at some earlier point, undetected, his tutor had turned the boat around and they were headed back the other way, upstream. If there had been any additional effort required it remained intangible.
– What may be said about the nature of Uncertainty? At this point it will not surprise you to learn that the very phrase, The Benefits of Uncertainty,17 is not of my own invention but one that I borrowed. It is a concept well-known to professional circles working in social psychology and probability theory. If there is any claim to originality – though this may be mere novelty – it is in its application to the social environment, as found within these pages perhaps extensively for the first time.
– For my part I cannot think of a more Uncertain activity than the way scientists go about setting up their models of empirical enquiry in order to prove a point. Some very wild suppositions have eventually ended up as acceptable theoretical positions upon which to base quite a large experimental effort. These amazingly then go on to demonstrate a definite reality behind the fantastical imaginings. Knowing their deep scepticism, the work of scientists would seem to point to Uncertainty as the more natural human state.
– Hopefully the exhortations to Uncertainty in this volume will help you to a more spontaneous connection with this mental and social capacity. A paradoxical by-product of endlessly confirming discoveries in this fashion may have reduced Uncertainty to a mental state now only available to us if deliberately induced. Perhaps four thousand years of recorded intellectual enquiry has actually reduced our exposure to its headiness, the role of such enquiry after all having been to guarantee us access to a more Comfortable zone where Certainty appears to provide us with a less agitated environment. Which, at the outset, was itself a laudable objective as we attempted to protect ourselves from the daily social and natural disturbances of living.
– By these observations I do not wish to come over as a Luddite.18 Uncertainty crucially does not mean indecision, and you will come to know that my thesis is not devoid of rigour, intellectual curiosity nor intelligence.
– Being Uncertain is first to accept that the environment in which you evolve is all risk and chaos. The apprenticeship of Uncertainty begins by facing the initial challenge to flee the Comforts of Certainty. For this, all must find a way to inject a healthy dose of controlled instability into their lives. For example, interventions in your life by Another destabilize your Comfortable image of the world, which it protects without knowing. This destabilization requires an explanation and that is the pedagogy of the moment.
– Thus will you discover how you learn new things and how a good dose of contradiction can awaken your Uncertainty. Armed with this learning, you can start improving the quality of your thoughts and develop a more critical mind. You will come to appreciate the importance of human relationships in the discovery of the beneficial effects of Uncertainty.
– A few latter challenges will remain to be fleshed out. How to really live your personal landscape, to transcend current trends in your social interaction and how living Uncertainly may finally open up your creativity. Be like Aristotle, for whom the ultimate goal of theoria was the Truth, and of poiesis Production, but whose final objective in praxis was Action.
– Readers will need to make an effort to ensure that they distinguish the tendency to Certainty from that other in the self-same sector, Empiricism, i.e. the one that has motivated human effort over the same period to unpick an increasing variety of the locks in our understanding of the inherent structures of the natural world.
– Indeed I take succour from the current vogue for Popular Science and would see this volume as issuing from the populist part of that tradition if not the scientific. Such interest may be interpreted as evidence that the ordinary person like myself is currently seeking to make sense of the material world and how we might all maintain successful progress within it. I would go further and say that Empirical Science has made great advances in my thesis by de facto maintaining the central position of the Uncertain in our understanding of the world.
– Observe and regard: each time science has improved our ability to unify our natural and spiritual understandings, we may observe the emergence of a rash of scientific hypotheses attached to some very Uncertain notions, as deemed by those inhabiting the culture at the time. Currently, such items might be known to us as the frankly destabilising theoretical realities of the boson, the quasar or the string. In previous eras we might have found ourselves dealing with equally unstable notions for the time such as the atom, the humour, zero, oxygen and the germ.
– Yet I must assert that these Uncertainties usefully destabilise our picture of the world. I say usefully because, although sometimes more painfully, having to make sense of this newer picture provokes learning in us as we seek to integrate this new element into our view of the world, in a process essential to our continuing survival.
A silence ensued which began to settle. The movement under his feet remained though his eye told him they were standing on the river bank. Solid ground in the grip of a rippling minor earthquake. Was it over?
– The pull of the weir is strong here. Those are the Rollers and our punt is not authorised to proceed. We had to disembark.
Unapologetic as ever, yet why so rule-bound?
– Of course, had we had access to a College punt the story might have been different.
Oldman was not initiated into the arcane practices of the University of Cambridge and missed the significance of this comment.
They pushed open the door of The Pike and Eel, which today seemed to have been decked out as a Victorian brothel. For he had in fact entered the rich velvet world of The Cricketers in Brighton.
1 Lucius Annaes Seneca the Younger (CE 5-65) from Epistulae ad Lucilium, epistle 16, sct. 7
2 Term already in use in the New York Times of 4 June 1871, in an article supportive of the activity, yet warning of “the folly of premature wisdom”.
3 “Coleridge speculated early in the nineteenth century on the concept of the clerisy, a class rather than a type of individual, and a secular equivalent of the (Anglican) clergy, with a duty of upholding the national (heritage) culture. The idea of the intelligentsia, in comparison, dates from roughly the same time, and is based more concretely on the status class of ‘mental’ or white-collar workers.” http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Clerisy
4 According to http://www.thefreedictionary.com/monger
7 The major contributor to the psychological argument around these two fundamental influences on our growth was Francis Galton, in his book Hereditary Genius: Its Laws and Consequences (1869) but the modern debate was reignited by The Bell Curve, Herrnstein and Murray (1994) during the heyday of measurable intelligence (the IQ Test).
8 See Old dinosaur-bird theory won’t fly by David Stauth at http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ncs/newsarch/1997/November97/nodinobird.htm
9 Statistics noted on an exhibition panel at The Baltic Mills, Gateshead, in 2009
10 Cross-refer epigraph at head of Chapter Two
11 Ref is the Chelsea Physick Garden (links Kew and the Herbarium idea)
13 See http://bestiary.ca/intro.htm
14 The 1989 edition according to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensorium
15 Most notably in The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects by Marshall MacLuhan (1967)
16 See the first FAQ on http://www.marshallmcluhan.com/faqs.html
17 Concept borrowed in its non-scientific application (along with Brownian motion and the stochastic process as discussed later) from a speech by Dr. Martin Rose, then Director of Counterpoint, British Council – The Great Civility: Cultural Relations and the Future Kajaani, Finland, 2 September 2004.
18 Named after a social movement of British textile artisans in the early nineteenth century who protested – often by destroying mechanised looms – against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, which they felt (quite rightly) threatened their livelihood. The negative connotations for capitalists contained in these actions have been transferred to people in the current culture who resist the advance of technology.