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Perhaps a little off point (or perhaps not?) these quotations asserting the value of knowledge for it's own sake came to mind.

"Some one who had begun to read geometry with Euclid, when he had learnt the first theorem, asked Euclid, 'What shall I get by learning these things?" Euclid called his slave and said, 'Give him threepence, since he must make gain out of what he learns.'"


"The day before his death Socrates in his prison asked a musician to teach him an air on the lyre. 'What's the use,' said the man, 'since you're about to die?' 'To know it before I die,' answered Socrates. That is one of the loftiest things that I know of, and I would rather have said it than taken Sebastopol."

(Flaubert's letters 1861.
Trans. Steegmuller.)

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  • Daniel Green is a literary critic and sometime fiction writer. His reviews, critical essays, and fiction have appeared in a variety of publications, both online and in print. He has a Ph.D focusing on postwar American fiction and an M.A. in creative writing.

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