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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

2038: In A Galaxy Nearby

"The reiteration of slogans, the distortion of the news, the great storm of propaganda that beats upon the citizen 24 hours a day all his life means either that democracy must fall prey to the loudest and most persistent propagandists or that the people must save themselves by strengthening their minds so that they can appraise the issues for themselves."

From a recent news story? A sharp blogger? A TV or Internet pundit? Nope - That prescient statement is from a 1951 series published by Encyclopedia Brittanica called "Great Books of the Western World".

A friend recently suggested we read that series and get together each time we both finish one of the 54 volumes to discuss what we've learned. And though immediately intrigued by his idea, I was also intimidated looking at the authors featured. After uncovering that sentence above in the preface of Volume I, for now, my excitement has overcome my doubt. I'm on board - thinking about a schedule and an approach for tackling such a massive project. Volume I has a suggested ten year syllabus; twenty five years looks more realistic, unless I give up extravagances like sleeping.

If I'm right, we'll both be in our late-80's as we approach the finish. Hope his children or grandchildren remind him. To my nieces & nephews, daughter, future grandchildren: Make a hard copy of this post and put it somewhere where you'll see it in 2038 to remind Uncle Pat, Dad, or Pop-Pop (?). Here's hoping the series doesn't get updated before then to include great thinkers from the 20th century; the last volume ends with the early work of Freud. 

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