Friday, February 20, 2009

Nothing is possible ...

“Such is the scale of the problems, so narrow and so precarious are the paths hitherto trodden, so final the annihilation of tract after immense tract of the past, and so uncertain the bases of our speculations, that even the briefest reconnaissance on the terrain plunges the enquirer into a state of indecision, in which feelings of humble resignation fight for supremacy with moments of the insanest ambition. He knows that the essentials have gone for ever and that all he can do is to scratch the surface. Yet may he not stumble upon some indication, preserved as if by a miracle, which will shed new light upon the whole problem? Nothing is possible: everything, therefore, is possible. The darkness in which we grope our way is too intense for us to hazard any comment on it: we cannot even say that it will last for ever.”

(Claude Lévi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques. Trans. John Russel. p. 247-248)

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