Sunday, September 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sam

Born this day in 1709 in Lichfield, England, that great lexicographer and writer, Dr Samuel Johnson, who was also the subject of the first great biography in English.

During a conversation with his biographer, Johnson became infuriated at the suggestion that Berkeley's idealism, the theory that individuals can only directly know sensations and ideas of objects, not abstractions such as "matter", could not be refuted. In his anger, Johnson powerfully kicked a nearby stone and proclaimed "I refute it thus!"

A much quoted man, he also said:
It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information on it.
And his Boswell (Boswell) reported this:
Patriotism having become one of our topicks, Johnson suddenly uttered, in a strong determined tone, an apophthegm, at which many will start: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." But let it be considered that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak of self- interest.
And I can't resist... lolxicographer Johnson (from Jeff Prucher):

in ur libraries

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