12 April 2015

So delicately traced

Nature gave us an innate curiosity and, aware of its own art and beauty, created us in order to be the audience of the wonderful spectacle of the world; because it would have toiled in vain if things so great, so brilliant, so delicately traced, so splendid and variously beautiful, were displayed to an empty house.
— from On Leisure by Seneca (circa 62 AD), quoted by Alberto Manguel in Curiosity (2015)
The universe to the eye of the human understanding is framed like a labyrinth, presenting as it does on every side so many ambiguities of way, deceitful resemblances of objects and signs, natures too irregular in their lines and so knotted and entangled. And then the way is still said to be made by the uncertain light of sense, sometimes shining out, sometimes clouded over, through the woods of experience and particulars...
— from The Great Instauration by Francis Bacon (1620), quoted by Philip Ball in Curiosity (2012)

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