eading Tolstoy's War and Peace (as one does) I was amused the other evening to come across this passage:
...only Germans are self-confident on the basis of an abstract notion--science, that is, the supposed knowledge of absolute truth. A Frenchman is self-assured because he regards himself personally, both in mind and body, as irresistibly attractive to men and women. An Englishman is self-assured, as being a citizen of the best-organized state in the world, and therefore as an Englishman always knows what he should do and knows that all he does as an Englishman is undoubtedly correct. An Italian is self-assured because he is excitable and easily forgets himself and other people. A Russian is self-assured just because he knows nothing and does not want to know anything, since he does not believe that anything can be known. The German's self-assurance is worst of all, stronger and more repulsive than any other, because he imagines that he knows the truth--science--which he himself has invented but which is for him the absolute truth.
Of course this was written 140 years ago, and in this modern age of European co-operation and the Global Economy I am sure that none of it would apply today.
However, I wonder whether I should invest in some non-gas heaters...
Posted: Wed - January 21, 2009 at 08:59 AM by Roger Wilmut
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Published On: Mar 11, 2016 05:00 PM