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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Society for the Diffusion of Beautiful Knowledge

"We have heard of a Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. It is said that knowledge is power; and the like. Methinks there is equal need of a Society for the Diffusion of Useful Ignorance, what we will call Beautiful Knowledge, a knowledge useful in a higher sense: for what is most of our boasted so-called knowledge but a conceit that we know something, which robs us of the advantage of our actual ignorance? ... I would say to the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, sometimes, – Go to grass ["like a horse" that "leaves all his harness behind in the stable"]. You have eaten hay [knowledge, facts, etc] long enough. The spring has come with its green crop [of Useful Ignorance]." 
 
Henry Thoreau, from near the end of an essay called "Walking" 1862. 
[bracketed content is given to help the reader step over gaps in thought due to excision]