Saturday, May 11, 2013

Samuel Johnson: "to find was not always to be informed" -- the result of searching on the Internet?

Samuel Johnson, in the preface of his Dictionary of 1775, "in which he confesses that he set out to codify the language only to realize before he was halfway through that no such thing is possible" (1):
one enquiry only gave occasion to another, that book referred to book, that to search was not always to find, and to find was not always to be informed; and that thus to pursue perfection, was, like the first inhabitants of Arcadia, to chase the sun, which, when they had reached the hill where he seemed to rest, was still beheld at the same distance from them.

"To find was not always to be informed" -- is that not, so often, the result of researching on the Internet?

(1) Kate Chisholm, "Pathways to sanity," The Times Literary Supplement (May 3, 2013), p. 23; Johnson image from

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