Mar

28

 "Editorial wiseacres," says Mr. LeRoy, "may preach that such efforts as Hubbard made are of no great immediate value to the world, even if successful. But the man who is born with the insatiable desire to do something, to see what other men have not seen, to push into the waste places of the world, to make a new discovery, to develop a new theme or enrich an old, to contribute, in other words, to the fund of human knowledge, is always something more than a mere seeker for notoriety; he belongs, however slight may be his actual contribution to knowledge, however great his success or complete his failure, to that minority which has from the first kept the world moving on, while the vast majority have peacefully travelled on with it in its course. The unpoetical critic will not understand him, will find it easy to call him a dreamer; yet it is from dreams like these that have come the world's inspirations and its great achievements."

from The Lure of the Labrador Wild, by Dillon Wallace

I just finished the book regarding the above event which ended with this quote. Though not on as grand a scale as the Shackleton story which we got into in a big way a number of years back (I still possess about a dozen copies of the special edition Vic had printed up), it still made a good read. I'm mentioning it not as a recommendation but as one of the benefits I've accumulated while lurking on this site.

An overwhelming majority of our commentary (understandably) regards the probability, markets, economics, politics, foreign affairs, etc. I've read much of it, understood a little, learned a little, misunderstood a lot, and, if anything, have become not a better investor but a more cautious one.

The real benefit has come from the many posts that touch on unrelated or distantly related topics. I can't tell you of the several times Stefan has driven me crazy by rebutting an argument by beginning with "You must understand that (fill in the blank) was a constitutional scholar…" His rebuttal, (and to be fair, those of others) were steeped in legalisms that seemed contrary to apparent "original intent."

Subsequently, I purchased a copy of the Anti-Federalist Papers as well as the Federalist Papers, "The Skeptics Guide to American History," and "Great Debate: The American Constitution" (both from TLC). Still other site topics resulted in buying "Understanding Complexity," "Power of People: Classical and Modern Political Theory," "Questions of Value," and others. In turn, these led to interests (some permanent, others passing) in Voltaire, C.S. Lewis, Homer. and other names I had constantly seen referenced but which I had never made the time to read.

I'm not attempting to list achievements but to lament the many years I wasted not inquiring into these and other topics. And it's not that I was unaware of this. Years ago, in the Chicago Daily News, Sydney Harris wrote five columns a week — usually about 500 words each. I really had little in common with Harris' view of the world, the theater (his always caustic reviews were credited with killing big stage productions in Chicago for years), or his politics. But, brother, could he write a great essay.

My favorites were headlined with "Things I Learned on the Way to Looking Up Other Things." And that's the point I want to make here: this List had led me down paths, which have branched into other paths, that I never would have been aware of. One of those "paths" led me, most recently, to Project Gutenberg which most everyone is familiar with. However, I discovered they offer a daily RSS feed…and on any given day (save Sunday) they add anywhere from 35 to 70 new titles.

I've discovered there are many very good books out there which are largely unknown and out-of-print; many deservedly so, but some which really deserve to be read. I'm passing this on only as a point of information The List has opened many new non-financial vistas which I greatly appreciate. My only regret is starting so late.


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