Pure and Impure

It is easy to divide a human being into mind and body and (if you are an intellectual) to attach far greater importance and reverence to the mind. To be sure, philosophers must eat, but that might be viewed as a regrettable necessity to be neutralized by edifying conversations conducted across the dinner table.

Similarly, the products of the human mind can be divided into two classes; those that serve to elevate the mind and those that serve to comfort the body. The former are the "liberal arts"; the latter, the "mechanical arts."

The liberal arts are those suitable for free men (from the Latin liber meaning "free") who are in a position to profit from the labors of others in such a way that they are not compelled to work themselves.The liberal arts deal with "pure knowledge" and are highly thought of, as all things pure must be.

The mechanical arts, which serve agriculture, commerce, and industry, are necessary, too; but, as long as slaves, serfs, peasants, and others of low degree know such things, educated gentlemen of leisure can do without it.

Among the liberal arts are some aspects of science. Surely a study of the complex influences that govern the motions of the heavenly bodies and control the properties of mathematical figures and of the universe are pure enough.

As time went on, though, science developed a low habit of becoming applicable to the work of the world and, as a result, those whose field of mental endeavor lies in the liberal arts (minus science) tend to look down upon scientists as being in altogether too great a danger of dirtying their hands.

Scientists, in response, tend to ape this Greek-inherited snobbishness. They divide science into two sorts. One deals only with the difficult, the


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The Roving Mind
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