FUNCTIONS OF THEMATIC MATERIAL
PEOPLE who are interested in many things are painfully liable to the humiliating imputation of being mere smatterers. The speed with which facts and theories based on facts accumulate is paralysing. We can none of us know the best ten thousand books; and what are ten thousand among the hundreds of thousands in dozens of languages which could easily appear to a conscientious man to be indispensable to his venturing to have a decisive personal opinion even about simple subjects which touch his life daily?
It is best to face the inevitable fact that there must be different kinds of knowledge for different kinds of people; and those who enjoy the honourable distinction of suffering from over susceptible consciences may take comfort in reflecting that facts in themselves are not knowledge, and that the indiscriminate accumulation of them is almost as bad as indiscriminate charity; for the more a man has of them, if he cannot sort them, the worse he is off. To the specialist it is indispensable to have intimate familiarity with endless facts and details of his own subject. But the people to whom it is important to