The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table



Un relator desconocido habla, alrededor de una mesa, sobre diversos temas: un club de admiradores de talentosos, las opiniones de las personas, proposiciones filosóficas. The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table es una serie de ensayos de Oliver Wendell Holmes. En el vocabulario: autocrat, y egotist

I was just going to say, when I was interrupted, that one of the many ways of classifying minds is under the heads of arithmetical and algebraical intellects.  All economical and practical wisdom is an extension or variation of the following arithmetical formula: 2+2=4.  Every philosophical proposition has the more general character of the expression a+b=c.  We are mere operatives, empirics, and egotists, until we learn to think in letters instead of figures.
They all stared.  There is a divinity student lately come among us to whom I commonly address remarks like the above, allowing him to take a certain share in the conversation, so far as assent or pertinent questions are involved.  He abused his liberty on this occasion by presuming to say that Leibnitz had the same observation.—No, sir, I replied, he has not.  But he said a mighty good thing about mathematics, that sounds something like it, and you found it, not in the original, but quoted by Dr. Thomas Reid.  I will tell the company what he did say, one of these days.

—If I belong to a Society of Mutual Admiration?—I blush to say that I do not at this present moment.  I once did, however.  It was the first association to which I ever heard the term applied; a body of scientific young men in a great foreign city who admired their teacher, and to some extent each other.  Many of them deserved it; they have become famous since.  It amuses me to hear the talk of one of those beings described by Thackeray—
Deacon, 1858
Deacon, 1858
    “Letters four do form his name”—
about a social development which belongs to the very noblest stage of civilization.  All generous companies of artists, authors, philanthropists, men of science, are, or ought to be, Societies of Mutual Admiration.  A man of genius, or any kind of superiority, is not debarred from admiring the same quality in another, nor the other from returning his admiration.  They may even associate together and continue to think highly of each other.  And so of a dozen such men, if any one place is fortunate enough to hold so many.  The being referred to above assumes several false premises.  First, that men of talent necessarily hate each other.  Secondly, that intimate knowledge or habitual association destroys our admiration of persons whom we esteemed highly at a distance.  Thirdly, that a circle of clever fellows, who meet together to dine and have a good time, have signed a constitutional compact to glorify themselves and to put down him and the fraction of the human race not belonging to their number.  Fourthly, that it is an outrage that he is not asked to join them… (The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, chapter 1, Oliver Wendell Holmes)

Para saber
Autocrat: autocracy (autocracia): una autocracia es un sistema de gobierno en el cual el poder supremo está concentrado en las manos de una persona.
 La Alemania Nazi: después del fracaso Beer Hall Putsch, el partido Nacional Socialista Alemán Worker's Party comenzó una delicada estrategia política para tomar el poder. Aprovechando un ambiente social y político tenso en la década de 1930, los nazis bajo Adolfo Hitler se aprovecharon de la incertidumbre para hacer del poder a través de astutas propagandas y carismáticos discursos del líder. Cuando Hitler fue nombrado canciller el partido nazi empezó a restringir las libertades civiles. Combinando cooperación con intimidación los nazis sistemáticamente debilitaron toda oposición al partido transformando la república de Weimar en una dictadura fascista donde Hitler hablaba solo y actuaba en favor de Alemania.
Egotist: egotism (ególatra): el ególatra desea mantener y ampliar las opiniones favorables de él mismo.


Un gran ensayista y escritor que vimos en el blog, Bertrand Russell: Free Thought and Official Propaganda