Sunday, July 23

why should anybody learn latin ?

In my last post, I wrote about Sudbury Valley School. I read some essays by Daniel Greenberg about the Sudbury Valley School experience. To illustrate a point, he tells a story about Issac Newton. Here goes the story.

Isaac Newton wrote a book when he was twenty-one, his first real production. It was a new theory of optics. It was a fabulous book. Physicists still read it with joy, and a lot of the ideas that he put into the book are still talked about. But they ran contrary to the accepted theories of optics in his day and, in particular, they ran contrary to the theories that the elders in the English physics establishment held to be sacrosanct. So he was lambasted for being an upstart, for not toeing the line, and he decided to never write another book. "I'm happy. I'm doing my thing. I know what I like." He had a professorship, so he didn't have to worry about his income, and he just sat in his place in Cambridge and did his stuff.

Twenty years later the rumor got out that he had solved the problem of gravitation. So a couple physicists who heard about this in London came up and said, "We heard that you solved the problem of gravitation. Is it true?" He said, "Yes, that's true." They said, "What is it?" He showed them. He wrote it out, and they were flabbergasted, because they immediately saw that he was right. They said, "Write it." He said, "I've done my writing for my lifetime." They begged him and begged him to write it, and he finally wrote it in a book called Principia Mathematica, which was written in Latin. The optics book had been written in English. His new book was written in Latin that almost nobody could understand, and all the simple proofs that were easy to read he replaced with obscure proofs that were very difficult to follow.

Hmmm.. So, latin has it uses. That and another use I know is - You can skip almost 75% of the book "Word power Made Easy" by Norman Lewis. That's the book I was asked to read in my childhood to expand my vocabulary.(I completed almost 60% of the book) Studio Latin, Amigos !

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