Three books

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philofra
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Three books

Post by philofra » Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:29 pm

I am reading three books simultaneously. One about Galileo, one about Samuel Johnson, the author of the first comprehensive English dictionary, and the third is called "The Post-American World" by Fareed Zakaria.

I first started reading the book about Johnson called 'Defining The World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr. Johnson's Dictionary" by Henry Hitchings. The chapters in this book were headed with English words, followed by the definition Johnson gave them. The one revelation in the book that most struck me was in the chapter headed "English". The chapter starts off, " The eighteenth century was seized by a rage for order, manifest in a range of of new phenomenon: price tags, standardized weights and measures, the proliferation of signposts on public highways, the increased use of account books and calendars. The vogue was for organizing, structuring and methodizing" It was in this environment that Johnson compiled his dictionary. He obviously was also consumed by the need to organize and structure things, like his fellow Englishmen.

Galileo was another person who helped organize and structure the world. He straddled the 16th and 17th centuries. Originally he was going to be a doctor but instead he got interest in mathematics, to the chagrin of his father. He is known as the originator of modern science. Up until he came along science was a part of philosophy , its part known as 'natural philosophy'. Most of what was understood as science up to that point was based on what Aristotle had determined about the world, things that few questioned until Galileo came along. Galileo sensed there were things wrong about Aristotelian teaching, like the idea that the earth was the center of the universe and that the sun and the planets revolved around it. Another Aristotelian notion he questioned was that a heavier object would hit the ground before a lighter one when dropped from the same height. He discovered this was false. I tried it with the heaviest and lightest books to prove it and both books hit the ground at the same time.

Zakaria book is the heaviest of the three, both in weight and in subject matter. It discusses globalization and the nature of the geopolitical world. But it is also about a world that would not have existed if it wasn't first for organizers like Galileo and Johnson. Galileo got modern science started, the discipline that innovates and launches the technology that sustains us, a disciple that would be impossible for us to live without. Johnson organized the English language, the language that would become the main communications tool of the world.

As Johnson described in his dictionary, English is the language of England. It is interesting to note that with the expansion of the English language around the world followed the expansion of democracy. After all, England was the cradle of modern democracy, which was the home of the Magna Carta, which Zakaria points out, was the first "bill of rights" of the Western World. As a colonial power England spread English around the world and with it followed the seeds of democracy. India, the largest democracy in the world, was colonized by England. And England gave birth to the most powerful democracy, the United States.

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Arising_uk
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Re: Three books

Post by Arising_uk » Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:31 pm

philofra wrote:...And England gave birth to the most powerful democracy, the United States.
England and France I think.

philofra
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Post by philofra » Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:41 pm

I guess it depends how you describe 'power'.


a_uk, give us you definition of power as democracy.

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Psychonaut
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Post by Psychonaut » Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:18 pm

And Spain.

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Arising_uk
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Post by Arising_uk » Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:36 pm

Psychonaut wrote:And Spain.
I suppose Mexico and Texas. How far North did they get? As most of the Yanks current culture is French and English? Plus all the late bloody immigrants.
a_uk

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Psychonaut
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Post by Psychonaut » Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:39 pm

Image

Sorry, I don't know how to make it smaller.

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Arising_uk
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Post by Arising_uk » Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:42 pm

Psychonaut wrote:[img]Sorry, I don't know how to make it smaller.
Wow! I never realised how far North they made it.

philofra
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Post by philofra » Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:14 pm

I would say you guys have gone off topic, sort of kibitzing around.

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Arising_uk
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Post by Arising_uk » Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:19 pm

The topic being what? I thought you was just describing what you was reading? We was just questioning a fact you described.
a_uk

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Arising_uk
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Post by Arising_uk » Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:21 pm

philofra wrote:I guess it depends how you describe 'power'.


a_uk, give us you definition of power as democracy.
The British Empire?

philofra
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Post by philofra » Mon Jul 28, 2008 9:54 pm

"The British Empire?"

Can you be more specific.

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Arising_uk
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Post by Arising_uk » Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:03 pm

Well it was a Democracy that held power over three-quarters of the World.

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bullwinkle
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Post by bullwinkle » Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:19 pm

Psychonaut wrote:Sorry, I don't know how to make it smaller.
Do you use this line often :?: :lol:

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Psychonaut
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Post by Psychonaut » Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:24 pm

:lol:

philofra
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Post by philofra » Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:45 am

"Well it was a Democracy that held power over three-quarters of the World."

In those days the empire wasn't very democratic, especially in the colonies. If democracy emerged, it emerged later, like it did in America and India.

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