The Natural History of Nonsense

Until about a hundred years ago rational men lived like spies in an enemy country They never walked abroad unless disguised in irony or allegory To have revealed their true selves would have been fatal.Today their status is that of guerrillas They snipe from cover, ambush stragglers, harass retreating rear guards, cut communications, and now and then execute swiftUntil about a hundred years ago rational men lived like spies in an enemy country They never walked abroad unless disguised in irony or allegory To have revealed their true selves would have been fatal.Today their status is that of guerrillas They snipe from cover, ambush stragglers, harass retreating rear guards, cut communications, and now and then execute swift forays against detached units of the enemy But they dare not yet risk an open engagement with the main force they would be massacred Their life is dangerous but exciting and is warmed by a sense of camaraderie not often known among the dull conscripts of orthodoxy.This book is intended as a sort of handbook for young recruits in the gay cause of common sense It indicates where the main armies of ignorance are now encamped and tells in a secret code what garrisons are undermanned or mutinous It tries to show the use of cover and camouflage and the techniques of infiltration and retreat It maps road blocks and mine fields and shows how to rig a booby trap It warns of counterespionage and gives again in code the five infallible signs to know a fool.When the recruit has finished with it he can toss it over the wall into the enemy s barracks It may encourage desertion.
The Natural History of Nonsense Until about a hundred years ago rational men lived like spies in an enemy country They never walked abroad unless disguised in irony or allegory To have revealed their true selves would have been fata

  • Title: The Natural History of Nonsense
  • Author: Bergen Evans
  • ISBN: 9780394437774
  • Page: 289
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “The Natural History of Nonsense”

    1. "Irrationality must come close to being the largest single vested interest in the world. [] In fact, everyone in our society not directly engaged in the production and distribution of necessities, transportation, artistic creation, elementary teaching or the maintenance of public order, to some extent, and more or less consciously, preys upon ignorance and delusion."Finally I have had the opportunity to re-read the book that like no other - with the possible exception of some works by Stanislaw [...]

    2. Evans was a public skeptic of the forties and fifties and he wrote this book to prove that an awful lot of people are stupid and gullible and superstitious and not likely to take the scientifically enlightened opinions of their more educated betters for gospel truth. He retails some great anecdotes in several chapters, though certain others (on race relations and differences, for example) have aged poorly. His writing is generally acceptable and sometimes, in fact, he’s quite funny. But more o [...]

    3. This should be required reading for any critical thinking course. It is a handbook against irrational thought, so-called "common sense", and a host of other misconceptions of humankind. Though written in 1946, it is still relevant today, if not more so, since so many of us seem to have lost our collective mind.Fun reading, witty, and smooth, it is a great book to revisit from time to time. Although the material is presented in a humorous matter, many of these subjects are not so funny, consideri [...]

    4. A handbook for any up and coming pimp of critical thinking.There are these things that are propagated from time to time, on the news for example, they are maybe a little slanted and maybe a little false at the ending tip but most people don't really bother questioning them. Sometimes an artist takes a stab at them, in this case it's in book form and a great read. It's also well and thoroughly sourced, which is always a good find in a book that also has the value of humor.It's very deconstruction [...]

    5. Bergen Evans was an American literary figure of the 40s and 50s, dictionary compiler, usage maven and a professor at Northwestern University. An early sceptic, he published The Natural History of Nonsense in 1946. The book is a sardonic exploration of popular myths and religious controversies, eg. Adam's navel, children raised by wolves, the moral qualities of wild animals and much more. A very amusing, off-beat read.

    6. A copy of this book should be given to every American citizen on their 18th birthday, and again to every elected public official immediately after their swearing in.

    7. A must-read in my opinion. The pacing of the book is great and not one moment did I get bored with it.

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