The Higher Naivete

Yale University’s Prof. Donald Kagan, in his Introduction to Ancient Greek History (available here   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FrHGAd_yto ), also introduced me to the concept of the Higher Naivete.

In brief Prof. Kagan explains that a scholar, when beginning a discipline and knowing little, naively accepts whatever his sources say. Later, when the scholar has learned a bit, he becomes more cynical and believes little or nothing of what the sources say.

But then, after accumulating knowledge, the scholar attains the Higher Naivete in which state he again accepts as true what the sources say (excepting cases of physical impossibility i.e. Jupiter hurling thunderbolts).

A good example of the Higher Naivete is Heinrich Schliemann’s discovery of Troy through his reliance on the writings of Homer at a time when most of the scholarly world considered the Iliad and Odyssey as nothing more than fairytales.

It is in the spirit of the Higher Naivete that I approach Louis Kinder’s THE WHISPER and FORMULAS FOR BOOKBINDERS.

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