02 September 2012

Men & Women of Science

Joseph Glanvill (1636–1680) was an English writer, philosopher, and clergyman. He was not a scientist, nevertheless he was very interested, and even excited, about scientific undertakings in the last half of the 17th century when for all practical purposes modern science was born. The following excerpt is from a book that he wrote in 1661 which he revised and expanded several times in the years following. Today I was thinking of something profound to say about the passing of Neil Armstrong and the other brave NASA astronauts (including Christa McAuliffe) who preceeded him in his next wonderful adventure to the great beyond.
For me, I think the words of Joseph Granvill say it all:


"Methinks this age seems resolved to bequeath posterity somewhat to remember it: the glorious undertakers, wherewith heaven hath blest our days, will leave the world better provided than they found it. And whereas in former times such generous free-spirited worthies were as the rare newly observed stars, a single one the wonder of an age: in ours they are like the lights of the greater size that twinkle in the starry firmament: and this last century can glory in numerous constellations. Should those heroes go on, as they have happily begun, they'll fill the world with wonders. And I doubt not but posterity will find many things, that are now but rumors, verified into practical realities. It may he some ages hence, a voyage to the southern unknown tracts, yea possibly the moon, will not be more strange than one to America. To them, that come after us, it may be as ordinary to buy a pair of wings to fly into remotest regions; as now a pair of boots to ride a journey. And to confer at the distance of the Indies by sympathetic conveyances, may be as usual to future times, as to us in a literary correspondence. The restoration of gray hairs to juvenility, and renewing the exhausted marrow, may at length be effected without a miracle: and the turning of the now comparative desert world into a paradise, may not improbably be expected from late agriculture."


Barb said...

Wonderful words. Wouldn't Mr. Glanvil be amazed if he could see the world today.

Shannon said...

Thank you Bob, for sharing the thoughts of someone who lived so long ago, yet clearly had an amazing imagination for future possibiliy. Mister Glanvill was certainly a man of insight, or perhaps foresight. I doubt that many people of his time could have imagined the scientific advances that would come with time so accurately.

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.