The university’s business is the conservation of useless knowledge; and what the university itself apparently fails to see is that this enterprise is not only noble but indispensable as well, that society can not exist unless it goes on.
Perhaps the prevalence of pedantry may be largely accounted for by the common error of thinking that, because useful knowledge should be remembered, any kind of knowledge that is at all worth learning should be remembered too.
Perhaps one reason for the falling-off of belief in a continuance of conscious existence is to be found in the quality of life that most of us lead. There is not much in it with which, in any kind of reason, one can associate the idea of immortality.
Organized Christianity has always represented immortality as a sort of common heritage; but I never could see why spiritual life should not be conditioned on the same terms as all life, i. e., correspondence with environment.
Life has obliged him to remember so much useful knowledge that he has lost not only his history, but his whole original cargo of useless knowledge; history, languages, literatures, the higher mathematics, or what you will – are all gone.