On Relevance of Information …

June 5, 2011

“I don’t deny it,”, answered Swann in some bewilderment. “The fault I find with our journalism is that it forces us to take an interest in some fresh triviality or other every day, whereas only three or four books in a lifetime give us anything that is of real importance. Suppose that, every morning, when we tore the wrapper off our paper with fevered hands, a transmutation were to take place, and we were to find inside it-oh! I don’t know; shall we say Pascal’s Pensees?”. He articulated the title with an ironic emphasis so as not to appear pedantic. “And then, in the gilt and tooled volumes which we open once in ten years,” he went on, shewing that contempt for the things of this world which some men of the world like to affect, “we should read that the Queen of the Hellens had arrived at Cannes, or that the Princesse de Leon had given a fancy dress ball. In that way we should arrive at the right proportion between ‘information’ and ‘publicity.'”

(À la recherche du temps perdu, Marcel Proust, 1913)

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