By W. H. Newton-Smith
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Additional resources for A Companion to the Philosophy of Science
How was it thus preserved? The answer was that he had dwelt long years in Egypt. There, in Egypt, you may learn the secret of those magic potions which prolong a man’s life far beyond the ordinary span. And there, above all, you may acquire the true philosophy, which philosophy, be it noted, has nothing to do with Christianity. In this same romance, moreover, there figures a youthful Egyptian who is the very embodiment of virtue and of knowledge and is able to improvise on the spur of the moment the most marvellous dissertations on themes the most recondite and profound.
The savage obeys the will of Nature, his kindly mother, therefore he is happy. It is the civilized folk who are the real barbarians. Let them profit by the example of the savage and so regain man’s birthright of dignity and freedom. But now, alongside the Good Savage, the Wise Egyptian claims his place. But he is not yet quite ready to come on; he is still putting a few finishing touches to his make-up. One might imagine oneself looking on at the piecing-together of a mosaic: a few bits from Herodotus, a few more from Strabo; bits well-worn, but not worn-out; flattering testimony offered by the chronologists, which tends to deprive the Hebrew of his halo and confer it on the Egyptian; narratives brought home by travellers.
His interests were paramount. Long, too long, had power been wielded by the pastors of the peoples. They had promised that goodwill, justice and brotherly love should reign on earth. They had not kept their promise. In the great contest where Truth and Happiness were the prizes to be won, they had been the losers. There was nothing for them now but to quit the field. If they went with a good grace, so much the better. If not, well, they would go perforce. The ancient fabric which had provided such indifferent shelter for the great human family, would have to come down.
A Companion to the Philosophy of Science by W. H. Newton-Smith