For what matter is it for us to know how high the Pleiades are, how far distant Perseus and Cassiopea from us, how deep the sea, etc.? We are neither wiser, nor modester, nor better, nor richer, nor stronger for the knowledge of it. What is astrology but vain elections, predictions? all magic, but a troublesome error, a pernicious foppery? physic, but intricate rules and prescriptions? philology, but vain criticisms? logic, needless sophisms? metaphysics themselves, but intricate subtleties and fruitless abstractions? alchemy, but a bundle of errors? To what end are such great tomes? why do we spend so many years in their studies? Much better to know nothing at all, as those barbarous Indians are wholly ignorant, than, as some of us, to be so sore vexed about unprofitable toys: stultus labor est ineptiatrum [it is foolish to labor at trifles], to build a house without pins, make a rope of sand, to what end? cui bono?

Anatomy of Melancholy ยป