Knowledge is its own reward

In Consultation, by Joseph Schippers

In Consultation, by Joseph Schippers

Dostoevsky sometimes had his intellectual characters ask each other if they would rather be clever and miserable or stupid and happy.  If they claimed they would rather be stupid and happy, he had them jeer at each other.  “You’d have me believe that you could be like the simplest peasant woman, believe everything she believes, if it meant happiness?”  Evidently he thought that clever people needed cleverness more than they needed happiness.

It seems that Dostoevsky would have been at home among rhesus monkeys.  Ed Yong reports on an experiment in which rhesus monkeys were offered varying amounts of water and the opportunity to know how much water they were about to be offered.   The monkeys showed an interest in knowing how much water they were about to be offered that had no connection with the water itself.

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1 Comment

  1. cymast

     /  October 15, 2009

    “You’d have me believe that you could be like the simplest peasant woman, believe everything she believes, if it meant happiness?” Dostoevsky gives himself away, as so many other female-worshipping misogynists excused by their environments.

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