bad guides

I was reading a big serious book tonight and I found a great little quote. It is from Ludwig Wittgenstein – who has a lot of interesting things to say (but that is for another day)

In teaching you philosophy I’m like a guide showing you how to find your way round London. I have to take you through the city from north to south from East to West,
from Euston to the Enbankment  and from Piccadilly to the Marble Arch.  After I have taken you many journeys through the city, and all sorts of directions, we shall have passed through any given street a number of times–each time traversing the street as part of the different journey.

At the end of this you will know London; you’ll be able to find your way about like a born Londoner. Of course, a good guide will take you through the more important streets more often than he takes you down the side streets; a bad guide will do the opposite. In philosophy I’m a rather bad guide. [1]

This is a great quote!  It is honest and it makes me think of preachers who major on minors (like the End Times or hell)  or who drum on things that are foreign to the text all together (like the ‘Fall’)… but I think that I will refrain from commentary and just let the quote stand.  It is a good one.

There is something to be said for majoring on the majors.


[1] Clive Seale, Qualitative Research Practice (SAGE, 2007), 401.

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