Kenneth E. Boulding

The Meaning of the Twentieth Century,
1965, pp. 191-193

There is in the world today an "invisible college" of people in many different countries and many different cultures, who have this vision of the nature of the transition through which we are passing and who are determined to devote their lives to contributing towards its successful fulfillment. Membership in this college is consistent with many different philosophical, religious, and political positions. It is a college without a founder and without a president, without buildings and without organization. Its founding members might have included a Jesuit like Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a humanist like Aldous Huxley, a writer of science fiction like H.G. Wells,and it might even have given honorary degrees to Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Pope John XXIII, and even Khruschhev and John F. Kennedy, Its living representatives are still a pretty small group of people. I think however, that it is they who hold the future of the world in their hands or at least in their minds .... but once we have joined this invisible college, what do we do? Do we join a political party? Picket the White House? Go on protest marches? Devote ourselves to research, education, and propaganda? Or do we go about the ordinary business of life much as we have previously done? Fortunately or unfortunately, according to taste there is no simple answer to this question. Like any commitment, joining the invisible college of the transition implies a change from the unexamined life to the examined life. What the results of this examination will be, however, and what constitutes a good grade, is hard to predict for any particular person. What is certain is that we will see and do even old things in a new light and in a more examined manner.

Kenneth Brower

The Starship and the Canoe, 1979, pp. 146, 147

Freeman Dyson has expressed some thoughts on craziness. In a Scientific American article called "Innovation in Physics," he began by quoting Niels Bohr. Bohr had been in attendance at a lecture in which Wolfgang Pauli proposed a new theory of elementary particles. Pauli came under heavy criticism, which Bohr summed up for him: "We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that is not crazy enough." To that Freeman added: "When a great innovation appears, it will almost certainly be in a muddled, incomplete and confusing form. To the discoverer, himself, it will be only half understood; to everyone else, it will be a mystery. For any speculation which does not at first glance look crazy, there is no hope!"


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