ARTS

THAT THE NEWNESS OF THE ARTS IN NO WISE PROVES THE NEWNESS OF THE GLOBE

All the philosophers thought matter eternal; but the arts appear new. There is not one, even to the art of making bread, which is not recent. The first Romans ate pap; and these conquerors of so many nations never thought of either windmills or watermills. This truth seems at first to contradict the antiquity of the globe such as it is, or supposes terrible revolutions in this globe. The inundations of barbarians can hardly annihilate arts which have become necessary. I suppose that an army of negroes comes among us like locusts, from the mountains of Cobonas, through the Monomotapa, the Monoemugi, the Nosseguais, the Maracates; that they have traversed Abyssinia, Nubia, Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor, the whole of our Europe; that they have overthrown everything, ransacked everything; there will still remain a few bakers, a few cobblers, a few tailors, a few carpenters: the necessary arts will survive; only luxury will be annihilated. It is what was seen at the fall of the Roman Empire; the art of writing even became very rare; almost all those which contributed to the comfort of life were reborn only long after. We invent new ones every day.

From all this one can at bottom conclude nothing against the antiquity of the globe. For, supposing even that an influx of barbarians had made us lose entirely all the arts even to the arts of writing and making bread; supposing, further, that for ten years past we had no bread, pens, ink and paper; the land which has been able to subsist for ten years without eating bread and without writing its thoughts, would be able to pass a century, and a hundred thousand centuries without these aids.

It is quite clear that man and the other animals can exist very well without bakers, without novelists, and without theologians, witness the whole of America, witness three quarters of our continent.

The newness of the arts among us does not therefore prove the newness of the globe, as was claimed by Epicurus, one of our predecessors in reverie, who supposed that by chance the eternal atoms in declining, had one day formed our earth. Pomponace said: "Se il mondo non e eterno, per tutti santi e molto vecchio."

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