Every time I see the movement of a locomotive, I hear a whistling sound, I hear the opening of the valve and the movement of the wheels; but I have no right to conclude from this that the whistling and the movement of the wheels are the cause of the movement of the locomotive.(read book in a beach chair; took four days.)
Peasants say that a cold wind blows in late spring because the leaf buds of the oak are sprouting, and indeed a cold blows every spring when the oak is sprouting. But though the cause of the cold wind that blows as the oak sprouts is unknown to me, I cannot agree with the peasants about the sprouting of the oak being the cause of the cold wind, if only because the force of the wind is beyond the influence of the leaf buds. I only see the coincidence of conditions that occurs in every phenomenon of life, and I see that however long and thoroughly I observe the hand of my watch, the valve and wheels of the locomotive, and the leaf buds, I will not learn the cause of bells ringing, the movement of the train, and the spring wind. For that I must change my point of observation completely, and study the laws of the movement of steam, bells and the wind. Historical science must do the same.
Friday, January 02, 2009
From Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace (R. Pevear & L. Volokhonsky trans.), at 823: