I’m reading Pragmatic Thinking and Learning for the second time and keeping notes. Here are the digital ones, to be updated regularly.
Always consider the context. Use rules for novices, intuition for experts. Know what you don’t know. Learn by watching and imitating. Keep practicing in order to remain expert. Avoid formal methods if you need creativity, intuition, or inventiveness. Learn the skill of learning. Capture all ideas to get more of them.
Carl Sagan quoting Holbach in the preface to Cosmos’s Chapter VII, The Backbone of Night, p.167:
If a faithful account was rendered of Man’s ideas upon Divinity, he would be obliged to acknowledge, that for the most part the word “gods” has been used to express the concealed, remote, unknown causes of the effects he witnessed; that he applies this term when the spring of the natural, the source of known causes, ceases to be visible: as soon as he loses the thread of these causes, or as soon as his mind can no longer follow the chain, he solves the difficulty, terminates his research, by ascribing it to his gods… When, therefore, he ascribes to his gods the production of some phenomenon… does he, in fact, do any thing more than substitute for the darkness of his own mind, a sound to which he has been accustomed to listen with reverential awe?
McLuhan’s claim that the printing press was the dominant force that transformed the hermeneutic Middle Ages into our scientific society should not be taken too lightly — especially because the main point is that the press didn’t do it just by making books more available, it did it by changing the thought patterns of those who learned to read.
Though much of what McLuhan wrote was obscure and arguable, the sum total to me was a shock that reverberates even now.