We Are Going to Die

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potentail people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here [Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow].

I read Steven Pinker’s The Sense of Style. The first chapter is organized around four excerpts that Pinker uses to illustrate good writing; the one above from Richard Dawkins is the first one.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , ,

One Response to “We Are Going to Die”

  1. The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker | Kvams Says:

    […] Pinker is a very great book on writing. He starts out by providing samples of great writing (one example here) and then explaining, in details, what’s so particularly great about the specific examples. […]

Comments are closed.


%d bloggers like this: