A Journey in Other Worlds

Author: John Jacob Astor


The protracted struggle between science and the classics appears to be drawing to a close, with victory about to perch on the banner of science, as a perusal of almost any university or college catalogue shows. While a limited knowledge of both Greek and Latin is important for the correct use of our own language, the amount till recently required, in my judgment, has been absurdly out of proportion to the intrinsic value of these branches, or perhaps more correctly roots, of study. The classics have been thoroughly and painfully threshed out, and it seems impossible that anything new can be unearthed. We may equal the performances of the past, but there is no opportunity to surpass them or produce anything original. Even the much-vaunted "mental training" argument is beginning to pall; for would not anything equally difficult give as good developing results, while by learning a live matter we kill two birds with one stone? There can be no question that there are many forces and influences in Nature whose existence we as yet little more than suspect. How much more interesting it would be if, instead of reiterating our past achievements, the magazines and literature of the period should devote their consideration to what we do NOT know! It is only through investigation and research that inventions come; we may not find what we are in search of, but may discover something of perhaps greater moment. It is probable that the principal glories of the future will be found in as yet but little trodden paths, and as Prof. Cortlandt justly says at the close of his history, "Next to religion, we have most to hope from science."


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Chicago: John Jacob Astor, "Preface," A Journey in Other Worlds in A Journey in Other Worlds (New York: The Century Co., 1918), Original Sources, accessed November 26, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=22ITD9Z3FUAWKUY.

MLA: Astor, John Jacob. "Preface." A Journey in Other Worlds, in A Journey in Other Worlds, New York, The Century Co., 1918, Original Sources. 26 Nov. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=22ITD9Z3FUAWKUY.

Harvard: Astor, JJ, 'Preface' in A Journey in Other Worlds. cited in 1918, A Journey in Other Worlds, The Century Co., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 26 November 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=22ITD9Z3FUAWKUY.