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Tim Powers

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Certainly no valid answer is ever gained by excluding any factors of the problem; that was the Puritansí error.
--
Chapter 15 (p. 370)

 
Tim Powers

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The answer is in the problem, not away from the problem. I go through the searching, analysing, dissecting process, in order to escape from the problem. But, if I do not escape from the problem and try to look at the problem without any fear or anxiety, if I merely look at the problem ó mathematical, political, religious, or any other ó and not look to an answer, then the problem will begin to tell me. Surely, this is what happens. We go through this process and eventually throw it aside because there is no way out of it. So, why canít we start right from the beginning, that is, not seek an answer to a problem? ó which is extremely arduous, isnít it? Because, the more I understand the problem, the more significance there is in it. To understand, I must approach it quietly, not impose on the problem my ideas, my feelings of like and dislike. Then the problem will reveal its significance. Why is it not possible to have tranquillity of the mind right from the beginning?

 
Jiddu Krishnamurti
 

The Puritans failed miserably in their dealings with the Indians of New England, with scarcely a glimmer of kindness to illuminate black page after black page of cruelty and humiliation. There were many reasons that the Puritans were so much less successful with the Indians than were the Spaniards or the French or even the Englishmen. The Puritans insisted upon a high standard of religious devotion that the Indians were unable or unwilling to give. The Puritans lacked any way to integrate the Indians into their theocracy... nor were any Puritans specifically assigned to missionary tasks. The heart of the matter, though, is that conversion of the heathen was not one of the compelling motives--or justifications--for the Puritan settling of New England, as it was for the Spaniards in the Southwest.

 
Peter Farb
 

The Puritans in New England were not immediately presented with an Indian problem, for diseases introduced earlier by trading ships along the coast had badly decimated the Indian population. Yet when the Pequots resisted the migration of settlers into the Connecticut Valley in 1637, a party of Puritans surrounded the Pequot village and set fire to it. About five hundred Indians were burned to death or shot while trying to escape; the Whites devoutly offered up thanks to God that they had lost only two men. The woods were then combed for any Pequots who had managed to survive, and these were sold into slavery. Cotton Mather was grateful to the Lord that "on this day we have sent six hundred heathen souls to hell."

 
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But every error is due to extraneous factors (such as emotion and education); reason itself does not err.

 
Kurt Godel
 

The problem of distinguishing prime numbers from composite numbers and of resolving the latter into their prime factors is known to be one of the most important and useful in arithmetic. It has engaged the industry and wisdom of ancient and modern geometers to such an extent that it would be superfluous to discuss the problem at length. ... Further, the dignity of the science itself seems to require that every possible means be explored for the solution of a problem so elegant and so celebrated.

 
Carl Friedrich Gauss
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