It is certain that in matters of learning and philosophy the practice of pulling down is far pleasanter and affords more entertainment than that of building and setting up. Many have succeeded to a miracle in the first who have miserably fallen in the latter of those attempts. We may find a thousand engineers who can sap, undermine and blow up with admirable dexterity for one who can build a fort or lay the platform for a citadel.
22 December 2009
Building Up and Tearing Down
This thoughtful blog post (hat tip to an excellent student), which recommends the teaching of "appreciative thinking" at least as much as "critical thinking," reminds me of this passage from Shaftesbury:
And Shaftesbury published that in 1711!