Thursday, September 15, 2011

Quantification and Society

I love the painting Temperance by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.  In the middle, I believe, is Temperance herself: spectacles in one hand (sagacity); a snake as a belt (evil under restraint), a bit in her mouth with its reins in her other hand (self-restraint).  In the precise middle is the quintessential quantification of life itself: a clock.

For a short yet insightful guide to the rest of the painting, I recommend Alfred Crosby's The Measure of Reality: Quantification and Western Society, 1250-1600.

Temperance by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Temperance

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