Friday, December 16, 2011

Nullo Docente Magistro

Here is today's emblem by Joachim Camerarius, 1:97. Here Camerarius makes a typical paradoxical argument: nature acts wisely, yet human beings may choose instead to act unwisely. So, for example, if plants absorb useful fluids and reject dangerous fluids, are human beings really going to rush into the the very things that do them harm? The world of nature, moreover, does not have the benefit of formal schooling; with our schooling, should we not then be even more admirable than the world of nature?

Nullo Docente Magistro
Utilis attrahitur plantis, at noxius humor
Spernitur; anne homines in sua damna ruent?


nullus - not any, none
doceo - teach
magister - teacher
utilis - useful
attraho - draw towards, attract
planta - cutting, young plant
at - but, on the other hand
noxius - harmful
humor - moisture, bodily fluid
sperno - reject
anne - question word (expects negative)
homo - person, man
in - in, into
suus - reflexive possessive adjective
damnum - damage, loss, ruin
ruo - rush into, ruin, be ruined

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