11 May 2009

"The Only Thing We Learn"

Read it now : "The Only Thing We Learn"
By Cyril Kornbluth
In Webscription.net
Genre: Science Fiction
Word Count: 3,600 approx.

Those who do not learn from the mistakes of history are condemned to repeat them. In this story, ,it is amusing to watch a pompous professor give a speech on the fall of a previous empire, entirely failing to see that he represents the decay of his own imperial society. Even as he passes a message to the young warriors of his audience, he is completely unaware that he is announcing that the barbarians at the gates.

Cyril Kornbluth fought in World War II, at the Battle of the Bulge, so he knew something about war and soldiers. He had begun writing and being published at a very early age, which was fortunate as he died early, in his 30's. His most famous story would be "The Marching Morons", in which a crafty conman who finds himself in the world of the future shows the intelligent people there exactly what to do with the teeming morons who plague them. It seems easy, since the morons are so willing to believe that there are planets where manufactured food grows on trees, but he forgets that the more intelligent people are learning from him.

The professor in "The Only Thing We Learn" is equally unaware, in spite of everything he knows about history from his subject, archeo-literature.

Read it here.

Morva Shepley

1 comment:

  1. "If only the veil of time were rent."
    I read this story so long ago, that I don't remember when. It has been with me my entire life. It is one of the great ones, and I am thankful that it is still available on this site. Thank you for posting it!