Stephen Jay Gould

“But, as we consider the totality of similarly broad and fundamental aspects of life, we cannot defend division by two as a natural principle of objective order. Indeed, the ‘stuff’ of the universe often strikes our senses as complex and shaded continua, admittedly with faster and slower moments, and bigger and smaller steps, along the way. Nature does not dictate dualities, trinities, quarterings, or any ‘objective’ basis for human taxonomies; most of our chosen schemes, and our designated numbers of categories, record human choices from a cornucopia of possibilities offered by natural variation from place to place, and permitted by the flexibility of our mental capacities. How many seasons (if we wish to divide by seasons at all) does a year contain? How many stages shall we recognize in a human life?”

—Stephen Jay Gould, “The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister’s Pox: Mending the Gap between Science and the Humanities.” New York: Harmony, 2003, p. 82, quoted in s.v. Stephen Jay Gould, Wikiquote.

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