The Long Now

A remarkable passage from Seneca, doing what he does best (remembering that there are other times and places than here and now).  On the question of what comets are and how they move:
Why should we be surprised, then, that comets, so rare a sight in the universe, are not embraced under definite laws, or that their beginning and end are not known, seeing that their return is at long intervals?  It is not yet fifteen hundred years since Greece counted the number of the stars and named them every one.
And there are many nations at the present hour who merely know the face of the sky and do not yet understand why the moon is obscured in an eclipse. It is but recently indeed that science brought home to ourselves certain knowledge on the subject. The day will yet come when the progress of research through long ages will reveal to sight the mysteries of nature that are now concealed. A single lifetime, though it were wholly devoted to the study of the sky, does not suffice for the investigation of problems of such complexity. And then we never make a fair division of the few brief years of life as between study and vice. It must, therefore, require long successive ages to unfold all. The day will yet come when posterity will be amazed that we remained ignorant of things that will to them seem so plain. 
Men will some day be able to demonstrate in what regions comets have their paths, why their course is so far removed from the other stars, what is their size and constitution. Let us be satisfied with what we have discovered, and leave a little truth for our descendants to find out.

— L. Annæus Seneca (c. 65 A.D.)

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"A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion." — Proverbs 18:2