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Olson's kinship with Pythagorean thought, and with the pre-Socratic sense of world more generally, is very marked. It occurs as a reference directly in, for example, an early poem, "The Praises," wherein are found these proposals:

What has been lost
is the secret of secrecy, is
the value, viz., that the work get done, and quickly,
without the loss of due and profound respect for
the materials . . .

The danger he sees here is that "dispersion which follows from / too many having too little / knowledge . . ." "What is necessary is / containment, / that that which has been found out by work may, by work, be passed on / (without due loss of force) / for use . . ."

Or again:

What belongs to art and reason is
                                                             the knowledge of
                                                                                            consequences . . .

It is a sense of use , which believes knowledge to be necessarily an active form of relation to term, with the corollary, that all exists in such relation, itself natural to the conditions. It is not, then, knowledge as a junk-heap, or purposeless accumulation of mere detail—which seems to derive too frequently from the manner of classification which follows upon the pre-Socratic world-view. It is knowledge used as a means to relate, not separate—which senses must, per se, prove very different. That is why the term, use , is to be met with so frequently in Olson's writing.


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Some Notes on Olson's Maximus
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