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VMs: Bacon on wax tablets...
Francis Bacon, quoted in Edward O. Wilson's "Consilience", p.27:
The mind, he argued "is not like a wax tablet. On a tablet
you cannot write the new till you rub out the old; on the
mind you cannot rub out the old except by writing in the new."
Bacon may also be (in part) referring to Chapter 12 of Aristotle's "De
Anima", which compares perception to an impression in a wax tablet.
Or again, he could be referring to Cicero, who (according to
http://www.english.uiuc.edu/405-2000/gossett/thesis.htm which is a very
nice thesis on memory)
calls memory "the twin sister of written speech," and
compares it to a "wax tablet" upon which loci are gathered
together like letters in the tablet.
Regardless, it seems likely that - even in Bacon's time - wax tablets were
still in use, and their general properties well-known enough to be useful
as a metaphor.
Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....