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"Eating Knowledge Too Fast"?From "The Waters of Babylon," what does John mean...

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pinkflames | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 18, 2008 at 12:48 PM via web

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"Eating Knowledge Too Fast"?

From "The Waters of Babylon," what does John mean by "perhaps the olden days ate knowledge too fast"? 

And in your own opinion does our society eat knowledge too fast? explain. thnx

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 18, 2008 at 1:43 PM (Answer #2)

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John observes that the Place of the Gods was destroyed by some kind of super weapon. His remark that the inhabitants "ate knowledge too fast" is his excellent comment that they didn't think about the consequences their knowledge might bring before they used it. Even though this story was written in the 1930's, it parallels some of the moral questions of today's society. We have the knowledge to destroy ourselves, the knowledge of how DNA works, the knowledge to clone animals and,possibly ourselves. Perhaps, our society is also "eating knowledge too fast". Our knowledge is increasing faster than our ability to figure out how to use that knowledge wisely.

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puzzle | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 24, 2008 at 10:46 AM (Answer #3)

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As Kennedy said '' Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind. ''

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 26, 2010 at 9:28 AM (Answer #4)

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"Eating knowledge too fast" is an excellent metaphorical description of the failings of mankind in the dystopian world of this short story. It brings to mind a picture of someone absolutely glutting themselves on food, so that they make themselves ill or worse, and fits in with the point of view of the speaker. As ms-mcregor states, the central message of the story is all about the danger of technology that is untried, untested, or beyond our ability to handle. There are a number of extremely topical issues that this could be relevant too, not least genetic modification and our discovery of how the human genome works. Messing with nature, some scientists fear, may have drastic consequences, which cannot be predicted, which is why this story is so relevant to us in our day and age.

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