[Ads-l] Quote: We are taught to fly in the air like birds =?UTF-8?Q?=E2=80=A6_?=but how to live on the earth we do not know" (Request)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Aug 20 23:36:45 UTC 2016

This is a follow-up message to a request I sent to the list on July
16th. Charlie Doyle kindly verified pertinent citations in 1925 and
1934. The entry on this saying attributed to Maxim Gorky, A Russian
peasant, George Bernard Shaw, Martin Luther King, Sarvepalli
Radhakrishnan, and others is now available available (with
acknowledgements) here:

We Are Taught To Fly in the Air Like Birds, and To Swim in the Water
Like the Fishes; But How To Live on the Earth We Don’t Know



On Sat, Jul 16, 2016 at 11:49 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> The following words have implausibly been attributed to George Bernard Shaw:
> Now that we have learned to fly the air like birds, swim under water
> like fish, we lack one thing - to learn to live on earth as human
> beings.
> I received a request to explore the provenance of the expression, and
> the earliest match I've found was written by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
> and pointed to an unnamed peasant recorded by Maxim Gorky.
> Year: 1929
> Title: Kalki: Or, The Future of Civilization
> Author: Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
> Quote Page 9
> Publisher: K. Paul, Trench, Trubner, London
> Database: Google Books Snippet View; data may be inaccurate and should
> be verified on paper
> https://books.google.com/books?id=4zkZAAAAIAAJ
> [Begin excerpt]
> Maxim Gorky relates how, after addressing a peasant audience on the
> subject of science and the marvels of technical inventions, he was
> criticized by a peasant spokesman in the following words: "Yes, we are
> taught to fly in the air like birds, and to swim in the water like the
> fishes, but how to live on the earth we do not know."
> Among the races, religions, and nations which live side by side on the
> small globe, there is not that sense of fellowship necessary for good
> life. They rather feel themselves to be antagonistic forces.
> [End excerpt]
> If you have access to the above book, and you are willing to help
> verify this citation with scans please let me know.
> If you can find a citation before 1929 or a match in the oeuvre of
> Maxim Gorky that would be very helpful. Evidence of the Russian
> version of the statement would be interesting. Martin Luther King
> employed a version in his Nobel Peace Prize speech in 1964.
> Thanks,
> Garson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list