Humans Would Never Reading And Synthesis
Using On Writing Well by William Zinsser, come up with five principles of strong writing that you believe the author would endorse. Remember, you are not summarizing what the author said in the book; you are using your previous knowledge and the book to create your own ideas about what makes strong writing.
Here is my essay:
There are two things that push humankind forward, which is, curiosity and mistakes. These two things combined are actually the driving force behind human success. This message is broadcast by biologist Lewis Thomas in his work The Medusa and the Snail, where he indicates that without making mistakes and breaking away from precision, humans would “never get anything useful done.” He is right. Literature and history have shown us that without mistakes, people would not be people, and the world would not have been as it is today.
One notable novel that is pushed forward by a character’s mistakes and failures is The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. The main character Holden Caulfield, from the very beginning is shown to make a mistake of leaving behind some fencing foils on the train, and his failure in all his classes led to his expulsion. This ends up the string of events that would later lead him to realize he was the catcher in the rye, the savior of all children. However, perhaps that isn’t the most important part of the story. The important part is how Holden Caulfield thought. This book, set in the modern America, is set on the idea that adults are phony and all think uniformly. Holden, on the other hand, is a cynical child, and he thinks precisely that he is not on the winning side. He rejects society, he rejects the rules of society. This reinforced Lewis Thomas’ point about there being two sides, and without two sides “there can be no action at all.” Without Holden’s stance on the other side, he would not have gone through the events of the book and would have conformed to the rest of society, not having come to the conclusion that he is special and unique in his own way and his purpose in life differs from everyone else’s. When people deviate from society, when they become the “mouse out of his box,” they begin to see things in a different light, and that eventually leads people to the answer that they want. This occurrence does not just happen in literature, it happens in real life too, often in science.
Aside from science accidentally inventing the slinky, or perhaps even potato chips, if it is a “lucky day” in the “lucky laboratory,” we see that science can give us inventions such as the x-ray, penicillin, even the pacemaker. It is amazing what a simple mistake can do. Lewis Thomas makes the point that we should take away the phrase “‘trial and error’” and instead use the phrase “‘trial and triumph.’” The latter definitely has a ring to it, and as Thomas pointed out, a sense of truth because “in real life, that’s how it is done.” Without Wilhelm Roentgen accidentally inventing the x-ray, or Sir Alexander Fleming tossing out his experiments, ending up creating a concoction that advanced medicine beyond belief, or even John Hopps deviating from his original invention to improve the pacemaker, the face of medicine would be much different, and the condition of human health would not have improved as vastly as it has today. Thomas was very straight to the point that humans making mistakes is vital in the process of learning and creating, and these inventions simply proves it further.
In the end, what can be taken away is that errors are essential in human progress, whether it be to figure out a person’s purpose or whether it be in a laboratory experiment. But, the question must be asked, do people just go on and about trying to actively make mistakes to come to a conclusion? The answer to that would be no. As Thomas said, humans are “coded for error,” which means they are prone to make them naturally. The goal would end up becoming to learn from that mistake, rather than being harsh on oneself and reacting negatively. No matter how cliché of a saying it becomes, it is important for people to recognize that failure is the first step to success.