Saturday, March 30, 2013

Isaac Newton Was a Bully

Yesterday, as so often happens when I'm looking up something on the Internet, I stumbled across something wholly unrelated and infinitely more interesting, causing me to completely forget what I was originally looking for. It was a list Sir Isaac Newton made of "sins" he committed in 1662, when he was young and full of beans, and had yet to discover gravity or invent the pet door.

I won't list them all, but here are some of the juiciest:
Making pies on Sunday night
Putting a pin in Iohn Keys hat on Thy day to pick him
Threatning my father and mother Smith to burne them and the house over them
Wishing death and hoping it to some
Striking many
Having uncleane thoughts words and actions and dreamese
Punching my sister
Calling Dorothy Rose a jade
Peevishness with my mother
Falling out with the servants
Beating Arthur Storer
Peevishness at Master Clarks for a piece of bread and butter
Striving to cheat with a brass halfe crowne
Twisting a cord on Sunday morning
Vsing Wilfords towel to spare my own
Lying about a louse
Denying my chamberfellow of the knowledge of him that took him for a sot

I grant you that most of the above transgressions seem pretty tame by today's standards. For instance, who among us has not lied about a louse or denied our chamberfellow of the knowledge of him that took him for a sot? And, let's face it, Dorothy Rose is a jade, and everyone knows it.

However, a number of items on the list are seriously disturbing. They paint the extremely unflattering portrait of an obnoxious jerk who punched his sister, beat one guy, stuck a pin in another, wished and hoped death to some, struck many, and threatened to burn his parents' house down with them in it.

In short, Sir Isaac Newton was a bully with a streak of cruelty to rival that of the Marquis de Sade. And if any further proof were needed of that fact, I remind you that this is also the man who invented calculus.


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