Unlike hundreds of other writers and scholars, Pinker does correctly attribute (the oft-misattributed phrase) “Murder your darlings” to Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch found in On the Art of Writing.
“Suppose a vast number of civilizations are distributed throughout the universe, on the order of the number of detectable stars. Lots and lots of them. Those civilizations make up the body of a cosmic society. Cosmic sociology is the study of the nature of this super-society” (p 12).
Tolstoy writes: ”But what is this beauty which forms the subject-matter of art? How is it defined? What is it?
”As is always the case, the more cloudy and confused the conception conveyed by a word, with the more aplomb and self-assurance do people use that word, pretending that what is understood by it is so simple and clear that it is not worth while even to discuss what it actually means.”