- "Every judgment in science stands on the edge of error and is personal."
- "Science is a tribute to what we can know, although we are fallible."
- "We have to cure ourselves of the itch for absolute knowledge and power."
- "We have to touch people."
He steps into the pond of ashes, shoving his hand into the mud, touching the dead, bringing up the life that is them transmogrified, redefined, yet still lost because of drooling hate. Each life full of joys and fear and everything else gone with the gas, with the "itch" for ultimate knowledge and power.
Touching them. And he says he owes them. He owes them and us, perhaps, what? Respect? Care? Dare I say Love? No he owes them the right to live and to find their way in this world. He owes them the freedom to exists, which was denied them by people pretending to knowledge they did not have, nor ever pursued. He owes them, as we owe them, life.
I'm still moved by this sequence. Bronowski's points apply equally as well today as they might have 38 years ago when this was filmed.Update: Jacob Bronowski was also a poet. I had no idea. I thought he was just a mathematician and an all around brilliant human being.