"The cubes will not roll at all;
they have a great talent for standing still,
and always keep right side up."
A parable about what happens when tools start improving the truth…
"When we are as yet small children… there comes up to us a youthful angel, holding in his right hand cubes like dice, and in his left spheres like marbles. The cubes are of stainless ivory, and on each is written in letters of gold – TRUTH.
The spheres are veined and streaked and spotted beneath, with a dark crimson flush above, where the light falls on them, and in a certain aspect you can make out upon every one of them the three letters
L, I, E.
The child to whom they are offered very probably clutches at both. The spheres are the most convenient things in the world; they roll with the least possible impulse just where the child would have them.
The cubes will not roll at all; they have a great talent for standing still, and always keep right side up.
But very soon the young philosopher finds that things, which roll so easily are very apt to roll into the wrong corner, and to get out of his way when he most wants them, while he always knows where to find the others, which stay where they are left. Thus he learns – thus we learn – to drop the streaked and speckled globes of falsehood and to hold fast the white angular blocks of truth.
But then comes Timidity, and after her Good-nature, and last of all Polite-behavior, all insisting that truth must roll, or nobody can do anything with it; and so the first with her coarse rasp, and the second with her broad file, and the third with her silken sleeve, do so round off and smooth and polish the snow-white cubes of truth, that, when they have got a little dingy by use, it becomes hard to tell them from the rolling spheres of falsehood."
From The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table by Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1858, 1891. (I added more paragraph breaks for easier reading.)