‘Of all the many turning points and crucial stages – from primitive ape-like creature through to the sophisticated and marginally less primitive ape-like creature that you see about you at zoos and football matches – the most curious development of all is that of the human brain.
‘The human brain has got man into a lot more trouble than has previously been supposed and unless we come up with some way of putting the brain out of commission or obviating some of the more ludicrous effects of the brain, then I don’t think life’s going to get any better.’
‘It was, after all, Greeks who pioneered the writing of history as what it has so largely remained, an exercise in political ironics—an intelligible story of how men’s actions produce results other than those they intended.’ – J G A Pocock
Pocock was a New Zealander. Not born here, but brought up here and the first ever head of the Canterbury University political science department.
I don’t normally link to Wikipedia, but just this once: there’s more on him here.
I came across this line in a book on the Kennedys, but it seems apt right now. Sadly and worryingly apt.
There is always something stark, and clean-slate-ish, about that straight 1 on the first of January of any year.
Uncluttered, and full of promise. Or, I suppose, if you are going through a rough patch, full of threat or dread.
It’s generally a time of taking stock, this time of year. That downward slash of the 1 on the first of January can be rough.
It’s worth remembering, I think, that things are seldom as bad, or as good, as they appear.
And that however good, or bad, things may seem, the old saying of ‘This, too, shall pass’, is always a useful corrective.
‘There are people who read too much: the bibliobibuli. I know some who are constantly drunk on books, as other men are drunk on whiskey or religion. They wander through this most diverting and stimulating of worlds in a haze, seeing nothing and hearing nothing.’
H L Mencken.
To which I can only say, ‘Cheers’. Though I’d query the “too much”.
‘ I am most inclined to set my own work in the tradition of the modern British comic novel, which as we all know started with James Joyce’s Ulysses but has improved since.’
– Malcolm Bradbury