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Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Better off mad



Better Mad with the rest of the World than Wise alone. So say politicians. If all are so, one is no worse off than the rest, whereas solitary wisdom passes for folly. So important is it to sail with the stream. The greatest wisdom often consists in ignorance, or the pretence of it. One has to live with others, and others are mostly ignorant. "To live entirely alone one must be very like a god or quite like a wild beast," but I would turn the aphorism by saying: Better be wise with the many than a fool all alone. There be some too who seek to be original by seeking chimeras.

Baltasar Gracian - The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1647)

Perhaps we are better off mad with the rest of the world, but it would be reassuring to have the option. Is democracy supposed to sort that out?

3 comments:

Demetrius said...

Wasn't Galileo supposed to be mad? There was a school of thought in Cambridge who had serious doubts about Isaac Newton.

Roger said...

No, democracy is a very broad church capable of many interpretations. Too much however is a bad thing, children should not be allowed to play with razor blades - unless you want blood on the carpet.

Otherwise, better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and be proved a fool - oops.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - Isaac was certainly a little odd.

Roger - if only our political classes would remain silent every now and then. They could even take up listening.