Sunday, August 18, 2013

Thomas Carlyle

I’ve been reading Carlyle’s massive masterpiece The French Revolution, the idea being that we need to study other times in order to understand our own time. One conclusion I’ve already drawn is that, present in any age is a great deal of irrationality. Yet, conversely, the greatest danger comes from those who believe they’re acting rationally. We’re flawed creatures, liable often as not to be wrong. The first step toward true enlightenment is to recognize that.

Anyway, here’s an interesting quote from Thomas Carlyle, with echoes of today:

“But of those decadent ages in which no Ideal either grows or blossoms? When Belief and Loyalty have passed away, and only the cant and false echo of them remains; and all Solemnity has become Pageantry; and the Creed of persons in authority has become one of two things: an Imbecility or a Machiavelism?”

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