June 20, 2007
Chanced Upon Absurdly
Garance Franke-Ruta awesomely begins a blog post like this: “I was rereading some 17th century essays recently…”
They were essays on youth vs. wisdom, it turns out — here’s a blockquote from Francis Bacon:
The errors of young men, are the ruin of business; but the errors of aged men, amount but to this, that more might have been done, or sooner. Young men, in the conduct and manage of actions, embrace more than they can hold; stir more than they can quiet; fly to the end, without consideration of the means and degrees; pursue some few principles, which they have chanced upon absurdly; care not to innovate, which draws unknown inconveniences; use extreme remedies at first; and, that which doubleth all errors, will not acknowledge or retract them; like an unready horse, that will neither stop nor turn.
I don’t know about that whole line-up, but “pursue some few principles, which they have chanced upon absurdly” is pretty terrific and, er, rings true.