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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Life's Little Jokes

My apologies for the shameful incoherence you may find regarding the above video clip and the blog below.


  • A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
  • Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.
    • Aldous Huxley, "Wordsworth in the Tropics" in Do What You Will (1929).
  • Consistency is a virtue for trains: what we want from a philosopher is insights, whether he comes by them consistently or not.
    • Stephen Vizinczey, "Good Faith and Bad" in London Sunday Telegraph (4/21/1974); reprinted in Truth and Lies in Literature (1986).
  • Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
    • Oscar Wilde, "The Relation of Dress to Art" in Pall Mall Gazette (2/28/1885); reprinted in Aristotle at Afternoon Tea:The Rare Oscar Wilde (1991).
  • Consistency is the enemy of enterprise, just as symmetry is the enemy of art.
    • George Bernard Shaw, quoted by Michael Holroyd in Bernard Shaw: The Lure of Fantasy (1991).
  • The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.
  • Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.
  • A silly ass … wrote a paper to prove me inconsistent. … Inconsistency is the bugbear of fools! I wouldn't give a damn for a fellow who couldn't change his mind with a change of conditions.
    • John Arbuthnot "Jacky" Fisher, British Admiral and First Sea Lord, in a letter to former Prime Minister Arthur Balfour (ndg); reported in Arthur J. Marder, From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow: The Royal Navy in the Fisher Era, 1904-1919. (1961-1965); quoted by Robert K. Massie in Deadnought: Britain, Germany and the Comiing of the Great War(1991).
  • I have forced myself to contradict myself in order to avoid conforming to my own tastes.
    • Marchel Duchamp, quoted by Harriet & Sidney Janis in "Marchel Duchamp: Anti-Artist" in View magazine (3/21/45); reprinted in Robert Motherwell, Dada Painters and Poets(1951).
  • When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?
    • John Maynard Keynes, Reply to a criticism during the Great Depression of having changed his position on monetary policy, as quoted in "The Keynes Centenary" by Paul Samuelson, in The Economist Vol. 287 (1983), p. 19; later in The Collected Scientific Papers of Paul Samuelson, Volume 5 (1986), p. 275; also in "Understanding Political Development: an Analytic Study" (1987) by Myron Weiner, Samuel P. Huntington and Gabriel Abraham Almond, p. xxiv; this has also been paraphrased as "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

[Chambers Thesaurus (5th Edition) © Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd. 2015]


It has been my great good fortune in life to have friends and acquaintances who have strongly disagreed with me (though not consistently so).  My writing of blogs (which if nothing else have been great therapy for me) began when a co-worker and I found ourselves repeatedly on opposite poles in political discussions. ( 

Just yesterday the leader of our weekly men’s discussion group treated me to coffee and criticism.  He explained that he and several others at our last meeting objected to my incoherence . Perhaps for a moment my face turned red.  (There may be one or two of my readers who during school days spilled their guts in a class essay only to find it on return shatter-shot with the scarlet lettering “Incoherent"  (a label with no further illuminating explanation totally useless other than as extant evidence of bully bludgeoning).

Gradually those of us so wounded may come to learn that it's best to leave passion and conviction aside and put in its place cold calculation and kiss-ass ideology however respectfully translated.  As the song says, little children must be carefully taught.

Additionally, I would like to mention that a multitude of rich blessings can require a little patience.  Has anyone not had the experience of paced ideation development eventually unfolding to exquisite gifts from God? (Perhaps we should be less dogmatically certain of time and resource requirements for on-going thought processing--especially as that pertains to mental graphics.)  I often thank God for the sometimes mean-spirited opposition that God lovingly turns into blessings.  As King David wrote:   You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Psalm 23:5   NIV