October 1st, 2002


There is nothing that man fears more than the touch of the unknown. He wants to see what is reaching towards him, and to be able to recognize or at least classify it. Man always tends to avoid physical contact with anything strange.
    -Elias Canetti (1905-94), Austrian novelist and philosopher. Crowds And Power, "The Fear of Being Touched" (1960; tr. 1962), opening lines.

The ignorant are a reservoir of daring. It almost seems that those who have yet to discover the known are particularly equipped for dealing with the unknown. The unlearned have often rushed in where the learned feared to tread, and it is the credulous who are tempted to attempt the impossible. They know not whither they are going, and give chance a chance.
    -Eric Hoffer (1902-83), U.S. philosopher. Reflections on the Human Condition, aph. 124 (1973).

Selective ignorance, a cornerstone of child rearing. You don't put kids under surveillance: it might frighten you. Parents should sit tall in the saddle and look upon their troops with a noble and benevolent and extremely nearsighted gaze.
    -Garrison Keillor (b. 1942), U.S. author. Leaving Home, "Easter" (1987).
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