Worth Pondering

All the risks you didn’t take come and take their revenge.
–Anna Gát, @TheAnnaGat, at Twitter

 I’m reminded of a passage in Walter Miller’s great novel, A Canticle for Leibowitz: 

To minimize suffering and to maximize security were natural and proper ends of society and Caesar. But then they became the only ends, somehow, and the only basis of law—a perversion. Inevitably, then, in seeking only them, we found only their opposites: maximum suffering and minimum security.

(I had a Worth Pondering series that ran for several years, but didn’t keep it up for some reason.  Think I’ll restart it, using new items as well as posts from the archives.)

5 thoughts on “Worth Pondering”

  1. Henry Beecher was a prominent Harvard anaesthesiologist and public intellectual,

    That was not his real name. He changed his name.

    Born as Harry Unangst in Peck, Kansas in 1904, he changed his surname to Beecher in his 20s. This change was said to be for the name recognition of influential 19th-century Beechers—preacher Henry Ward Beecher and author Harriet Beecher Stowe.[4] He was, in fact, unrelated to the Beecher family.

    A marketing expert, as well.

  2. I am reading Hugh Dundas’ memoir: “Fighter Pilot: A Fighter Pilot’s War Years” which I recommend. For those, like me that hadn’t heard of him, he started out in the British equivalent of the Air National Guard as an 18 year old Law Clerk (apprentice lawyer) in either ’38 or ’39 and flew Spitfires till 1949. He missed the bulk of the Battle of Britain by being shot down and wounded in roughly the first 10 minutes of his first flight into it.

    I’ve progressed to 1941 when the RAF was flying offensive fighter sweeps over Northern France and they were receiving word daily of pilots, often friends or acquaintances (it was a pretty small group altogether) either known dead or missing. These eventually included half of his squadron and his older brother. Yet he continued two or three times a day.

    By contrast, I was out and about in the early morning twilight on a busy artery when coming down my lane, against traffic, I barely saw a guy dressed all in dark clothing on a black bicycle with no lights. The only flaw in his almost perfect camouflage was a white surgical type mask hanging below his chin. He was being careful in a dangerous world.

    In hindsight, I’m a little sorry I didn’t pull over to block him and let him know just how stupid he was being, not that it would have made a difference. I’m sure he will eventually end up as part of the statistics showing how dangerous cars are to poor, innocent bicyclists.

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