September 17, 2009

Unoriginal origins

Yes, decorum; if a proper diffidence and decorous lack of originality have been universally accepted as the essential characteristics of a practical man and a gentleman, a sudden transformation would be quite ungentlemanly and almost indecent. What tender and devoted mother wouldn't be dismayed and ill with terror at her son's or daughter's stepping one hair's-breadth off the beaten track. "No, better let him be happy and live in comfort without originality," is what every mother thinks as she rocks the cradle.
--The Idiot, Fyodor Dostoevsky

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