Fools & Angels
There is so much in the news that could be blogged about, but where angels fear to tread, fools rush in…
I was once a fool; I probably still am. And one thing is certain, I will never qualify as an angel in this lifetime, but it is interesting that these phrases, that capture so well an aspect of the human condition, stick with us to resonate across the centuries.
The original quote is the other way round. It is from Alexander Pope and an Essay on Criticism in 1709 a poem written in heroic couplets, no less:
…For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread…
It has been taken up and turned on it’s head, or not, by the likes of Thomas Hardy and Edmund Burke; not to mention E.M. Forster. I suppose the reason I am writing about This, and not fulminating about That, is because I am trying to balance both my inner fool and angel. Rushing in has been my metier in life. Even when I thought I was being circumspect. It’s an emotional thing, mainly, I think. Emotions rush in to fill spaces, unbidden consciously. The consciousness catches up later, finding narratives to fit the emotion. The longer one can hold on to the emotional side, the more chance the conscious side has of re-assuming control. It’s Plato’s chariot driver I suppose, the white and black horses of the soul. The more I read and learn and think, the more I believe that every thought has already been had by at least an ancient Greek.
Anyway, the reason I set off down this track of thought was that a friend quoted some poetic lines at me yesterday, in a tea shop, just to sum up a complicated life situation, in a well-known couplet. The people change, the lives and the situations do too, but the poetic phrases that describe them so completely remain the same.