half empty, or half full?
Thursday, August 7, 2008 10:30:23 PM
the post-Trinity robert oppenheimer (somewhat later than when he likened himself to
Death, the destroyer of worlds) is often mis-quoted as saying:
The Optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds, the Pessimist fears it is true.the mis-quote is a paraphrase of an earlier quote by james branch cabell, who wrote, in 1926,
The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.
i have, from the earliest days, included amongst my signature line quotes an unsourced aphorism, which i thought i had cleverly coined -- "The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds; the pessimist knows it is." -- until someone emailed me to tell me i misquoted cabell... i was surprised, as i've been using that line since high school, but then realized it was just an emersonian moment, where one recognizes something as "brilliant" and "true" because it is something the hearer has thought himself...
or so i tell myself, when pondering whether to re-fill the glass or attempt to sop up the dammage, should i have failed to place it in my "blind spot" -- that mysterious place where my body hides spillables from me, but which i can never locate, although it's inevitably the same spot...