Saturday, 15 June 2013

Prose Puzzle

“Dimly, for he was not accustomed to thinking along these lines, he perceived the numbing truth that we human beings are merely as many pieces in a jig-saw puzzle and that our every movement affects the fortunes of some other piece. Just so, faintly at first and taking shape by degrees, must the germ of civic spirit have come to Prehistoric Man. We are all individualists till we wake up.”

Now there's a fine quote. One I agree with wholeheartedly. Most of the so-called 'libertarian' thinking of our time comes from people who are white, male, wealthy, have had it very easy thanks to Daddy's money and connections or similar private-sector safety net. For all their chat about history and such, libertarians seem to lack the imagination to visualise what can happen to supposedly smart, resourceful individuals when society breaks down. Oh, and they're also narcissistic little wankers with no moral compass, obviously. 

But, insults aside, who was the author of the above? You can, I think, narrow it down. Obviously an elegant prose stylist - 'numbing truth' is a clever use of two commonplace words, far more effective than some bit of polysyllabic obscurity. The same goes for the commonplace term 'wake up', recruited here to perform an uncommon task. To me it suggests a person born maybe a hundred years ago, or not much less. 'Prehistoric Man' is more of a pre-war expression. Also a lightweight one - a more intellectual author might have said Neolithic Man or something along those lines. 

Well, Google can reveal the truth, if you're interested.

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