The Knife is a surgeon in the UK. He will post on anything he likes: politics, our culture, health and the NHS, the arts – anything. Why would you bother to read yet another blog? I don’t really know…
“There is usually only a limited amount of damage that can be done by dull or stupid people. For creating a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs.”
Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow: He who would search for pearls must dive below
If man is not to do more harm than good in his efforts to improve the social order, he will have to learn that in this, as in all other fields where essential complexity of an organized kind prevails, he cannot acquire the full knowledge which would make mastery of the events possible. He will therefore have to use what knowledge he can achieve, not to shape the results as the craftsman shapes his handiwork, but rather to cultivate a growth by providing the appropriate environment, in the manner in which the gardener does this for his plants. There is danger in the exuberant feeling of ever growing power which the advance of the physical sciences has engendered and which tempts man to try, “dizzy with success”, to use a characteristic phrase of early communism, to subject not only our natural but also our human environment to the control of a human will. The recognition of the insuperable limits to his knowledge ought indeed to teach the student of society a lesson of humility which should guard him against becoming an accomplice in men’s fatal striving to control society – a striving which makes him not only a tyrant over his fellows, but which may well make him the destroyer of a civilization which no brain has designed but which has grown from the free efforts of millions of individuals.
Friedrich Hayek, The Pretence of Knowledge, 1974
“One thing is sure. If you stand still and think that the fire is still far from your borders, then your lands will become the stage upon which the tragedy is performed”
Frederick William, The Great Elector of Brandenburg-Prussia, Political Testament, 19/05/1667
You may drive out Nature with a pitchfork, yet she still will hurry back
Horace, Epistles, Book 1
Wordly men talk of ‘simple people’ as they do of ‘humble people’, with the same indulgent smile. But they should speak of them as kings
“I am a socialist”
The most poetical thing in the world is not being sick
GK Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday, 1908
Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.
St Francis de Sales
Put yourselves on the ways of long ago and enquire about the ancient paths: which was the good way? Take it then, and you shall find rest.
Hang there like fruit, my soul,
Till the tree die!
Posthumus in Cymbeline, Shakespeare, 1623