Crowning

“Some fashions…flower once and then disappear, hopefully forever. Others swing in and out of style, as if fastened to the end of a pendulum. Two foibles of human life strongly promote this oscillatory mode. First, our need to create order in a complex world, begets our worst mental habit: dichotomy, or our tendency to reduce a truly intricate set of subtle shadings to a choice between two diametrically opposed alternatives (each with moral weight and therefore ripe for bombast and pontification, if not outright warfare): religion versus science, liberal versus conservative, plain versus fancy, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ versus the ‘Moonlight’ Sonata. Second, many deep questions about our loves and livelihood, and the fates of nations, truly have no answers—so we cycle the presumed alternatives of our dichotomies, one after the other, always hoping that, this time, we will find the nonexistent key to an elusive solution.”

                                                               –Stephen Jay Gould

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