It is always a joy to meet an American, Mr. Moulton, for I am one of those who believes that the folly of a monarch and the blundering of a minister in far-gone years will not prevent our children from being some day citizens of the same world-wide country under a flag which shall be a quartering of the Union Jack with the Stars and Stripes.
Arthur Conan Doyle
Without your wound where would your power be? It is your very remorse that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men. The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living. In love's service only the wounded soldiers can serve.
When your weapons are dulled and ardour damped, your strength exhausted and treasure spent, neighboring rulers will take advantage of your distress to act. And even though you have wise counsellors, none will be able to lay good plans for the future. Thus, while we have heard of blundering swiftness in war, we have not yet seen a clever operation that was prolonged.
Consider the blundering anarchic system of the United States the stupidity of some of its lawmakers, the violent reaction, the slowness of its ability to change. Twenty-five key men destroyed could make the Soviet Union stagger, but we could lose our congress, our president, and our general staff and nothing much would have happened. We would go right on. In fact we might be better for it.
Without your wounds where would your power be? It is your melancholy that makes your low voice tremble into the hearts of men and women. The very angels themselves cannot persuade the wretched and blundering children on earth as can one human being broken on the wheels of living. In Love's service, only wounded soldiers can serve. Physician, draw back.
When a man has fulfilled all four of these requisites-to be wide awake, to have fear, respect, and absolute assurance-there are no mistakes for which he will have to account; under such conditions his actions lose the blundering quality of the acts of a fool. If such a man fails, or suffers a defeat, he will have lost only a battle, and there will be no pitiful regrets over that.
Something in me died at Peleliu. Perhaps it was the childish innocence that accepted as faith the claim that Man is basically good. Possibly I lost faith that politicians in high places, who do not have to endure war's savagery, will ever stop blundering and sending others to endure it.
Eugene B. Sledge
A story demanded to be written, and that is why I have not answered your letter before: a wrong-headed story, that would come blundering like a moth on my window, and stare in with small red eyes, and I the last writer in the world to manage such a subject. One should have more self-control. One should be able to say, Go away. You have come to the wrong inkstand, there is nothing for you here. But I am so weakminded that I cannot even say, Come next week.
Sylvia Townsend Warner
Trump has emphatically denied ties to Russia - a claim refuted by his Twitter feed and a cursory Google search. Putin says his government had nothing to do with the hack of the DNC computers, even though it carelessly left a trail of crumbs tracing back to his intelligence services. The cunning liar is exploiting the blundering one.
The enemy aggressor is always pursuing a course of larceny, murder, rapine, and barbarism. We are always moving forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the deity to regenerate our victims while incidentally capturing their markets, to civilize savage and senile and paranoidal peoples while blundering accidentally into their oil wells or metal mines.
John T. Flynn
People who turn to philosophy expecting to harvest a crop of formulas of wisdom or understanding do not understand-philosophy has such things, but they are merely incidental, not the essence of the matter. Philosophy is about subtilizing and tuning up the coherence and acuity of one's seeing, it is about opening new dimensions for insight, learning to think about what one is doing when one thinks instead of just blundering through the processes of putting thoughts together.
Bayle, when writing on "Comets," discovered this; for having collected many things applicable to his work, as they stood quoted in some modern writers, when he came to compare them with their originals, he was surprised to find that they were nothing for his purpose! the originals conveyed a quite contrary sense to that of the pretended quoters, who often, from innocent blundering, and sometimes from purposed deception, had falsified their quotations. This is an useful story for second-hand authorities!
The world and all its wisdom is but a booby, blundering school-boy that needs management and could be managed, if men and women would be human beings instead of just business men, or plumbers, or army officers, or commuters, or educators, or authors, or clubwomen, or traveling salesmen, or Socialists, or Republicans, or Salvation Army leaders, or wearers of cloths.
The major credit I think Jim and I deserve ... is for selecting the right problem and sticking to it. It's true that by blundering about we stumbled on gold, but the fact remains that we were looking for gold. Both of us had decided, quite independently of each other, that the central problem in molecular biology was the chemical structure of the gene. ... We could not see what the answer was, but we considered it so important that we were determined to think about it long and hard, from any relevant point of view.
In these days before antiseptics, doctors themselves also suffered high mortality rates. Florence Nightingale, a nurse during the Crimean War (1853-1856), watched one particularly inept surgeon cut both himself and, somehow, a bystander while blundering about during an amputation. Both men contracted an infection and died, as did the patient. Nightingale commented that it was the only surgery she'd ever seen with 300 percent mortality.
But alas, the most terrifying aspect of the whole fascist episode is the dark fact that most of its poisons are generated not by evil men or evil peoples, but by quite ordinary men in search of an answer to the baffling problems that beset every society. Nothing could have been further from the minds of most of them than the final brutish and obscene result. The gangster comes upon the stage only when the scene has been made ready for him by his blundering precursors.
John T. Flynn
No one was to blame for what happened, but that does not make it any less difficult to accept. It was all a matter of missed connections, bad timing, blundering in the dark. We were always in the right place at the wrong time, the wrong place at the right time, always just missing each other, always just a few inches from figuring the whole thing out. That's what the story boils down to, I think. A series of lost chances. All the pieces were there from the beginning, but no one knew how to put them together.
When he went blundering back to God, His songs half written, his work half done, Who knows what paths his bruised feet trod, What hills of peace or pain he won? I hope God smiled and took his hand, And said, "Poor truant, passionate fool! Life's book is hard to understand: Why couldst thou not remain at school?" A poem by Charles Hanson Towne
For nearly five years the present Ministers have harassed every trade, worried every profession, and assailed or menaced every class, institution, and species of property in the country. Occasionally they have varied this state of civil warfare by perpetrating some job which outraged public opinion, or by stumbling into mistakes which have been always discreditable, and sometimes ruinous. All this they call a policy, and seem quite proud of it; but the country has, I think, made up its mind to close this career of plundering and blundering.
You have only to play at Little Wars three or four times to realize just what a blundering thing Great War must be. Great War is at present, I am convinced, not only the most expensive game in the universe, but it is a game out of all proportion. Not only are the masses of men and material and suffering and inconvenience too monstrously big for reason, but-the available heads we have for it, are too small. That, I think, is the most pacific realization conceivable, and Little War brings you to it as nothing else but Great War can do.
H. G. Wells
A culture capable of imagining complexly is a humble culture. It acts, when it has to act, as late in the game as possibl, and as cautiously, because it knows its girth and the tight confines of the china shop it's blundering into. And it knows that no matter how well prepared it is - no matter how ruthlessly it has held its projections up to intelligent scrutiny - the place it is headed for is going to very different from the place it imagined. The shortfall between the imagined and the real, multiplied by the violence of one's intent, equals the evil one will do.
I suppose hobbits need some description nowadays, since they have become rare and shy of the Big People, as they call us. They are (or were) a little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded Dwarves. Hobbits have no beards. There is little or no magic about them, except the ordinary everyday sort which helps them to disappear quietly and quickly when large stupid folk like you and me come blundering along, making a noise like elephants which they can hear a mile off. They are inclined to be fat in the stomach; they dress in bright colours (chiefly green and yellow); wear no...
Waiting for God means power to do nothing save under command. This is not lack of power to do anything. Waiting for God needs strength rather than weakness. It is power to do nothing. It is the strength that holds strength in check. It is the strength that prevents the blundering activity which is entirely false and will make true activity impossible when the definite command comes.
G. Campbell Morgan
There was this other apocalypse this one time. And, well, I took off. But this time, I don't... I don't know." "Well, what's different?" "Well, I guess I was kinda new to being around humans before. And now I've seen a lot more, gotten to know people, seen what they're capable of and I guess I just realize how amazingly... screwed up they all are. I mean, really, really screwed up in a monumental fashion." "Oh." "And they have no purpose that unites them, so they just drift around, blundering through life until they die. Which they-they know is coming, yet every single one of them is surprised when it happens to them. They're incapable of thinking about what they want beyond the moment. They kill each other, which is clearly insane, and yet, here's the thing. When it's something that really matters, they fight. I mean, they're lame morons for fighting. But they do. They never... They never quit. And so I guess I will keep fighting, too.
Halt, " said Horace, "I've been thinking... " Halt and Will exchanged an amused glance. "Always a dangerous pastime, " they chorused. For many years, it had been Halt's unfailing response when Will had made the same statement. Horace waited patiently while they had their moment of fun, then continued. "Yes, yes. I know. But seriously, as we said last night, Macindaw isn't so far away from here... " "And?" Halt asked, seeing how Horace had left the statement hanging. "Well, there's a garrison there and it might not be a b ad idea for one of to go fetch some reinforcements. It wouldn't hurt to have a dozen knights and men-at-arms to back us up when we run into Tennyson." But Halt was already shaking his head. "Two problems, Horace. It'd take too long for one of us to get there, explain it all and mobilize a force. And even if we could do it quickly, I don't think we'd want a bunch of knights blundering around the countryside, crashing through the bracken, making noise and getting noticed." He realized that statement had been a little tactless. "No offense, Horace. Present company excepted, of course.
If you have to walk along a dark mountain path, don't you prefer to have a flashlight to shine on the path ahead? I would suggest that it is possible to have that flashlight in life all the time. What does a flashlight give us? Light. That is, a flashlight sheds light. It is like the faculty of attention-if we turn our full attention to something, we learn more about that thing. We are seeing it with more light. Our attention is our 'flashlight.' So it's all about how much and how fun an attention we consciously bring to life. This quality of attention doesn't make us hesitant, or slow to decide, particularly-just as the flashlight doesn't make us hang back on the trail. So, how do we get to the better quality of attention? With attention! That is, we turn our attention on our attention; we start by trying to see how we don't pay attention. We sort of keep that light on ourselves. 'Know thyself' has been an honored ancient teaching, and it's still a cornerstone of the world's greatest philosophies. If you watch yourself honestly, in a detached way-not guilt-tripping yourself when you screw up-you gradually learn where it was that you were just blundering along, reacting sort of mechanically, and being asleep even as you were in your waking day. Another way to make this happen is by returning your whole attention to the present-to what's happening now, in this moment, and this moment, and on-within yourself and around you.
James L. Harmon