Vicarious wisdom

General Patton said, “No sane man is unafraid in battle, but discipline produces in him a form of vicarious courage.” Similarly, the rules of a traditional society make possible a kind of vicarious wisdom among the unwise. These rules restrain the capable, so removing them lets the intelligent, the prudent, and the creative do better, at the cost of the not-so-capable doing worse, but having plenty to eat.

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3 Replies to “Vicarious wisdom”

  1. I would like to know what “the rules of a traditional society” are. I probably know, somewhere buried amongst all the other rubbish in my mind, but it would be nice to have them spelled out.

      1. I suspect that the rules could be spelled out, but they would probably fill an encyclopedia. They are all the stuff you absorbed growing up, going to church and school, and that is a lot of stuff. Part of the problem might be that not enough people go to church. I never cared much for church, long, boring and tedious, but I did notice that when I did go, I was much calmer for a few days. Weird.

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