October 28, 2011 § 2 Comments

San hunters of the Kalahari

“Among the San Bushmen of South Africa … the hunt for game with poison-tipped arrows depends on moving rapidly across the veld. … When men become too old to participate in the hunt, they become makers of arrows — and tradition ascribes to the arrow maker the primary credit for the kill. … Similarly, only when women are too old for childbearing are they permitted to become shamanic healers, a translation of the love and care they have given their children to the health of the wider community. In both cases, an appropriately limited effort is recognized as having a profound value.”  —  Mary Catherine Bateson

“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.”  —  Madeleine L’Engle

“When I was young, I was amazed at Plutarch’s statement that the elder Cato began at the age of eighty to learn Greek. I am amazed no longer. Old age is ready to undertake tasks that youth shirked because they would take too long.”  —  W. Somerset Maugham

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§ 2 Responses to “QUOTE UNQUOTE”

  • Anderson says:

    “… it is said that contact with Greek culture came to him late in life, and that he was really quite old when he took up Greek books and had his rhetorical style improved by Demosthenes, and to a lesser extent by Thucydides. But Greek ideas and stories are fairly well scattered throughout his writings, and a number of literal translations from the Greek are deployed among his maxims and aphorisms.”

    Not sure where the 80-years-old part comes from. Cato was notorious for detesting Greek learning, philosophy in particular. Maybe Plutarch mentions the age in one of the other Lives.

    But here’s a chancery-related Catoism for you:

    “He said that he had only three regrets in his whole life: that he had once trusted a woman with a secret, that on one occasion he had taken a ship when he could have gone by foot, and that he had spent a particular day intestate.”

    The whole life is worth a read, as Plutarch usually is. (Quoting Waterfield’s translation for “Roman Lives” in the Oxford World’s Classics.)

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