Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Wisdom Consists of
Selective Disregard

'The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.'
--the immortal Henry James, possibly the best novelist America has ever produced. If you've never read his masterpiece, Portrait of a Lady, you really ought to. When I read it in my mid-20s, not long before I got married, it continued to marinate in my brain for years. If you've somehow been led to believe that he was merely a writer of late-Victorian/early-Edwardian novel of manners that doesn't relate to your life, don't believe it. You can review our lone previous mention of James here.


At 9:53 AM, Blogger Mariana Soffer said...

Excelent quote, from one of my favourite short stories writters, I read them all when I was in my 20 also.
I wanted to translate the quote, to being wise consists in knowing what to filter. It is the opposit of the modeling paradigm.

At 1:44 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks for visiting, Mariana, and especially commenting, and all the way from beautiful Argentina. I think you may be our first South American commenter ever. I hope readers will click on your name and follow the link to your lovely blog, which I've added to my list of periodic reads. Again, thanks for stopping by, and hope you'll come back often.

At 1:07 PM, Blogger Kim said...

Something to add to my list of reads for the winter.

I find that I think best when I practice the art of overlooking things. It helps me focus on what is at hand.

Fabulous quote, John.

At 2:42 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Glad you found value in it, Kim. Do let us know about your reactions to the book after you've read it.


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