Life is a score we play at sight, not merely before we have divined the intentions of the composer, but even before we have mastered our own instruments; even worse, a large part of the score has been only roughly indicated, and we must improvise the music for our particular instrument, over long passages. On these terms the whole operation seems one of endless difficulty and frustration; and indeed, were it not for the fact that some of the passages have been played so often by our predecessors that, when we come to them, we seem to recall some of the score and can anticipate the natural sequence of the notes, we might often give up in sheer despair. The wonder is not that so much cacophony appears in our actual individual lives, but that there is any appearance of harmony and progression.

Lewis Mumford (1895-1990) American writer, philosopher, historian, architect
The Conduct of Life, 9.5 (1951)
Added on 14-Sep-11 | Last updated 5-May-20
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