Re: Comma, Comma, Comma (Should we or Shouldn't we)

Subject: Re: Comma, Comma, Comma (Should we or Shouldn't we)
From: Bill Burns <WBURNS -at- VAX -dot- MICRON -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 10 May 1995 08:08:54 MDT

That was my posting. The statement comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."
The operative word here is "foolish." Consistency is not wrong in itself.
Only when consistency is sought at the detriment of other issues, such as
clarity, is consistency foolish. This point reminds me of a story.

A monk was meditating in the monastery's sanctuary. As he sat, he was
continually interrupted by a cat that would race through the sanctuary
knocking books off of pews and such--generally making a nuisance of itself.
He called in one of the acolytes and requested that the cat be tied outside
of the sanctuary door. Any time after this day, he would have the cat tied up
outside the sanctuary door at meditation time.

The original acolyte (the one who always seemed to get stuck with the task of
chasing down and tying up the cat) eventually became the abbot, and he
continued the practice of tying up the cat. He understood why he was doing
this, but he didn't see the need to explain it to anyone.

A couple of centuries passed, and sanctuaries gained nice new developments such
as glass windows and wooden doors to keep out noise and disturbances during
meditation and prayer times. However, in the old respected tradition, they
continued tying a cat outside the door.

Now it's 1995. I heard that some theologian just submitted a paper about the
ritual benefits of binding cats before prayers and meditations.

Not all consistency is foolish. When it is, it's purpose should be re-examined.
I apologize if this point got anyone's dander up. It wasn't meant as a put-down
but as a reminder.

Bill Burns *
Assm. Technical Writer/Editor * LIBERTY, n. One of Imagination's most
Micron Technology, Inc. * precious possessions.
Boise, ID *
WBURNS -at- VAX -dot- MICRON -dot- COM * Ambrose Bierce

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