Saturday, December 09, 2006

A bit about folly

Tell me, Mi, what’s wrong with folly?

Mrs. Brown, National Velvet

I have never thought about it that way even though I have seen the movie several times.


At 6:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


It's not a question, but a statement, right? That "folly" or desire, fun, lust, joy, pleasure, hedonism or happiness should even be justified, let alone questioned, is an expression of the fatal legacy of Antiquity and Christianity.

I have always drawn wisdom, also in my private life, from Epicurus, about pain, death, philosophy, and existence.

“Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young nor weary in the search of it when he has grown old.

For no age is too early or too late for the health of the soul. And to say that the season for studying philosophy has not yet come, or that it is past and gone, is like saying that the season for happiness is not yet or that it is now no more.

Therefore, both old and young alike ought to seek wisdom, the former in order that, as age comes over him, he may be young in good things because of the grace of what has been, and the latter in order that, while he is young, he may at the same time be old, because he has no fear of the things which are to come.

So we must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed towards attaining it.”

From Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus.

Orla Schantz

At 9:36 AM, Blogger Lynn said...

Orla –

Thanks for the quotation. I reread the Letter to Menoeceus after I woke this morning. It fits well with the Mrs. Brown character in National Velvet; for I now see Mrs. Brown as an Epicurean.

In the particular piece of dialogue I mentioned, Mi is trying to convince Mrs. Brown that entering Pie in the National race is folly. Mrs. Brown is wise to recognize that the pleasure of entering Pie in the National has its measure of vain and dangerous pleasure, but also that the family can prudently manage that pleasure for Velvet and Mi’s benefit.

“Prudence teaches us how impossible it is to live pleasantly without living wisely, virtuously, and justly, just as we cannot live wisely, virtuously, and justly without living pleasantly. For the pleasant life cannot be separated from them.” Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus.

Mrs. Brown is the one who steers the family away from trying to cash in on Velvet and Pie’s fame after they win the National because it might turn out to be a vain and excessive pleasure that might destroy the pleasant life they already live.

Thanks for the association.


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