Herbie Mann Comin' Home

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Not-So-Commonplace 3

The cruelest obstacle to creating one's own ethic is that no principle is incorruptible.  Indeed, to cleave to a principle is to corrupt oneself.  To shift from one principle to another can, however, be promiscuous.  Life is not simple.

-- Norman Mailer.  On God.


  1. I loved Norman Mailer. And you are so right; life is not simple. I believe that principles can change and basic character should evolve, though some people devolve, if there is such a word.

  2. Very glad to hear your allegiance! My email name is a nod to him.

    His conversation-book On God does talk about a devolution. When you read his stuff from all periods, the idea is there, too.

    The universe, as seen by him from an admittedly novelistic perspective, is one of character formation. God and The Devil both are characters, both developing. A third character is Man(kind).

    As we become who we are, so too do the respective balances of God and Devil as they pitch their cases 'to us' as we make decisions.

    Some people give up and never develop on. Some go one 'way' or another. You can choose 'wickedness'. You can choose integrity.

    The quote above also undercuts the idea of 'sticking to principle'. Not entirely sure what he means, but he might be saying that context can warp a principle so that applying it is a corrupt use?