Thursday, March 5, 2009


We certainly live in precarious times. (From Latin precarius ("begged for", "obtained by entreaty") < Latin precari (pray). Cognate with French précaire and Spanish, Portuguese and Italian precario.) The times could also be described as dangerously insecure or unstable; perilous. But as Charles Dickens said, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way."

In my rock and ice climbing days, I used to think that hanging on a cliff was precarious. Now that I have some perspective in the matter, I think living is precarious. I also think the Latins had a good idea in precarious times, pray.

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