“The landscape of my days appears to be composed, like mountainous regions, of varied materials heaped up pell-mell. There I see my nature, itself composite, made up of equal parts of instinct and training. Here and there protrude the granite peaks of the inevitable, but all about is rubble from the landslips of chance.”
— Marguerite Yourcenar, Memoirs of Hadrian
This reminds me of one of my favorite quotations, from Sigmund Freud’s “The Theme of the Three Caskets” in The Freud Reader. I managed to work this quotation into my new book about habits — enormously satisfying:
“The names of the three spinners have been interpreted significantly…Lachesis, the name of the second, seems to mean ‘the accidental within the decrees of destiny’ while Atopos means ‘the inevitable’ and for Clotho ‘the fateful tendencies each one of us brings into the world.’”
I often think: What are my fateful tendencies? What is the role of instinct and training? How does chance play a role? Etc., etc.
What do you think?