Whoever makes the folly of the world his study must oscillate between attempted detachment and involuntary disgust. Neither is satisfactory; nor is either effective, whether expressed in public or kept locked in the privacy of the heart, for the sum total of human folly remains constant—proof against argument, satire, mockery, cajolery, or any other method to reduce it. If ever there were a hydra-headed monster, it is man’s determination to complicate his existence to the point of misery. In my medical practice, I discovered that men of no particular talent or originality of mind were nevertheless possessed of an almost infinite capacity to devise new and ingenious ways to ruin themselves, and did so with a determination worthy of a better cause. The fate of those who try to detach themselves from human folly or who react to it with disgust is similar, for both are themselves doomed to partake of what they detest....


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