The Sovereign Mind

Free thought on politics and real life

Would You Rather Lose a Leg or a Mistress?

(Assuming you were of such a character as to take a mistress, that is.)

Adam Smith makes an interesting point:

The loss of a leg may generally be regarded as a more real calamity than the loss of a mistress. It would be a ridiculous tragedy, however, of which the catastrophe was to turn upon a loss of that kind. A misfortune of the other kind, how frivolous soever it may appear to be, has given occasion to many a fine one.

(In case it’s not clear, he is using the word “tragedy” here to mean a form of art depicting suffering, as in “Shakespearean tragedy”. I had to read it a few times before I got that, but maybe you’re smarter than me.)


Written by Mike

January 16, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Posted in society

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