Sunday, August 23, 2015

Holscher's Laws of Behavior

Having recently delved into laws of history; we now, without proper qualification or training, delve into sociology.  Well, maybe we actually do have the training, as law is a about analysis and observation, and the law is really just a set of rules.  At any rate, like with history, there are certain laws that govern human behavior.  In some ways, that's probably for the same reason. Certain things are part of our natures, like it or not, and they'll determine how we act, in spite of our best efforts.

The amusing, perhaps, thing about this is that this is so massively ignored, even by sociologists, and we often have a completely wrong idea about ourselves.  I suspect that's part of the reason that so many modern Americans are unhappy in some ways.  We've forced ourselves out of our individual natures.  We'll look at that as one of the laws below

Holscher's First Law of Behavior.  You are going home again.

Thomas Wolfe is famously quoted as having written "You can't go home again.".  I believe that the more accurate quote is "You can't go home again, and stay there."  I'll be frank that I've never read Wolfe's work that this quote comes from, or much of Wolfe at all, so I can't really say how the quote should be taken in context.  The bad thing about pithy quotes is that it's very easy to do that, and loose the meaning that the author intended for it.

Be that as it may, the quote that people like to cite to here, in the context that the quoter makes of it, is completely in error.  Not only can you go home again, you are going to.  At least you're going home again in terms of your basic personality.

From long observation, I'm pretty convinced that everyone's basic personality is set by the time they're about five years old.  Likes, dislikes, intense interests, the whole smash, in some way, is there.  Kids who are outdoorsy at five will be outdoorsy as old men.  If a kid is fascinated with fishing at that age, he'll be fishing when he's 80.  A dedicated reader at five will be at fifty.  Nerdy at 5, nerdy at 95.  And so on.

This is a fact, I think, that's hardly appreciated, but it's there.  I've watched kids who loved one thing or another grow up and continue to love it.  I've also seen those same people suppress something that they loved early on, and suffer for it.

This doesn't mean that people can't learn or develop new interests. They certainly can. But something of that spark of interests is in there very early as a rule, even if it's only really intensely brought out later.

What's also important about this, however, is that a person's real personality can be suppressed, but very often with bad results.  Some people suppress it, to their misery, their entire lives.  Everyone has seen people who are unhappy in a career or occupation, and wondered why. Well, perhaps that accountant saw himself as a kid as a commercial fisherman, and still does.  Perhaps that cubicle dweller wanted to be a forester, and it hasn't left him.  Perhaps that math teacher really loves baseball, and that's all that he thinks about each day.  These things can't be fully repressed.

They can come roaring back, however, and I've seen that from time to time. Every adult knows one or more instances in which somebody in a seemingly solid career up and bolted for something surprising.  I've known, for example of several instances in which successful lawyers suddenly quit and entered the seminary, or in one instance, Rabbinical school.  I doubt that was a simply newly discovered interest, it'd likely been there all along in some fashion.  I've known other instances in which which lawyers became teachers, teachers became lawyers, or successful business people took jobs as poor farm hands.  I've seen a lot of instances in which a person left a rural area for career in business where they accumulated a fair amount of wealth pretty much with the exclusive desire to go back to their original hometown and live the lifestyle of their youth, often when they're too infirm to do so, which they could have done had they never left.  And, most strikingly at all, I've seen people who lived face paced modern lives, focused on careers and wealth where they had abandoned a simpler rural lifestyle and the religion of their youth, struggle with it in middle age, and return to what they had originally been. That really was who they always were.

That doesn't mean that things don't wax and wane, in terms of interest. That's another oddity all to itself.  Some people have genuine intense loves that they slowly loose. But they can come back.  Absent some other sort of degeneration, people who were intensely interested in one thing, to seemingly loose their touch, can suddenly regain it and do.

This also doesn't mean that if a person was a snotty brat at 5 their doomed to a life of snotty bratness, although that can also happen.  Indeed, for some, a  personality trait can become a cross to bear that's lifelong, but still one that can be handled.. Being a brat is more of a personality defect, at least normally.  Just as a person with abominable speech can learn to speak like a gentleman, a snot can learn correct behavior.  No, what we're speaking of here is core personality traits. Those are pretty fixed by about age five.

Holscher's Second Law of Behavior.  "Every man is an actor". . . at least in their late teens and early twenties.

Shakespeare famously observed that the world was a stage and every man played many roles in this lifetime, although that was much more true in his day, before the age of certification, than it is now.*  But what is also true, and what he didn't really mean by this quote, that some (but not all) humans go through an age of assumed personality.  Or perhaps, more accurately, some men do, or more accurately yet, a lot of men do, but not all.  Women do not seem to do this to nearly the same extent, and some young men do this much more intensely than other.  Some young women also do this, which is a bad sign, generally, when they do.

What I mean by this is that, starting at some point in the teens, and that point varies, or even in the early twenties, a lot of young men enter a period of falsehood, but not all by other means.  Many who do, do only mildly, to their credit and unknowing relief.

What seems to bring this on, more than any other things, is the discovery of the opposite sex.  Ideally, people are who they are, and they should be that person. But, many young men become somebody else, slightly or greatly, during this period.  Young women, generally given that they are the pursued, and not the pursuer, do not seem to be as equally afflicted.  When they are, its invariably a very bad sign, as they begin to compromise large sections of their personality or persons, which inevitably leads to some trouble, if that's only an element of personal misery.

For the most part, the way this manifests itself is in acquiring false personality attributes that aren't part of their natural ones.  People develop likes they don't really have, and profess dislikes that aren't really theirs.  Perhaps the most amusing treatment of this (in an adult context) was by essayist Reg Henry, who some years ago wrote an entire column of things that people regard as higher class and how he admired them, such as Guinness Stout, and modern jazz, but how in reality he couldn't stand to actually experience them. That's pretty much the way this works.  Young 20 year old men who are active outdoorsmen suddenly become tofu eating Granolas, boys in their late teens who were listening to light rock suddenly declare that they really like some "alternative" music that a girl their interested in likes.  People see films that they actually despise.  They read Catcher in the Rye and declare they loved it, when in actuality they think the protagonist is a whiny self indulgent Boofadore, and so on.

For the most part, this corrects itself fairly early on.  Suddenly people find themselves again and return to their true selves, as per Holscher's First Law of Behavior, but for some this can become a decades long diversion and problem.  People will take up whole careers and decades of behavior based upon their false personality.  When that occurs, the end result tends to be that they come ripping out of it at some later point.  I've seen it more than once.  Some person who was basically a farm hand at heart, with a conservative religious background, will live the big city television told me what to do life for two or three decades, acquiring material items and living in the glass and concrete jungle.  All of a sudden, one day, they'll up and announce that they're moving into an Amish community and have traded in the Lexus for Percherons, leaving their spouse and children baffled.  But that's who they always were.

Holscher's Third Law of Behavior.  I know why the caged tiger paces.

Everyone has been to a zoo and has seen a tiger pace back and forth, back and forth.  He'll look up occasionally as well, and the deluded believe "look, he wants to be petted," while the more realistic know that he's thinking "I'd like to eat you."  You can keep him in the zoo, but he's still a tiger.  He wants out.  He wants to live in the jungle, and he wants to eat you for lunch. That's his nature, and no amount of fooling ourselves will change it.

It's really no different with human beings.  We've lived in the modern world we've created for only a very brief time.  Depending upon your ancestry, your ancestors lived in a very rustic agrarian world for about 10,000 years, long enough, by some measures to actually impact your genetic heritage.  Prior to that, and really dating back further than we know, due to Holscher's First Law of History, we were hunters and gatherers, or hunters and gatherers/small scale farmers.  Deep down in our DNA, that's who we still are.

That matters, as just as the DNA of the tiger tells it what it wants, to some degree our DNA informs us of what we want as well.  I do not discount any other influence, and human beings are far, far, more complicated than we can begin to suppose, but it's still the case.  A species that started out eons and eons ago being really smart hunters combined with really smart gatherers/small farmers has specialized in a way that living in Major Metropolis isn't going to change very rapidly.  Deep down, we remain those people, even if we don't know it, and for some, even if we don't like it.

This also impacts the every sensitive roles of men and women.  Primates have unusually great gender differentiation for a  mammal.  Male housecats, for example, aren't hugely different from female housecats.  But male chimpanzees are vastly different from female chimpanzees.  Male human beings are as well, but even much more so.

That's really upsetting to some people, but it simply isn't understood.  If understood, this does not imply any sort of a limitation on either sex, and indeed in aboriginal societies that are really, really, primitive there's much less than in any other society, including our modernized Western one.  Inequality comes in pretty early in societies, but some change in condition from the most primitive seems to be necessary in order to create it.  So, properly understood, those very ancient genetic impulses that were there when we were hiking across the velt hoping not to get eaten by a lion, and hoping to track down an antelope, and planting and raising small gardens, are still there.  That they're experienced differently by the genders is tempered by the fact that, in those ancient times, a lot of early deaths meant that the opposite gender had to step into the other's role, and therefore we're also perfectly capable of doing that.  It's the root basic natures we're talking about, however, that we're discussing here, and that spark to hunt, fish, defend and plant a garden are in there, no matter how much steel and concrete we may surround ourselves with.

The reason that this matters is that all people have these instincts from antiquity, some to greater or lessor degrees. But many people, maybe most, aren't aware that they have them.  Some in the modern world spend a lot of their time and effort acting desperately to suppress these instincts.  But an instinct is an instinct, and the more desperately they act, the more disordered they become.

This doesn't mean, of course, that everyone needs to revert to an aboriginal lifestyle, and that's not going to happen.  Nor would it even mean that everyone needs to hunt or fish, or even raise a garden.  But it does mean that the further we get from nature, both our own personal natures, and nature in chief, or to deny real nature, the more miserable they'll become.  We can't and shouldn't pretend that we're not what we once were, or that we now live in a world where we are some sort of ethereal being that exists separate and apart from that world.  In other words, a person can live on a diet of tofu if they want, and pretend that pigs and people are equal beings, but deep in that person's subconscious, they're eating pork and killing the pig with a spear.

Nature, in the non Disney reality of it.

Holscher's Fourth Law of Behavior.  Old standards existed for a real reason.

Not every standards that used to apply to human behavior and institutions needs to be retained for all time, but it's a mistake to believe that they existed at whim.  There's trend, fashion, and fancy, and then there's long term standards.

From time to time, almost every society throws off a bunch of old standards.  When they do that, they usually declare them to have been irrelevant for all time, but they hardly ever are.  They were there for a reason.  Sometimes, they no longer apply, but that's because something deeply fundamental has changed.  Other times, the underlying reason keeps on keeping on and the reason for it tends to be rediscovered, slowly, as if its a new discovery.  People fail to think about the deep basis for standards, the really deep ones, at their behavior.  Again, that doesn't mean that some shouldn't be changed, or should never have come into existence, but even in those rare instances careful thought should be given to the matter so that the basic nature of the underlying error can be understood.

Holscher's Fifth Law of Behavior.  In pop culture, we're always modern and people two or more decades back laughably naive.

A real oddity of human behavior is that people tend to look back as if there was a Golden Age (Holscher's Sixth Law of History) somewhere in the past, while at the same time people think that, in whatever age they currently live, we know everything.  Neither is true.
People look back at all sorts of topics; medicine, science, etc., and laugh at whatever was the current state of the art 20 or 30 years ago, and the applaud whatever we think now, including stuff that's nothing more than a modern medicine show.  Rest assured, a fair percentage of current thought in these areas will be obsolete 20 or 30 years from now.  Interestingly, during the course of that time, it's almost a certainty that some of the old (20+ years back) ideas we're laughing at now, will come back into currency and be current again, replacing whatever we think is now the definitive thought.

Holscher's Sixth Law of Behavior.  A lot of folks believe they live in the worst times ever even if they don't.

Human historical memory is amazingly short.  As a result of that, people often think that they're enduring epic hardship and live in hideous times, even if they do not.

Current times are a good example.  Many people believe the entire world is awash in a sea of massive violence such as the world has never known.  In actuality, things have never been so peaceful. Crime of all types is down all over the globe.  Warfare between sovereign states has almost disappeared.  Civil wars continue to rage on, but not at the level they once did.  

Consider the 1930s and 1940s. For much of that time every major nation was engaged in a war so violent that destroying entire cities was regarded as okay.  Now, if we look at sovereign states  at war we'd find. . . well, only one example.  North and South Korea are in a legal state of war, and have been since 1950, but in which they don't shoot at each other.

Or consider crime.  In the US, in spite of a recent horror, murder, the worst crime, is way, way, way down.  This doesn't seem to make the news, but its' the case.  For folks with long memories, you should be able to recall a time a couple of decades ago in your own neighborhoods where your town was much more violent, because it was.  But most people don't have memories that really stretch back that far.

Holscher's Seventh Law of Behavior.  The curse of the early risers is the late risers.

Every human being on the face of the plant can wake up at any appointed hour of the day at night without an alarm, and without aid. In Western societies, however, most don't.

Rather, a lot of people, completely unnecessarily, rely upon artificial aids.  Alarm clocks, for example.  But, in households were there are multiple people related to one another, it is invariably the case that at least one of those people has not lost the natural ability to wake up whenever the appointed hour arrives.  That person just wakes up, on schedule.

Unfortunately for that person, that person will be tasked with waking up the late risers, those who have suppressed their natural ability to wake up. Everyone in that category believes that they're a joy to wake up, and that they spring from bed in a good mood fully ready for the day.

In reality, however, the people who have to be awakened are about as pleasant to deal with as a badger poked with a stick, who needs a flea collar, and which is having a bad day.

For that reason it is clear that most of the worlds historical baddies actually were just people acting in that state between sleep and getting up.  Stalin, for example, committed all of his real nastiness after Molotov tried to awaken him daily.  "Humph, hmmm.. . .huh?. . . I'm AWAKE, send everyone in Leningrad to the Gulag. . ..ZZZZZZZ"    He probably thought he was a really nice guy.  "Molotov?  Where's everyone in Leningrad today?  Well, I'm out to rescue stray kittens and puppies. . . watch the Kremlin for me."  Or take Attila, the Hun.  "ZZZZZZ. . . . What?, WHAT?  I'm awake!  Sack Europe!. . . .ZZZZZZ".  Later, "Where is everyone?   Todays' the day we we were going to the tea cotillion."

Holscher's Eighth Law of Human Behavior.  People like to be scared.

People like to be scared. Not all people, but probably most people, to some extent, and some people love to be really, really, scared.

That's why people go berserk for things like end of the world predictions based on things like the Mayan calendar.  And it's the same reason that people completely ignore the Biblical injunction against trying to figure out the Last Day (even Christ said he did not know the day nor the hour), and come up with fanciful calculations about when things end.  And it's also why they make the ending as horrific and ghastly as conceivably possible. People like that.

It's probably also why a lot of prognosticators go for the worst possible of all outcomes in anything.  We will,in the future, have recessions and periods of growth, but some folks just love predicting a complete financial collapse.  Take any one hobby or avocation, and some folks are busy predicting its end.  The weird Australian film Mad Max, for example, picked up on that entire theme, starting off with "the last of the V8s," to the undoubted delighted horror of muscle car fans.  There will be a day in which, prognosticators tell us, corn, meat, gasoline, Hello Kitty dolls. . .whatever, will be all gone."

Some things do indeed end, and there's genuine reason to worry about some long term trends or possibilities.  But those are generally amongst the least likely to inspire real panic, as they're not as fun to ponder.

Holscher's Ninth Law of Human Behavior:  Some people would rather preserve options than make a decision, and they can't be compelled to decide no matter what.

 Everyone must make decisions in life, of course.  But not everyone has the same decision making style. Some people are highly analytical, others highly instinctive. Some make decisions based on facts, others on emotions.  Some make decisions rapidly, while others prefer to deliberate slowly.

But there are some people who actually prefer to have options, rather than make decisions at all. For highly decisive people, these people are aggravating in the extreme.

Chances are high that everyone knows somebody like this. Confronted with the necessity of deciding something, they tend to go to a decisive person and lay out the options. The decisive person will decide. Rather than accept it, the other person will set out 27 more options, and go on and on actually past the point where the other person  has committed a decision, with that person usually aggravated in the extreme by that point.

These people like options more than decisions, and are often able to get by on a lot of decisions by not deciding.  Somebody else will end up doing it, usually to the declared surprise of the option lover, who doesn't like having options eliminated, and who has added an other 72 options by the time the decisive person forces a commitment. 

Originally published on June 10, 2013

Holscher's Tenth Law of Human Behavior:  Dulce bellum inexpertis.**  Just because you are fascinated by the portrayal of something doesn't mean you'll like it.

Human beings have a distinct characteristic of being fascinated by portrayals, in written or cinematic form, of events which in reality are horrifically stressful and painful to many who experience the same thing in reality.  In certain instances, portrayals of certain events tend to even glamorize them in spite of their realities, and there's just something about those events which cannot keep them from being somewhat glamorous in portrayal.

War is the classic example.  War has been written about and studied since humans could first write, and war movies are one of the earliest genres of film.  Something about these portrayals touches something so deep in our natures that they glamorize war no matter what.  As more than one sage has noted, even "anti war" films end up glamorizing it.  

Most people would not take that to mean war is nice, but it is still the case that some will in fact confuse their fascination for the topic with a love of all things martial, and then learn when they experience it first hand, they don't like it to their shock.  Indeed, that's a relatively common experience.

War of course is an extreme example, but there's any number of similar things that have the same feature.  People like the depiction of all sorts of stressful events.  One genre, for example, is the courtroom drama.  I've met people who became lawyers due to courtroom dramas (I'm not one of them; I rarely will watch a courtroom drama). They went into law believing that it was excitement and drama because they were excited by cinematic dramas, but in reality they find that it's a lot of stress, to their shock.  A friend of mine who entered the filed due to the written portrayal of lawyers left it a while back, and when I later spoke to this person they were left pretty much with contempt for the profession they were once members of, in a rather extreme example of this path.

Police work is another such example.  People love crime dramas and a lot of people will actually enter police work because of how it is portrayed.  I've met more than one person who specifically cited "CSI" as the formational basis of their career path. But real on the streets police work is hard and depressing, and again I've know more than one policeman who abandoned it, in once case after just barely trying it, when they learned the reality of it felt different than watching it on television.

Of course, this isn't uniform by any means. There are people who love all of these endeavors (there are even people who like fighting in wars), but what this reveals is that there's something about our human natures that causes us to mentally role play stressful situations, and to like doing so, even though in reality we might not like living them.  Chances are this has something to do with our aboriginal past, when listening to the time Ooot Goonk was attacked by a lion for the tenth time armed us mentally for the era when a lion decided we'd be a fun plaything.

Holscher's Eleventh Law of Human Behavior:  Men and women are different.

What?  You're joking, right?  That's obvious.

Well, you'd think so but to a surprising degree people don't really grasp that and occasionally even when they do they want to explain it away to socialization.  It isn't due to that, it's deep in our DNA.

By different, I don't mean that our physical morphology is different, that's obvious.  No, I mean psychologically, and not due to our society or learning or early childhood experience.  We were truly made that way.

For anyone who has spent any time at all on this planet, this would seemingly be obvious, but it's something that some people seriously will dispute.  Indeed, I heard a radio show the other day in which a caller, a university professor (without children, which is probably critical to his delusion) argue, in spite of being married, that gender differences were entirely due to socialization.  Baloney.

We're all in the same species, to be sure, and as human beings we share more than we are different, but there are deep differences in the psychological make up of men as opposed to women.  Over time, this has been very much supported by the sciences of biology and evolutionary biology.  Men and women handle stress differently, with women generally handling it better than men.  The anger and return to norm curves are significantly different in men and women. Women generally have better language skills than men (which isn't to say that there aren't those with good language skills in both genders).  Women also tend to see shades of color more distinctly than men, which isn't really a psychological aspect of our beings but  which is related to it in that color perception is processed in the brain.

And whether we like to admit it or not, just watching a group of men and women over time will demonstrate a significant difference in what they generally like as amusement.  In spite of all the efforts to create a different situation, women do generally like personal relationship dramas much more than men, and men tend to like stories of violence more than women (see the Tenth Law of Human Behavior above).  

Again, all this goes back to our primitive pasts and the different roles men and women played in that past. This doesn't mean that we must recreate and be frozen in the roles, but it does mean that we have a certain mental makeup and which it serves us to be aware of.

Holscher's Twelfth Law of Human Behavior:  Logic isn't the default decision maker for a lot of people.

This is another one of those items which sounds like criticism, but it isn't.  The fact of the matter is that not all human beings come to decisions in the same manner, even though we tend to act as if they do.

Indeed "logic", the process of analytical thinking, is not the default means of decision making for most people. That shocks and even frustrates those who do engage in analytical logical thought, as they presume, logically, that everyone makes their decisions that way.  For professions where their occupants think logically, either by nature or training, this can be particularly frustrating, as these professions are problem solving by nature, and its hard to grasp why a person will not grasp the solution derived for them.

The reason they won't is that people quite commonly make their decisions by emotion and world view, which are powerful factors indeed.  They're so powerful that they can operate to the detriment of a person in certain stressful situations and are very difficult for an individual to overcome.  Indeed, a failure of a person's view to prevail when based on these factors is often extraordinarily frustrating to them with anger being the common byproduct.

As an example, I've seen on multiple occasions where a party in litigation has a certain view of things, based upon what they internally believe or feel, or both.  They very often believe that because they feel and believe that way, that everyone who is informed as to their feelings and belief will adopt that view as well. They typically start off with the "just explain" position, not realizing that their opponent is probably locked into a similar method of arriving at a conclusion, and when that explanation does not convince the opponent, they become convinced the opponent is acting out of malice.  In a broader sense, just looking around at large political issues, from a logical prospective, can provide many examples where people act out of a deeply felt belief, rather than logic.

This can be extremely problematic, as with genuine problems, a logical solution is very often the only workable solution. But the fact that most human beings don't make their decisions that way routinely, and almost all people don't base all their decisions on logic, is part of our natures and probably a good thing.  Taken to its extreme, those who advance their aims in society or personally solely on logic can actually be destructive, as they fail to recall that this isn't how most people perceive the world.  Indeed, people who listen only to economics, for example, reduce the world to a logical construct which almost no human being actually appreciates or wishes to live in.  We're a rational animal, to be sure, but an emotional one as well.

Holscher's Thirteenth Law of Human Behavior:  The measure of the utility of something is how well it accomplishes a task, not how new it is.  Nonetheless, people tend to go with the new, even if less useful.

People tend to believe that they adopt new technology or implements because they are better or more efficient than what came before them.  Very often they are. But they aren't always.  Nonetheless, the new tends to supplant the old, simply because its new.

There are plenty of examples of this.  Some old tools and old methods accomplish any one job better than things that came after them, and some things remain particularly useful within certain condition or niches.  Nonetheless, it takes educating a person to that to keep those older things in use, because they are, well. . . older.

Holscher's Fourteenth Law of Behavior.  Democratic behavior is the small scale human norm, and the large scale human exception.

Americans are so used to the ideal of democratic thought that they believe, in their heart of hearts, that all people everywhere will behave in a democratic fashion.  They will, but only on a very small scale.

People instinctively behave democratically in small groups, and probably always have.  With a group of your immediate friends and neighbors, everyone generally gets a vote.  In a tribal society, which is the human default norm, everyone is your friend, neighbor and relative anyhow, and that's how tribal societies act within themselves.  Plains Indians were highly democratic, for example, with no real "chiefs" like movies like to pretend their were.  Germanic tribal war raiding bands were democratic.

The problem is that tribes aren't democratic in a larger society, they remain tribal. Tribes are xenophobic, or even violently hostile, to other groups outside the tribe. 

Overcoming that is hard to do, but that's what has to be done to even create a nation state.  If people don't become more loyal to their nation, than their tribe, the nation ultimately fails under stress.  And going the next step, and making it so all those people of different backgrounds can accept majority rule, is really tough.  

It's also learned behavior, and even in democratic nations if sufficient stress exist, some people will fall back into tribalism. Criminal gangs are actually just types of tribes, as a rule, recognizing only themselves and finding value only within the tribe.  Overcoming this type of behavior is a matter of constant education for a democratic society, until it become so ingrained that people are taught it by the circumstances of them simply living within the society.

Holscher's Fifteenth Law of Behavior. The Hot People are the curse of the Cold People.

Some people have a temperature or metabolism or something that makes them feel hot all the time. These people absolutely believe the rest of the world feels the exact same thing.

In spite of complaints and reactions, the hot people will throw open windows in cold weather or turn on air conditioners when everyone else in the same locality is shivering.  If a compliant is lodged, they'll complain "people are hot in here!".  No, people aren't, just the Hot Person is, but as that's how they perceive the world, everyone in the world must feel that same way.

Date 10th, 11th, and 12th Laws added:  June 13, 2014.  Thirteenth added July 7, 2014. Fourteenth November 26, 2014.  Fifteenth added on August 23, 2015.

*The full quote is:
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
 ** Roman proverb.  "War is sweet to those who have not experienced it".

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