We have been informed that PETA wants to forestall incest by castrating Knut. Their notion recalls Saul Alinsky’s ninth rule: the threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself. David Affeld relates that it was anticipated in a more elegant form by the great chess theoretician Aron Nimzowitsch: eine Drohung ist stärker als eine Ausführung, the threat is stronger than the execution. Now, Knut is a little slow on the uptake, so he might not be alarmed by the threat of orchidectomy betokened by the approach of a PETA specialist brandishing rusty shears. But we may safely presume that Knut is as attached to his nuts sentimentally, as he is physiologically, and his attachments will define the wannabe surgeon’s prospects of success and survival. Whence comes our ursine amendment to Nimzovitch and Alinsky: before threatening a bear, make sure that you are willing and able to execute.
An update extracted from correspondence:
Ever since we began our amicable conversations, you have postulated violent death as the sanction for declining your prescriptions. Without meaning to impugn your authority, I wish to stress my survival over the ensuing quarter century, with its last decade consumed by holding a tiger by the tail. Let us both take to heart the lesson of Sir Isaac Newton and Benedict Spinoza, as related by Chief Dan George, by endeavoring to persevere for another such stretch.
Michael Zeleny@post.harvard.edu — http://larvatus.livejournal.com/ — 7576 Willow Glen Road, Los Angeles, CA 90046 — 323.363.1860
All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. — Samuel Beckett