Paul Emile de Puydt on Panarchy

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From Panarchy by Paul Emile de Puydt

Preface

A contemporary has said: "If the truth were in my hands, I should be careful not to open them."

This is perhaps the saying of a savant, certainly that of an egotist.

Another has written: "The truths which one least likes to hear are those which most need to be pointed out."

Here then are two thinkers whose views differ widely. I would rather agree with the second, although in practice his outlook presents difficulties. Wise men of all nations teach me that "not all truths should be disclosed." But, how to know which ones to conceal? In any case, the Gospel says: "Hide not your light under a bushel." "

Thus I am now confronted with a dilemma: I have a new idea, at least so I believe, and I feel it my duty to expound it.

Although on the point of opening my hands, I hesitate; for what innovator has not been persecuted a little? The theory itself, once published, will make its way on its own merits, for I consider it autonomous. My concern is rather for the author. Will he be forgiven for having had a new idea?

There was once a man who saved Athens and Greece, who, in an argument following a discussion, said to some brutish person who was lifting a stick against him: "Strike - but listen!"

Antiquity abounds with such good examples. Thus, following Themistocles, I put forward my idea, saying to the public: "Read it to the end. You may stone me afterwards if you please."

However, I don't expect to be stoned. The brutish person I spoke of died in Sparta 24 centuries ago, and we can all see how far humanity has come in 2,400 years. In our times ideas may be freely expressed; and if occasionally an innovator is attacked, it is not as an innovator, like in former times, but as a supposed agitator or utopian. Reassured by these thoughts I proceed resolutely to the point.

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