Balancing act, revisited
In general, our first impressions are true ones— the chief difficulty is in making sure they are the first. In early youth we read a poem, for instance, and are enraptured with it. At manhood we are assured by our reason that we had no reason to be enraptured. But some years elapse, and we return to our primitive admiration, just as matured judgment enables us to precisely see what and why we admired.
Thus, as individuals, we think in cycles, and may, from the frequency or infrequency of our revolutions about the various thoughts form an accurate estimate of the advance of our thought toward maturity. It is really wonderful to observe how closely, in all the essentials of truth, the child-opinion coincides with that of the man proper — of the man at his best.
Edgar Allan Poe
I really need to read more American lit. This reminds me of some things that I was thinking about regarding the predictable patterns of writing. It’s as if the thoughts go round and round, and assume forms which we become comfortable with. Perhaps it’s instinct at work, trying to show us where our real concerns are, what impulses are the valid ones, etc. But people get locked in bad cycles too, so the problem remains: how do you tell? Maybe it just takes time, watching the wheels go round and round.
I don’t think reason really helps much in that respect, but maybe it’s just me.