May 19, 2012

“Familiarity breeds contempt” – and acceptability, indifference, misery and “queer pastures”...


“Familiarity breeds contempt.”
       Aesop (c. 620-564 B.C.)
       The moral of
“The Fox and the Lion” story in Aesop’s Fables
       In traditional English translations of Aesop’s Fables, there’s a phrase at the end of each brief tale that summarizes “the moral of the story.” The origin of the proverbial saying “Familiarity breeds contempt” is widely credited to the traditional translation of Aesop’s fable “The Fox and the Lion,” which reads:
When first the Fox saw the Lion he was terribly frightened, and ran away and hid himself in the wood. Next time however he came near the King of Beasts he stopped at a safe distance and watched him pass by. The third time they came near one another the Fox went straight up to the Lion and passed the time of day with him, asking him how his family were, and when he should have the pleasure of seeing him again; then turning his tail, he parted from the Lion without much ceremony.
       “Familiarity Breeds Contempt”


“Familiarity may breed contempt in some areas of human behavior, but in the field of social ideas it is the touchstone of acceptability.”
John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006)
       American economist
In Chapter 2 of his pioneering book about social economics, The Affluent Society (1958)


“Familiarity breeds indifference. We have seen too much pure, bright color at Woolworth’s to find it intrinsically transporting. And here we may note that, by its amazing capacity to give us too much of the best things, modern technology has tended to devaluate the traditional vision-inducing materials.”
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)
       British author and social critic
       In his book length essay Heaven and Hell (1956), often published together with his earlier essays extolling the benefits of hallucinogenic drugs, The Doors of Perception (1954)


Melissa Hastings (actress Torrey DeVitto): “I was hoping you'd be happy for me.”
Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario):
“Well, you know what they say about hope: it breeds eternal misery.”
       Some repartee from
the pilot episode of the TV show Pretty Little Liars (2010)


“The undue familiarity usually existing between husband and wife is a feeder of psycho-sexual aberrations. Once the halo of sex mystery is dispelled, romance often fails completely... Familiarity breeds satiety. Satiety is the parent of sexual discontent. The satiated, discontented man often browses in queer pastures in search of new thrills for his exhausted psycho-sexual centers.”
George Frank Lydston (1858–1923)
       An American urologist who had some unusual theories (and issues)
       The quote above is from Lydston’s book
Impotence and Sterility: with Aberrations of the Sexual Function and Sex-Gland Implantation (1917). In addition to coming up with the odd theory that men who became too “familiar” with their wives would turn gay, Lydston experimented with the transplantation of testicular tissue from animals into humans, as a form of “androgen therapy” for older men. The donors included dogs, goats, monkeys and even guinea pigs. (Really. I’m not making this stuff up.)

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