The four kinds of men

“I divide my officers into four classes…The man who is clever and industrious is suited to high staff appointments; use can be made of the man who is stupid and lazy; the man who is clever and lazy is suited for the highest command, because he has the intellectual clarity to deal with all situations; but the man who is stupid and industrious is a danger and must be dismissed immediately, because he will only cause mischief.”

( 1878-1943 )

Colonel General Baron Kurt von Hammerstein- Equord, quoted by Robert Conquest in “The Great Terror” ( London, 1968 ) p.114 Von Hammerstein- Equord was a senior German general who was up to his eyeballs in anti- Nazi conspiracies. He died of cancer before the Gestapo caught up with him. The quotation given above comes in two forms. Ignorant though I am of German, I have slightly adjusted the version given by Conquest in the light of a second version I discovered.

Note: This turns out to be one of those “dodgy” quotations the origins of which are unclear. However in this instance it seems that the attribution given above is the most probable- but by no means certain. No one seems to know the context in which the remark was made.R. M.15/’6/’18

Visit Narnia!

We have been having magnificent weather here in Ireland. The sun has been shining and a gentle breeze has been blowing. It has been difficult to resist the imperious call of the garden- even to the neglect of other duties! But now the warm spell is ending. Clouds have appeared, and rain is forecast. Our luck, if it is luck, is coming to an end. The final hours of such a time always reminds my of a masterly passage in C. S. Lewis’ children’s story “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” 

“But this pleasant time did not last. There came an evening when Lucy, gazing idly astern at the long furrow or wake they were leaving behind them, saw a great rack of clouds building itself up in the west with amazing speed. Then there was a gap torn in it and a yellow sunset poured through the gap. All the waves behind them seemed to take on unusual shapes and the sea was a drab or yellowish colour like a dirty canvas. The air grew cold. The ship seemed to move uneasily as if she felt danger behind her. The sail would be flat and limp on minute and wildly full the next. While she was noting these things and wondering at a sinister change which had come over the very voice of the wind, Drinian cried “All hands on deck.” In a moment…”

Those who want to know what happens next should read on. And those who do not yet now the “Chronicles of Narnia” should begin to explore them starting with The Magicians Nephew.”– where they will find much enchantment and wisdom.

Note: See how Lewis says what he wants to say by only using simple words and short sentences.

Exam advice

Important exams are now going on in Ireland.

We have three bits of advice for those taking them: