To what a great extent men are ruled by pure hazard, and how little
reason itself enters into the question, is sufficiently shown by
observing how few people have any real capacity for their professions
and callings, and how many square pegs there are in round holes: happy
and well chosen instances are quite exceptional, like happy marriages,
and even these latter are not brought about by reason. A man chooses his
calling before he is fitted to exercise his faculty of choice. He does
not know the number of different callings and professions that exist; he
does not know himself; and then he wastes his years of activity in this
calling, applies all his mind to it, and becomes experienced and
practical. When, afterwards, his understanding has become fully
developed, it is generally too late to start something new; for wisdom
on earth has almost always had something of the weakness of old age and
lack of vigour about it.
For the most part the task is to make good, and to set to rights as well
as possible, that which was bungled in the beginning. Many will come to
recognise that the latter part of their life shows a purpose or design
which has sprung from a primary discord: it is hard to live through it.
Towards the end of his life, however, the average man has become
accustomed to it--then he may make a mistake in regard to the life he
has lived, and praise his own stupidity: _bene navigavi cum naufragium
feci_ . he may even compose a song of thanksgiving to "Providence."
- -- Friedrich Nietzsche