Sortes Antoniae

"All human beings tell their life-stories to themselves, selecting and reinforcing certain memories, casting others into oblivion.  All human beings are interested in causation.  'Because I had a good Latin teacher, who caught my mind with incantatory grammar, I became a theologian, and because I chose Latin, I put aside the sciences of earth, flesh, and space.'  All human beings are interested in pure coincidence, which can act in life as surely as causation, and appear to resemble that, as though both were equally the effects of a divine putting-on.  Most of us know the flutter of the heart which comes when, out of a whole library, we put a random hand on the one necessary book, and--unerringly we should say, but what does that mean?--open it, at the one necessary page.  In the Arabian Nights, it has been said, a man has his Destiny written on his forehead, and his character, his nature, is that Destiny and nothing else."

--A.S. Byatt, A Whistling Woman (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002), p. 111.


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