Cervantes turned up today on the random page of Wednesday’s dictionary. The author of Don Quixote, the first, and some say, the greatest novel in the Western tradition, was an adventurer, soldier and prisoner-of-war, was admired by Shakespeare, his contemporary, and since then by Dostoevsky and many other intellectuals as one of the most perceptive observers of human nature ever. His noble-minded, but delusional Don Quixote and his credulous follower, Sancho Panza, remind one so much of today’s politicians and their manipulable electorates. Cervantes was the ultimate sceptic, both of what goes on in heaven and on earth, as today’s quotation reveals. Today, when the the most powerful nation on earth has elected the most culturally-restricted leader that it is possible to imagine, then we could do with a great deal more scepticism about the vaunted aims of those who seek to lead us and the democratic system which can allow such travesties to happen.
“Every man is as God made him, and often even worse.”
Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote de la Mancha (1615)