The Broken Fragments of Antique Legends and the Kaleidoscopic Present

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Since I am still enjoying a time of reflection following the submission of my retirement request from the Navy I am re-posting an article from about a year ago which I still think is relevant to today. 


Padre Steve+

I am trying to place what is going on in the Trump White House, the country, and the world in some frame of reference for some time now. There are many historical parallels to draw from and make analogies, but like all analogies they tend to break down at some point, none are perfect, but some tend to resonate more than others. Mark Twain wrote “History never repeats itself, but the Kaleidoscopic combinations of the pictured present often seem to be constructed out of the broken fragments of antique legends.” 

In the Trump world I see fragments of the worlds of Richard Nixon, of Kaiser Wilhelm II, King Leopold of Belgium, Adolf Hitler, and Pierre Laval; of of the Robber Barons, the owners of the Titanic, and other leaders going back to antiquity. I have written about some of those parallels, even recently; however the past few days of turmoil have caused me to step back a bit as I try to find the right manner in which to write about them.

Marcus Tillius Cicero wrote something that in the midst of the self-inflicted chaos of the Trump administration that we should try to heed right now. I wish that the President would stop for a brief moment to ponder before he does something incredibly rash that leads him and the nation to disaster. Cicero wrote: “To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?”

So I am reading and researching and trying to make sense of the madness that we are all witnesses to, and if we do not speak out complicit in.



Filed under History, life, philosophy

4 responses to “The Broken Fragments of Antique Legends and the Kaleidoscopic Present

  1. maryplumbago

    I hope you can make sense of it as I sure can’t.

  2. Lewis Goudy

    >Mark Twain wrote “History never repeats itself, but the Kaleidoscopic combinations of the pictured present often seem to be constructed out of the broken fragments of antique legends.”<

    (that is from Chapter 47 of "The Gilded Age: A Story of To-Day", as may be verified at )

    Compare ( ):

    To Dr. John Brown, in Edinburgh:


    Feby. 28, 1874.
    MY DEAR FRIEND,—We are all delighted with your commendations of the Gilded Age-and the more so because some of our newspapers have set forth the opinion that Warner really wrote the book and I only added my name to the title page in order to give it a larger sale. I wrote the first eleven chapters, every word and every line. I also wrote chapters 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 32, 33, 34, 36, 37, 21, 42, 43, 45, 51, 52. 53, 57, 59, 60, 61, 62, and portions of 35, 49 and 56. So I wrote 32 of the 63 chapters entirely and part of 3 others beside.

    If the words are those of Twain rather than his co-author Warner, why does the chapter in which they appear not report to the above list?

    • padresteve

      I guess I don’t have as much time on my hands as you to scour all of Twain’s letters. Regardless thank you for schooling me in the finer points of quote attribution even though it really has nothing to do with the point of the article. The quote is widely attributed to Twain, but since you have done this research I advise that yo place it on every much bigger and quotation website than my little blog. Isn’t that what scholars do? Or maybe you should write your own article to show that it is a false quote? It doesn’t matter to me and I’m thankful that you pointed it out. But it appears that you are a real estate agent in Florida who really didn’t care about the quote itself but tried to shame me. I don’t shame very well. I am sure I can find out more about you, except from the content of the article I am sure that you are a member of the Trump Cult. Begone.

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