John CollierCharles Darwin, 1883 copy of 1881 original, Oil on canvas, National Portrait Gallery

For two hundred years we had sawed and sawed and sawed at the branch we were sitting on. And in the end, much more suddenly than anyone had foreseen, our efforts were rewarded, and down we came. But unfortunately there had been a little mistake. The thing at the bottom was not a bed of roses after all, it was a cesspool full of barbed wire.
—George Orwell, 1940

It’s possible that I shall make an ass of myself. But in that case one can...

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