[Ads-l] Quote: It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it (was Re: Another that's new to me:)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Nov 24 23:26:25 EST 2017


Wilson Gray wrote:
> “It can be very hard to understand something, when
> misunderstanding it is essential to your paycheck.”
>
> But, only a single Google hit, this time.

Upton Sinclair made a similar remark when he was campaigning to become
Governor of California. I've been intending to write an entry for this
quotation for years. Fred has a 1949 citation in "The Yale Books of
Quotations" and Barry has a 1935 citation in a book by Sinclair. (Last
week I examined "Procrastination is the assassin of opportunity".)

[ref] 1934 December 11, San Francisco Chronicle, I, Candidate for
Governor and How I Got Licked by Upton Sinclair, Quote Page 16, Column
9, San Francisco, California. (GenealogyBank)[/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
I used to say to our audiences: "It is difficult to get a man to
understand something, when his salary depends upon his not
understanding it!"
[End excerpt]

Here is a thematically similar passage from C. E. M. Joad in 1922.

[ref] 1922, Common-Sense Theology by C. E. M. Joad, Chapter 3: The
Life Force in Education, Quote Page 131 and 132, T. Fisher Unwin,
London. (HahtiTrust Full View) link [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
Mr. Banks. Hear, hear! It's all a question of trusts and monopolies.
Doctors have a monopoly of medicine just as parsons have of God. You
can't get a parson to admit the arguments of an agnostic, because his
salary depends on his not letting the agnostic refute him; and you
can't get an ordinary doctor to look kindly on psychoanalysis or
autosuggestion because their success would make him superfluous. All
this is not a question of the Life Force at all; it is a question of
bread and butter.
[End excerpt]

Garson

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