The Gods of the Copybook Headings

I cam across a reference to one verse of this poem by Rudyard Kipling the other day when I was reading, and given the news at the moment of collapsing banks and general financial turmoil, I thought it appropriate!

The verse I encountered was:

“Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four—
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.”

Highly apt in these days when true value in the markets seems difficult to separate from what some over-paid analysts believe a company to be worth.

As is said in the text, a poem of a man wishing to find solace in a very old fashioned form of common sense, and whilst I don’t 100% agree with his view, I can see where Kipling was coming from here.

I actually remember being taught to write long hand with a fountain pen in the 1960s, but our copybooks were lacking the aphorisms that Kipling alludes to. 

I was also reminded of the words of Richard Feynman after the Challenger Disaster Enquiry – “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”  Nature cannot be fooled.  And neither can the basics of life.

Perhaps we need some copybooks re-printing and issuing to the bankers and stockmarket traders and analysts?