Context is everything

I’ve often thought of how our perception of people, places, events and situations can be altered by a number of factors, which we can categorise as context. As an example, Napoleon was once asked to buy a steam ship, to which his reply was, as set out (in full) below: “There is but a step from the sublime to the ridiculous. Go, sir, gallop; ask me for anything but time.
You would make a ship sail against the winds and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck? I have no time for such nonsense.”

You might think that from this that Napoleon, for once, was somewhat behind the times. However, when you consider that generally only the excerpt shown below is used, it puts him in a different light: “Go, sir, gallop; ask me for anything but time.” In this case, Napoleon is seen as someone with a keen appreciation of the value of time and it puts a classic maxim still used today.

Can you think of times in your life when that’s happened to you?

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