An Extreme Tale.: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” — Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
When was the last time that sentence accurately described your life?
Awesome statement. Can anyone please tell the exact context in the novel where Dickens plants this paradox?
This reminds me of liar’s paradox: “The next statement is true. The previous statement is false.”
How can a statement be both true and not true? Not possible. But can a given period be both the best and the worst of all times!?
I think yes. That’s the beauty of getting over binary analysis. As of now I can only think of one such period. And that is when you are in love. You will experience a magical feeling. You feel that the present is the best of all times and da di da di da. But when things fall apart and when you look back you feel a little bit sick. Initially you feel the past was dreadful. As time passes by it meta-morphs into a healer. The bitterness will be gone. You will become saner and accept things as they were. I think till that time you will be in that conflicting zone.
PS: Thanks to Mr. Mark Aldrich for responding to my request and putting Dickens’ lines in context:
It is the opening sentence of “A Tale of Two Cities.” The two cities are Paris and London during the French Revolution.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only”