Custom Constraints Nature
The most important affair in life is the choice of a calling; chance decides it. Custom makes men masons, soldiers, slaters. ï¿½He is a good slaterï¿½, says one, and, speaking of soldiers, remarks, ï¿½They are perfect foolsï¿½. But others affirm, ï¿½There is nothing great but war; the rest of men are good for nothingï¿½. We choose our callings according as we hear this or that praised or despised in our childhood, for we naturally love truth and hate folly. These words move us; the only error is in their application. So great is the force of custom that, out of those whom nature has only made men, are created all conditions of men. For some districts are full of masons, others of soldiers, etc. Certainly nature is not so uniform. It is custom then which does this, for it constrains nature. But sometimes nature gains the ascendancy and preserves man's instinct, in spite of all custom, good or bad.
Blaise Pascal, in 'Pensees'