Samuel Butler (1835-1902) was an English author and satirist best known for writing novels like Erewhon and for completing prose translations of the Homeric epics that are still in use today. Although he was nearly ordained into the Anglican clergy early in life, Butler is remembered for his critical examinations of religious orthodoxy and admiration for the work of Charles Darwin. He is not to be confused with a different Samuel Butler who wrote poetry and satire in England 200 years prior.
“Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.”
One of the beautiful things about aphorisms such as this one is how they cleverly touch on the universal axioms of the human experience. No doubt we’ve all felt at times like we were just making things up as we went. Yet Butler’s words simmer with touch of hope. We may play poorly from time to time, but we’re destined to get better the more we learn.