Not only sands and gravels
Were once more on their travels,
But gulping muddy gallons
Great boulders off their balance
Bumped heads together dully
And started down the gully.
Whole capes caked off in slices.
I felt my standpoint shaken
In the universal crisis.
But with one step backward taken
I saved myself from going.
A world torn loose went by me.
Then the rain stopped and the blowing,
And the sun came out to dry me.
[Robert Frost, “One Step Backward Taken”]
Prudence, or reasoned caution, is a characteristic feature of this level of development. This is the passive side of obligation. Its essential motivating factor is humility, not fear, though fear of untoward consequences is a good reason for prudence. Prudence is important at every level of development but is more characteristic of this stage, perhaps because it is so necessary at the mere-competence level of development, a level at which rudimentary mistakes remain common.
The United States' response to the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, offers a cautionary tale about being cautious.
- Peter L. Bergen, The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict Between America and Al-Qaeda (Free Press, 2011).
- Thomas E. Ricks, The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 (Penguin Press, 2009).
- Thomas E. Ricks, Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq (Penguin Press, 2006).
- Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor, Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq (Pantheon Books, 2006).
- George Packer, The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005).
Profiles in caution:
- Steven Levingston, Kennedy and King: The President, the Pastor, and the Battle Over Civil Rights (Hachette Books, 2017). The politician and the civil rights activist found common ground, cautiously.
- Jeffrey Toobin, True Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Investigation of Donald Trump (Doubleday, 2020): “. . . why Trump came out basically unscathed, despite the fact that, as he writes, the president 'never really pretended to be anything other than what he was — a narcissistic scoundrel.' He rightly argues that the investigation was an utter political failure.”
- Titian, An Allegory of Time Governed by Prudence (ca. 1550-65)
- Peter Brueghel the Elder, Prudence (1559)
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
A German composer of the seventeenth century, Heinrich Schütz hewed close to musical traditions, and composed music suitable for church. In those two pervasive respects, this precursor of Bach could be called music’s patron saint of caution, or prudence. His genius was in applying those conservative ideas and attitudes to produce beautiful and creative works that bear prolonged listening.
- Musikalische Exequien
- Musikalische Exequien, Op. 7, SWV 279-81
- Davids Psalmen
- Historia der Auferstehung Jesu Christi, Op. 3, SWV 50
- Symphoniae Sacrae I, Op. 6
- Symphoniae Sacrae II, Op. 10: Part 1; Part 2.
- Symphoniae Sacrae III, Op. 12
- Geistliche-Chor music, Op. 11
- Cantiones sacrae quotuor vocum, SWV 53-93
- Anderer Theil kleiner geistlichen Concerten, Op. 9, SWV 306-337
- Matthäus Passion
- Johannes Passion, SWV 481
- Madrigalen Italien, SWV 1-18
- Magnificat, “Christmas Story”
Johann Pachelbel composed volumes of carefully constructed, deliberate keyboard works. Performers include Matthew Owens: Volume 1; Simone Stella (Volume 1; Volume 2; Volume 3); and Márton Borsányi (Volume 1; Volume 2).
- Das Kirchenjahr: Ostern bis Michaelis
- Psalmlieder I
- Psalmlieder II
- Psalmlieder III
- Katechismuslieder und andere I
- Katechismuslieder und andere II
- Hexachordum Apollinis
- Fugues on the Magnificat tertii tonii
- Ten Holt: Incantatie IV for Three Pianos (1990)
- Cage, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
- Weinberg, String Quartet No. 9, Op. 80 (1963)
- Raga Manu Bihag (Manu Vihag), a Hindustani classical raag for late evening (performances by Chaurasia, Amir Khan and Amonkar)
- Schmidt, Symphony No. 3 in A Major (1928)
- The Cookers, “Look Out!” (2021): “. . . the 7-track release comprises original, fresh pieces written by Cecil McBee, Billy Harper, and George Cables which channel the heady, aggressive post-bop era of the mid-60s.” The connection to caution is in the album title.
- Amina Cain, Indelicacy: A Novel (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2020): “An aspiring writer lands in the life she thinks she wants, one where she’s creating art instead of cleaning it. Eventually she has to consider what’s most important — time, inspiration or human connection?”
What did we say to each other
that now we are as the deer
who walk in single file
with heads high
with ears forward
with eyes watchful
with hooves always placed on firm ground
in whose limbs there is latent flight
[Navarre Scott Momaday, “A Simile”]
Music: songs and other short pieces
- Paul Simon, “Learn How to Fall”