know this and dimly
aware that it may be worse
instead of better
For we lived then in a time of great expectations.
We believed in ourselves and in the future, and we welcomed all of the omens that were good.
We were not, to be sure, altogether half-witted.
It is good to know that the world is not exactly what it seems to be, but to know this is to be dimly aware that it may be worse instead of better.
These voices that spoke to us out of spring sunlight and the dawn of life could be lying, and a well-read person had to keep an ear open for confused echoes from the darkling plain.
However, bookish knowledge did not necessarily mean much.
We lived by our emotions rather than by our brains, and although we did not know where we were going we trusted the future.
We lived for it, confident that when it came it would rub out all of the mistakes of the past.
It was the one thing we really believed in.
From Waiting for the morning train : an American boyhood by Catton, Bruce, 1899-1978