From The Jolly Contrarian
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Lecter: First principles, Clarice. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing ask: what is it in itself? What is its nature? What does he do, this man you seek?
Clarice Starling: He kills women...
Lecter: No! That is incidental. What is the first and principal thing he does? What needs does he serve by killing?
Starling: Anger ... social acceptance .... and ... sexual frustrations, sir...
Lecter: No! He covets. That is his nature. And how do we begin to covet, Clarice? Do we seek out things to covet?
Lecter: First principles, Clarice. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius. “Of each particular thing ask: what is it in itself? What is its nature?” What does she need, this legal eagle of yours?
Clarice: To innovate!
Lecter: No! That is incidental. What is the first and principal thing a legal eagle does? What needs does she serve by “innovating”?
Clarice: Er ... chatbots? ... document assembly? ... legal reference data? ... MIS... Sir —
Lecter: No! She covers! That is her nature.
Clarice: Covers? Covers what?
Lecter: Arse, Clarice. Arse!
Clarice: Oh, right.
Lecter: And how do we cover arse, Clarice? Do we seek out arse to cover? Make an effort to answer now.
Clarice: No. We just...
Lecter: We begin by covering the arse we see every day. Our own arse, Clarice. Don’t you see people dissembling daily, to explain why whatever just happened wasn’t their fault? And don’t you make excuses to avoid responsibility for the things you didn’t pay attention to?
Clarice: Just tell me how —
Lecter: No. It is your turn to tell me, Clarice.