Principles are eternal. They stem not from our resolution or lack of it, but from elsewhere where, in patient and infinite ranks, they simply wait to be called. They can be read in history. They arise as if of their own accord when in the face of danger natural courage comes into play and honor and defiance are born. Things such as courage and honor are the mortal equivalent of certain laws written throughout the universe. The rules of symmetry and proportion, the laws of physics, the perfection of mathematics, even the principle of uncertainty, are encouragement, entirely independent of the vagaries of human will, that not only natural law but our own best aspirations have a life of their own. They have lasted through far greater abuse than abuses them now. They can be neglected, but they cannot be lost. They can be thrown down, but they cannot be broken.
Each of them is a different expression of a single quality, from which each arises in its hour of need. Some come to the fore as others stay back, and then, with changing circumstance, those that have gone unnoticed rise to the occasion.
Rise to the occasion. The principle suggests itself from a phrase, and such principles suggest easily and flow generously. You can grab them out of the air, from phrases, from memories, from images.”
– Mark Helprin ; Statesmanship And Its Betrayal, April 1998