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The Growing Heap

A little and a little, collected together, becomes a great deal; the heap in the barn consists of single grains, and drop and drop make the inundation. - Saadi

Lately I have been talking to all my friends about my new favourite podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin. I thoroughly enjoy the wise and practical advice that the sisters/authors Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft deliver with charming candidness and good humor. I have become a loyal listener from the very first episode in which Ms. Rubin elaborates on the “argument of the growing heap.” This was extremely interesting to me, being about one of the most important aspects of the discipline of violin playing and one about which I have been thinking about so much lately.

As described by a footnote found in Erasmus’s In Praise of Folly, the argument of the growing heap is:

If ten coins are not enough to make a man rich, what if you add one coin? What if you add another? Finally, you will have to say that no one can be rich unless one coin can make him so.