"Back in the 1800s, the expression “pull oneself up by the bootstraps”
meant the opposite of what it does now. Then it was used mockingly to
describe an impossible act.
An 1834 publication ridiculed a claim to have built a perpetual-motion
machine by saying that the inventor might next heave himself over a
river “by the straps of his boots.” An 1840 citation scoffs that
something is “as gross an absurdity as he who attempts to raise himself
over a fence by the straps of his boots.”
Yet this phrase has become part of America’s mythology and the
centerpiece of our approach to help those left behind: We harangue them
to lift themselves up by the bootstraps. When Representative Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez this month dismissed bootstrapping at a congressional
hearing as “physically impossible,” outrage reverberated across the
conservative media world."
Via Jennifer Freeman.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics