Seventh Heaven

Something wonderful happened to me. I was transported into the seventh heaven. All the gods sat there in assembly. By special grace I was accorded the favour of a wish. ‘Will you,’ said Mercury, ‘have youth, or beauty, or power, or a long life, or the prettiest girl, or any other of the many splendours we have in our chest of knick-knacks? So choose, but just one thing.’ For a moment I was at a loss. Then I addressed myself to the gods as follows: ‘Esteemed contemporaries, I choose one thing: always to have the laughter on my side.’ Not a single word did one god offer in answer; on the contrary they all began to laugh. From this I concluded that my prayer was fulfilled and that the gods knew how to express themselves with taste, for it would hardly have been fitting gravely to answer, ‘It has been granted you.’

Soren Kierkegaard, Either/Or (Diapsalmata)

Share

The Fools

All the wise of every age are in agreement: it is foolish to wait for the fools to be cured of their folly! The proper thing to do is to make fools of the fools!

Goethe, Kophtisches Lied (Lines 3-7)

Share

The Slow Arrow of Beauty

§149

The slow arrow of beauty. – The noblest kind of beauty is not that which suddenly transports us, which makes a violent and intoxicating assault upon us (such beauty can easily excite disgust), but that which slowly infiltrates us, which we bear away with us almost without noticing and encounter again in dreams, but which finally, after having for long lain modestly in our heart, takes total possession of us, filling our eyes with tears and our heart with longing. – What is it we long for at the sight of beauty? To be beautiful ourself: we imagine we would be very happy if we were beautiful. – But that is an error.

Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human

Share

Eternity

It has been found again! What? Eternity. It is the sea mingled with the sun.
My immortal soul, keep your vow despite the lonely night and the day on fire.
Thus you detach yourself from human approval, from common impulses! You fly off as you may…

-No hope, never; and no orietur. Knowledge and fortitude, torture is certain.
No more tomorrow, satiny embers, your own heart is the [only] duty.
It has been found again! – What? – Eternity. It is the sea mingled with the sun.

Rimbaud – Faim

Share

The 19th Century

Has an age ever seemed more remote from its immediate successor than the nineteenth century seems to us? The characters of Dickens, for all their vividness, might just as well have been crafted on some distant planet. The prose of the period, read under the harsh light of contemporary expression, could have come from Cicero’s Rome. Or, again, consider Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar, signaling from his flagship, “England expects that every man will do his duty,” and repeating over and over, as he lay dying, “Thank God I have done my duty.” To the modern ear such words have an ancient ring and call up something deep in the recesses of history.

Prof. Daniel Robinson, Toward A Science of Human Nature

Share

Pangs of Conscience After Social Gatherings

Pangs of conscience after social gatherings. – Why after the usual sort of social gatherings do we suffer from pangs of conscience? Because we have taken important things lightly, because in discussing people we have spoken without complete loyalty or because we have kept silent when we should have spoken, because occasionally we have not leaped up and run off, in short because we have behaved in society as though we belonged to it.

Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human

Share

The Redeeming Man

But some time, in a stronger age than this mouldy, self-doubting present day, he will have to come to us, the redeeming man of great love and contempt, the creative spirit who is pushed out of any position ‘outside’ or ‘beyond’ by his surging strength again and again, whose solitude will be misunderstood by the people as though it were a flight from reality -: whereas it is just his way of being absorbed, buried and immersed in reality so that from it, when he emerges into the light again, he can return with the redemption of this reality: redeem it from the curse which its ideal has placed on it up till now. This man of the future will redeem us, not just from the ideal held up till now, but also from those things which had to arise from it, from the great nausea, the will to nothingness, from nihilism, that stroke of midday and of great decision that makes the will free again, which gives earth its purpose and man his hope again, this Antichrist and anti-nihilist, this conqueror of God and of nothingness – he must come one day . . .

– But what am I saying? Enough! Enough! At this point just one thing is proper, silence: otherwise I shall be misappropriating something that belongs to another, younger man, one ‘with more future’, one stronger than me – something to which Zarathustra alone is entitled, Zarathustra the Godless . . .

Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality

Share

He Could Not Forgive, Simply Because He – Forgot

To be unable to take his enemies, his misfortunes, and even his misdeeds seriously for long – that is the sign of strong, rounded natures with a superabundance of a power which is flexible, formative, healing and can make one forget (a good example from the modern world is Mirabeau, who had no recall of the insults and slights directed at him and who could not forgive, simply because he – forgot.) A man like this shakes from him, with one shrug, many worms which would have burrowed into another man; actual ‘love for your enemies’ is also possible here and here alone – assuming it is possible at all on earth.

Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality

Share

Miracles and Faith

It is not miracles that bring a realist to faith. A true realist, if he is not a believer, will always find in himself the strength and ability not to believe in miracles as well, and if a miracle stands before him as an irrefutable fact, he will sooner doubt his own senses than admit the fact. And even if he does admit it, he will admit it as a fact of nature that was previously unknown to him. In the realist, faith is not born from miracles, but miracles from faith. Once the realist comes to believe, then, precisely because of his realism, he must also allow for miracles. The Apostle Thomas declared that he would not believe until he saw, and when he saw, he said: “My Lord and my God!” Was it the miracle that made him believe? Most likely not, but he believed first and foremost because he wished to believe, and maybe already fully believed in his secret heart even as he was saying: “I will not believe until I see.”

Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Share