Friday, 27 September 2013

Some Literary Tidbits

I couldn't help noticing similarities in patterns of thought, from the following literary segments my brain addled together: 
Perhaps they hold that the only wisdom is that of absurdity, and that accordingly, absurdity will grant you no wisdom at all, unless you deem the acceptance of every possibility a life lesson. 
I would like to suggest it is indeed just that, thus it is a shame it might take a lifetime to finally realise it; be it a life of many years, or one 'cut short'. But realisation will still occur at the end, when it is all too late to try to live one's life without all those useless principles.

“The future: A clever, reasonable boy, accustomed to trust his common sense, read in a book for children a description of a shipwreck which occurred just as the passengers were eating their sweets at dessert. He was astonished to learn that everyone, women and children as well, who could give no assistance whatever in saving the ship, left their dessert and rushed on deck with wailing and tears. Why wail, why rush about, why be stupidly agitated? The crew knew their business and would do all that could be done. If you are going to perish, perish you will, no matter how you scream. It seemed to the boy that if he had been on the ship he would just have gone on eating his sweets to the last moment. Justice should be done to this judicious and irreproachable opinion. There remained only a few minutes to live; would it not have been better to enjoy them? The logic is perfect, worthy of Aristotle. And it was found impossible to prove to the boy that he would have left his sweets, even his favourite sweets, under the same circumstances, and rushed and screamed with the rest. Hence a moral - do not decide about the future. Today common sense is uppermost, and sweets are your highest law. But tomorrow you will get rid of normality and sense, you will link on with nonsense and absurdity, and probably you will even get a taste for bitters.

What do you think?”

^Lev Shestov, All Things Are Possible Part II, Aphorism 38.

“That children do not know why they want things – on this all high and mightily learned schoolmasters and tutors agree; but that, like children, adults also stumble through the world and, like children do not know whence they come and whither they go, nor act to some true purpose any more than children do, and like them are ruled by cookies and cakes and birch rods – no one likes to think that, and yet to me it is palpable truth.
   I’m quite willing to admit – because I know what you’re likely to want to say to me here, that those people are happiest who, like children, live for the moment, wander about with their dolls, dressing and undressing them, and keep a sharp eye on the cupboard where Mama has locked up the pastries, and when they finally get what they want, stuff their mouths with them and cry: More! – Those are happy creatures. And those others, too, are happy who give grand names to their paltry passions and present them to the human race as gigantic accomplishments for its welfare and salvation. – Happy are they who can live this way! But those who in all humility realise the sum total, who see how neatly every contented citizen can shape his little garden into a paradise, and how tirelessly even the merest wretch, panting, makes his way beneath his burden, all of them equally determined to see the light of the sun one minute longer – yes, that man keeps still, and he creates his world out of himself, and he is happy as well because he is human. And then, confined as he is, he still always keeps in his heart the sweet sense of freedom, knowing that he can leave this prison whenever he chooses.”

^Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, The Sufferings of Young Werther  Book One, May 22.


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