Arthur SchopenhauerWhat a man is contributes much more to his happiness than what he has… What a man is in himself, what accompanies him when he is alone, what no one can give him or take away, is obviously more essential to him than everything he has in the way of possessions, or even what he may be in the eyes of the world.
Insomniac passing anhypnic nights in writing, translation, music, mathematics, programming and whatever else captures my attention or alleviates agrypnia.
This consists mostly of quotations of things that stand out to me or reflect what's on my mind; occasionally I also post original, often more personal, content as well, which may be found under the "personal" tag. Anything posted under "translations" is also original work and may broadly be taken as personal as well as I seldom tackle a work that does not speak to or for me in some way.
Lord Dunsany, from “The Lonely Idol” (Fifty-One Tales, 1915)
”[…] too soon there pass from us the sweets and song and the lion strength of youth: too soon do their cheeks fade, their hair grow grey and our beloved die; too brittle is beauty, too far off is fame and the years are gathered too soon; there are leaves, leaves falling, everywhere falling; there is autumn among men, autumn and reaping; failure there is, struggle, dying and weeping, and all that is beautiful hath not remained […].
“Even our memories are gathered too with the sound of the ancient voices, the pleasant ancient voices that come to our ears no more; the very gardens of our childhood fade, and there dims with the speed of the years even the mind’s own eye.
“O be not any more the friend of Time, for the silent hurry of his malevolent feet has trodden down what’s fairest; I almost hear the whimper of the years running behind him hound-like, and it takes so few to tear us.
“All that is beautiful he crushes down as a big man tramples daisies, all that is fairest. It is autumn with all the world, and the stars weep to see it.”
Lord Dunsany, Fifty-One Tales (1915), “A Mistaken Identity”
Fame as she walked at evening in a city saw the painted face of Notoriety flaunting beneath a gas-lamp, and many kneeled unto her in the dirt of the road.
“Who are you?” Fame said to her.
“I am Fame,” said Notoriety.
Then Fame stole softly away so that no one knew she had gone.
And Notoriety presently went forth and all her worshippers rose and followed after, and she led them, as was most meet, to her native Pit.
Arthur SchopenhauerMartyrdom is the only way a man can become famous without ability.
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, “A draft letter”.
Da saß ich an deinen Büchern, Eigensinniger, und versuchte sie zu meinen wie die andern, die dich nicht beisammen lassen und sich ihren Anteil genommen haben, befriedigt. Denn da begriff ich noch nicht den Ruhm, diesen öffentlichen Abbruch eines Werdenden, in dessen Bauplatz die Menge einbricht, ihm die Steine verschiebend.
Junger Mensch irgendwo, in dem etwas aufsteigt, was ihn erschauern macht, nütz es, daß dich keiner kennt. Und wenn sie dir widersprechen, die dich für nichts nehmen, und wenn sie dich ganz aufgeben, die, mit denen du umgehst, und wenn sie dich ausrotten wollen, um deiner lieben Gedanken willen, was ist diese deutliche Gefahr, die dich zusammenhält in dir, gegen die listige Feindschaft später des Ruhms, die dich unschädlich macht, indem sie dich ausstreut.
Bitte keinen, daß er von dir spräche, nicht einmal verächtlich. Und wenn die Zeit geht und du merkst, wie dein Name herumkommt unter den Leuten, nimm ihn nicht ernster als alles, was du in ihrem Munde findest. Denk: er ist schlecht geworden, und tu ihn ab. Nimm einen andern an, irgendeinen, damit Gott dich rufen kann in der Nacht. Und verbirg ihn vor allen.
There I sat at your books, obstinate man, and tried to understand them as the others do, who don’t leave you whole but are satisfied to take only this bit or that. It was because I didn’t yet understand fame, that public deconstruction of an unfinished building, onto whose construction site the mob intrudes, disrupting its progress.
Young person, anywhere, in whom something thrilling wells, be thankful no one knows you! If inconsequential people contradict you, if your acquaintances give you up completely, if they want to destroy you because of your dearest thoughts—what danger is there in this, which concentrates you in yourself, compared to the cunning enmity of fame, later, which makes you innocuous by scattering you all around?
Don’t ask anyone to speak about you, not even disparagingly. And if the time should come that you notice your name circulating among the people, don’t take it any more seriously than anything else you might find in their mouths. Think: it has become tainted, and dismiss it. Then take another, any other, by which God can call you in the night. And hide it from everyone.