June 30. Delving in old aphorisms.

“This is America, you are supposed to be in charge of your brain.”
-“What do you mean?”
“I mean guns are allowed in this country but drugs is not that’s what I mean.”
-“I don’t get it?”
“You are allowed to carry the means to hurt somebody, but you are not allowed to experiment with possible causes.”
-“So?”
“In the Netherlands it’s the other way around.”
-“People are not in charge of their brains in the Netherlands then?”
The shops at the Namdaemun market are amazing just like I remember. Walking around in the crowd, asking what do things cost, tasting ttok (ricecake normally eaten during celebrations) and just be not too serious. That also contrasts nice to my next task: the russian embassy. I ask them and I will have to get an invitation first. I will do this the next days. It will be sent to me by email and I will be able to issue the visa soon. Yes, the writer of this blog can look into the future sometimes, but the person he describes can never do this. So he is worrying if he will be able to get into Russia, but those worries are not too bad.
After all, he doesn’t need to think about the future; he can ponder his past. What kind of past is that? He used to write mediocre things and be too fond of it. Laughing about them now gets him a lot of vitality points.
“Lass uns hübsch bewegen
Zwischen Unbefangenheit und Eingefangensein
Lass uns stets auf uns’ren Wegen
Der Weisheit Schein
Die letzte Herrin sein”
Let us move prettily
between being unrestrained and being locked in
Let us always on our paths
The appearance of wisdom
Be our ultimate guidance
“Die ‘große’ Empfindung. – Unter uns gesagt, Romantiker, wer empfindet heute noch groß? Wer empfindet sein ganzes Leben auf einmal? Wer empfindet mit seiner Bedürfnissen unmittelbar ein Jenseits dieser Bedürfnissen – ohne letzteres zu sichern in einer ‘anderen Welt’? Wir müssen lernen so zu empfinden!”
The ‘grand’ sentiment. – Between us, romanticists, who does still feel grand nowadays? Who perceives of his own life at ones? Who perceives together with his needs what lies beyond those needs – without saving the latter in a ‘different world’? We must learn to feel like this!”
“Nihilismus ist Weltversagung. Aber keine Wertversagung. Der Nihilismus bleibt sich selbst höchster Wert. Wert-Absage in Bezug auf ‘das Leben’ heißt Wert-Zusage in Bezug auf eine bestimmte Form des Lebens, nämlich den Nihilismus. Dieses wertende Geschehen ist das Fundamentale.”
Nihilism is denying the world. But not denying values. Nihilism remains its own highest value. Denying values related to ‘life’ means saying yes to values related to a certain form of life, namely nihilism. This valuing is the most fundamental thing.
“In dem dicken Mantel der Schuld wird es einem leicht zu heiß.”
In the thick overcoat of guilt it gets too hot easily.
“Ein guter Witz kämpft bis zuletzt mit seinem ganzen Wesen um seinen Ernst.”
A good joke fights until the very end and with all it’s got for its sincerity.
“Das ist Deutsch —Geil werden von den selbst aufgestellten Regeln, und sich dann dafür schämen.”
That is German – to get horny from rules you formulated yourself, and then to be ashamed of it.
“Was lehrt dich deine Angst? – Du sollst schneller gehen als die Schatten, die sie von dir machen.”
What does your fear teach you? – You should go faster than the shadows they make of you.
“Homo ludens. – der Mensch ist das einzige Tier das seinen Ernst spielen kann. Gewiß, andere Tieren spielen auch, aber sie spielen ohne Unterschied zwischen Ernst und Spiel. Der Mensch hat einen Überschuß am Ernst, den er im Spiel loswerden muss.”
Homo ludens. – Man is the only animal that can play its own sincerity. Sure, other animals also play, but they play without the distinction between seriousness and play. Man has a surplus of sincerity, and he has to get rid of it in play.
“Wer all seine Aufmerksamkeit darauf richtet, bei dem Argumentieren zwischen dem Scylla und dem Charibdis der Gegenargumente zu segeln, vergisst oft, wo der Wind am günstigsten ist.”
Who focusses in an argument to sail between the Scylla and Charibdis of counterarguments, will often forget where the wind is advantageous.
“Ein Gefäß sind wir mit Emotionen, abgeriegelt mit sprachlichen Gewohnheiten.”
We are a fust of emotions, bolted with language habits.
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Published by

Kamiel Choi

Dutch philosopher and poet, sometimes sharing thoughts on the internet.

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