When you walk through new streets
are the stones that carry you
there to bring you to where you want
or where you don’t want
- TWO SOURCES OF KINDNESS.—To treat all men with equal good humour, and to be kind without distinction of persons, may arise as much from a profound contempt for mankind as from an ingrained love of humanity
Friedrich Nietzsche, Human all too human, Miscellaneous Maxims And Opinions. Translated By Paul V. Cohn, B.A. New York The MacMillan Company 1913, Free license from Gutenberg.org
Today I was at one point wondering why I read all these books with little bits of old wisdom. When I read a short aphorism like the one, I chose for today I recognize something in it that I can see in my own experience and how I might look at life.
I have read this book before, maybe 15 years ago and I browse trough it every now and then but the recognition doesn’t come from that earlier reading, I think. The recognition’s come from a way of life I have formed over the years, it’s my walled garden.
When I first started looking for knowledge outside of my comfort zone, I had several experiences that changed something fundamental in my life. I sometimes learned new ways of looking at life that I afterwards couldn’t imagine ever have lived without. One of the things was the idea that your mind(set) has an influence over how you handle sickness and how you experience that sickness. The placebo effect is a well-known effect of that so called “mind over matter” principle. I don’t know when exactly I learned it but I do know that life was fine before I knew it and after I learned it, it was only a little bit better. But I changed how I looked at certain situations from then on but also situations from the past. My point is that life without that big revelation was fine, I could live my life till the end, I was comfortable with what I knew, just like millions of others are with what they know.
I had this experience several times when I was starting to broaden my horizon but that well dried up. Maybe I am no longer open for new knowledge or maybe I have put my big nose in most corners and sniffed everywhere. To test myself I keep on reading and hopefully learning because one of the miner revelations I had was the idea that it is really easy to believe that you know it all, like you always do before you learn something new.
This constant reading of snippets is also some kind of lubrication system like you have in those old engines where they drip some oil on a turning crack shaft every now and then.
another metaphor to support learning everyday a little bit is the stalactite, where a single drop of sweat each day eventually forms a mighty structure.