Day 2420, Lame Deer.

Daily picture

John Fire Lame Deer

“All Creatures exist for a purpose. Even an ant knows what that purpose is–not with its brain, but somehow it knows. Only human beings have come to a point where they no longer know why they exist.”

“Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men, we didn’t have any kind of prison. Because of this, we didn’t have any delinquents. Without a prison, there can’t be no delinquents. We had no locks nor keys therefore among us there were no thieves. When someone was so poor that he couldn’t afford a horse, a tent or a blanket, he would, in that case, receive it all as a gift. We were too uncivilized to give great importance to private property. We didn’t know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being was not determined by his wealth. We had no written laws laid down, no lawyers, no politicians, therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another. We were really in bad shape before the white man arrived and I don’t know how to explain how we were able to manage without these fundamental things that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society.”

“Sickness, jail, poverty, getting drunk—I had to experience all that myself. Sinning makes the world go round. You can’t be so stuck up, so inhuman that you want to be pure, your soul wrapped up in a plastic bag, all the time. You have to be God and the devil, both of them. Being a good medicine man means being right in the midst of the turmoil, not shielding yourself from it. It means experiencing life in all its phases. It means not being afraid of cutting up and playing the fool now and then. That’s sacred too.”

Day 2414, translation.

Daily picture, My thoughts

I attended a lecture about how we, as humans and groups, make choices. Part of the discussion afterward was about the different ways we make decisions.

Because I didn’t want to spend too much time on my post, I looked for a fitting quote by my favorite philosopher. The funny thing is that I found two versions of the quote that I wanted to use, and they translated the German word empfindungen into sensations and feelings. Feelings are sensations, but a sensation is not always a feeling… I don’t know if that makes sense.

For me, as a non-English speaker, they seemed to be slightly different. You can decide for yourself, but the quote’s meaning changes quite a bit for me, depending on what translation I use. I guess that the translators used their knowledge of what Nietzsche might mean because you can use both words to translate it according to the dictionary. It depends on the sentence which one you use. In the Dutch translation, they used the word ervaringen, which is usually translated to English as experiences, I guess that covers both the other translations.

I just wanted to share this experience of finding a quote about how we come to our thoughts and stumble on different thoughts about translating the text.

The quote is from:

The Gay Science by Friedrich Nietzsche

  1. Gedanken. − Gedanken sind die Schatten unserer Empfindungen, − immer dunkler, leerer, einfacher, als diese.

-Thoughts are the shadows of our sensations – always darker, emptier, simpler. Translated by Jesefine Nauckhoff, 1974

-Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings always darker, emptier and simpler. Translated by Walter Kaufman, 2001

 

Day 2413, all in a days work.

Daily picture, My thoughts

Today I was working on the door in the local library. It’s an old door, and my poetic mind liked the idea of me restoring the entrance to a lot of knowledge, being an amateur philosopher and all. In front of the library were some evangelicals selling god to people passing by; better get them before they learn something, you might say. While watching this scene of knowledge and ignorance, I was listening to a BBC documentary where an ex-prostitute talked about her life. At one point, she said that a young girl trafficked into prostitution is factually raped 20 (twenty) times in an evening… for several years… every evening… After realizing what I had just heard, I refrained from complaining about a tooth that hurts and from asking these lovely God-loving people why their boss agreed with these pimps or at least hands them all kinds of excuses and ways to ignore this kind of injustice. 

Ones home I did go into my library to find some comfort. To read something, from someone much wiser than me to comfort me. The downside of philosophy as a hobby is that all your playmates are long dead or unreachable; only through reading their books can you come close.

Bertrand Russell 

Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects

“That is the idea — that we should all be wicked if we did not hold to the Christian religion. It seems to me that the people who have held to it have been for the most part extremely wicked. You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs. In the so-called ages of faith, when men really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there was the Inquisition, with all its tortures; there were millions of unfortunate women burned as witches; and there was every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion.

Day 2410, on the stage.

Daily picture

Friedrich Nietzsche

Daybreak

Book III

177 Learning solitude. – 0 you poor devils in the great cities of world politics, you gifted young men tormented by ambition who consider it your duty to pass some comment on everything that happens- and there is always something happening! Who when they raise the dust in this way think they are the chariot of history! Who, because they are always on the alert, always on the lookout for the moment when they can put their word in, lose all genuine productivity! However much they may desire to do great work, the profound speechlessness of pregnancy never comes to them! The event of the day drives them before it like chaff, while they think they are driving the event – poor devils! – If one wants to represent a hero on the stage one must not think of making one of the chorus, indeed one must not even know how to make one of the chorus.

Day 2408, Strange.

Daily picture, The stranger

The stranger I work with questioned me after discovering that life, according to me, has no purpose. “So life has no meaning, you say. And you come to this conclusion through philosophy? So if you look for meaning in life, it is better not to do philosophy?”

I replied. “Well, I said that life has no purpose in the sense that there is no goal where we have to work to like a heaven or an endpoint in our evolution. In general, life also has no meaning, but it is easier to give your life or a period of your life a meaning. A good meaning for you might be razing a family, it’s something that comes naturally and doesn’t need much debating, but it is harder to find the purpose for raising a family. And indeed, philosophy has helped me reach this insight. It did not tell me literally what to think; it more or less made the thoughts I already had more explicit. Doing philosophy is like doing a sport or playing an instrument. The more you do it, the better you can get at it, even if you have little talent. Everybody can do philosophy in the way we can all play football or the piano, but if you practice it, you will get better at it.

The stranger asked, “so you think you understand life better than me because you read a couple of books?”

Me, “ I don’t know if I understand it better, and I think the most significant difference between you and me is that I can probably talk more elaborately about what I believe. Maybe you have a better gut feeling, but you said earlier that what you think hasn’t changed for years, and most of it comes from your upbringing. You have been standing still and haven’t played, so to say”

The stranger asked, “but what is wrong with that?”

To be continued…