“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.”
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
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
Most people are not even aware of their need to conform. They live under the illusion that they follow their own ideas and inclinations, that they are individualists, that they have arrived at their opinions as the result of their own thinking—and that it just happens that their ideas are the same as those of the majority.
6. THE JUGGLER AND HIS COUNTERPART.—That which is wonderful in science is contrary to that which is wonderful in the art of the juggler. For the latter would wish to make us believe that we see a very simple causality, where, in reality, an exceedingly complex causality is in operation.
Science, on the other hand, forces us to give up our belief in the simple causality exactly where everything looks so easily comprehensible and we are merely the victims of appearances. The simplest things are very “complicated”—we can never be sufficiently astonished at them !
I sometimes wonder why philosophy is so underrated. I write about Nietzsche almost every day on this blog, it takes a couple of minutes to read it and maybe share your opinion. I haven’t got any response yet on those post while other posts have. I have hardly any readers, so I don’t expect mush, but still, it is somewhat disappointing. And it’s not only me and the quality I deliver, other blogs, podcasts, youtubers and books about philosophy are all relatively small. The people that attract larger audiences write often about there own lives or about other people and sprinkle some of their own opinion on it. The people I ask why they don’t read more philosophy tell me that it is to heavy, boring or difficult or they are to tired after work and want to relax and don’t want to struggle with a book and a subject they are not really interested in. And I can understand all these reasons, I too work and want to wind down when I come home, but that’s why I read a little bit in a philosophy book everyday and don’t try to struggle through a chapter if I don’t have the time. Another problem is that philosophy is not easily relatable compared to personal stories and opinions for instance. Philosophy is like algebra, it is not easy to understand, and you get through live by just knowing what 1+1 is. Like algebra, philosophy is one of the cornerstones of our society, and I admit that I don’t know much about algebra and math, but I don’t discuss a mathematician, but than again, we all have an opinion about society. A society that is as complex as a mathematical formula, a formula that most of us don’t understand but somehow, we think we can comment on it. By reading a couple of introductory books about philosophy you would quickly learn that life is not build upon opinions, that there is such a thing as a search for truth. And if most people in this world would understand that a search for truth means that you don’t have it yet, we would be more in agreement with each other.
The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. Socrates
We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world. Buddha
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance. Confucius
The misfortune of the wise is better than the prosperity of the fool. Epicurus
There are horrible people who, instead of solving a problem, tangle it up and make it harder to solve for anyone who wants to deal with it. Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
“there are no eternal facts as there are no absolute truths.”
This is a famous quote by Nietzsche and I am tempted to give my opinion about it, but I don’t. The reason I don’t like to that is complicated, but I can give an example that might explain it. If someone ask me what I think of a piece of music from for instance Mozart, I can tell them if I like it or not, but I cannot be critical about the quality of the music because that would mean that I think that I am at the same level as a Mozart. Only if I studied classical music, composition and so on, I can begin to understand Mozart’s quality’s and I can start thinking about giving a critique.
The same goes for a quote from a famous philosopher. I cannot critic it because I don’t know how it is connected with the rest of the philosopher’s work. If I have an opinion about it, I must be honest and admit that that opinion is based on that of another philosophers work with a similar status than the one that I am commenting on. The same goes for agreeing to, do you really know what you are agreeing with?
An opinion is surrounded by pitfalls, watch your step.