Day 2458, yes.

Daily picture

Friedrich Nietzsche

The Gay Science
Book one

45 Epicurus. Yes, I am proud to experience Epicurus’ character in a way unlike perhaps anyone else and to enjoy, in everything I hear and read of him, the happiness of the afternoon of antiquity: I see his eye gaze at a wide whitish sea, across shoreline rocks bathed in the sun, as large and small creatures play in its light, secure and calm like the light and his eye itself. Only someone who is continually suffering could invent such happiness – the happiness of an eye before which the sea of existence has grown still and which now cannot get enough of seeing the surface and this colourful, tender, quivering skin of the sea: never before has voluptuousness been so modest.

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 2389, Lights and shadows.

Daily picture

Friedrich Nietzsche

The Gay Science

Book two

90 Lights and shadows. – Books and drafts mean different things to different thinkers: one has collected in a book the lights that he was able swiftly to steal and carry home from the rays of some insight that dawned on him; another is able to convey only the shadows, the after-images in grey and black, of that which built itself up in his soul the day before.

Day 2383, Loss of dignity.

Daily picture

Friedrich Nietzsche

The Gay Science

Book One

6 Loss of dignity. – Reflection has lost all its dignity of form: we have made a laughing-stock of the ceremony and solemn gestures of reflection, and couldn’t stand an old-style wise man. We think too fast, while on our way somewhere, while walking or in the midst of all sorts of business, even when thinking of the most serious things; we need little preparation, not even much silence: it is as if we carried around in our heads an unstoppable machine that keeps working even under the most unfavourable circumstances. Formerly, one could tell just by looking at a person that he wanted to think – it was probably a rare occurrence – . that he now wanted to become wiser and was preparing himself for a thought: one would set one’s face as for prayer and stop walking: yes. one stood still for hours on the street once the thought ‘arrived’ – on one or two legs. The dignity of the matter required it!

Day 2097, abandoned.

Day's pictures

Friedrich Nietzsche

The gay Science

Book Four: St. Januarius

331- Better deaf than deafened – Formerly one wanted to be talked about; that is no longer enough, since the market has grown too large – only a shout will do. As a result, even good voices shout themselves down, and the best goods are offered by hoarse voices; without the vendors’ cry and hoarseness there is no longer any genius. That is, to be sure, a bad epoch for a thinker; he must learn how to find his own quietude even between two noises, and pretend he is deaf until he really is. As long as he has not learned this, he runs the risk of going to pieces from impatience and headaches.

Day 2064, Eternal return

Day's pictures

One of Nietzsche’s core concepts is the thought that you should live in such a way that the life you live can be repeated over and over again without change. You could do this by accepting life as it is and also start making decisions with this idea in mind. In his work, Nietzsche tries to show you  life as it is, including all the “tricks” we use to sugarcoat reality, like hope in an afterlife or a purpose here on earth. Most of these hopes and purposes are sold by religions and political systems; they try to give their visions, and they often compete with each other in violent ways; it is bad for the world and all of us individually. The eternal return is a thought experiment that can help you when you want to find out how much you can live without reason and purpose but just for the beauty and miracle of it.

This quote is one of the first times Nietzsche speaks about this concept; you can read more on Wikipedia and in many other places in Nietzsche’s writings.

Day 1921, the world is.

Daily picture, Poetry

Like a dimmed lighthouse

I’ll hide

~

till the world turns away

and sees it’s reflection

drifting

nearby

 

The gay science, 346 Our question mark. – But you do not understand this? lndeed, people will have trouble understanding us. We are searching for words, perhaps also for ears. Who are we anyway? lf we simply called ourselves godless (to use an old expression), or unbelievers, or even immoralists, we would not think that these words came near to describing us: we are all three of them, at too advanced a stage for anyone to comprehend – for you to comprehend, my curious gentlemen -how it feels. No! No longer with the bitterness and passion of the one who has