Literature

Collection of pieces about literature.

My favorite page of Nietzsche – Flies in the Marketplace

If you read any Nietzsche, this is the piece to read. 🙂 Definitely one of my favorites.

He was a genius and WAYYY ahead of his time.

 

Nietzsche the Thinker

The Flies in the Market-Place

Flee, my friend, into your solitude! I see you deafened with the noise of the great men, and stung all over with the stings of the little ones. Forest and rock know how to be silent with you. Be like the tree which you love, the broad-branched one — silently and attentively it overhangs the sea.

Where solitude ends, there begins the market-place; and where the market-place begins, there begins also the noise of the great actors, and the buzzing of the poison-flies. In the world even the best things are worthless without those who make a side-show of them: these showmen, the people call great men.

Little do the people understand what is great — that is to say, the creator. But they have a taste for all showmen and actors of great things. Around the creators of new values revolves the world: — invisibly it revolves. But around the actors revolve the people and the glory: such is the course of things. The actor has spirit, but little conscience of the spirit. He always believes in that with which he most strongly inspires belief — in himself!

Tomorrow he has a new belief, and the day after, one still newer. Like the people, he has quick perceptions and fickle moods. To defeat — that means for him: to prove. To drive to frenzy — that means for him: to convince. And blood is to him the best of all arguments. A truth which glides only into refined ears, he calls falsehood and nothing.

He believes only in gods that make a big noise in the world! Full of clattering fools is the market-place, — and the people glory in their great men! These are for them the masters of the hour. But the hour presses them; so they press you. And also from you they want Yes or No. Alas! would you set your chair between Pro and Con?

Do not be jealous of those unyielding and impatient men, you lover of truth! Never yet did truth cling to the arm of the unyielding. On account of those abrupt ones, return into your security: only in the market-place is one assailed by Yes? or No?

Slow is the experience of all deep fountains: long have they to wait until they know what has fallen into their depths. Far away from the market-place and from fame happens all that is great: far away from the market-place and from fame have always dwelt the creators of new values.

Flee, my friend, into your solitude: I see you stung all over by the poisonous flies. Flee to where a rough, strong breeze blows! Flee into your solitude! you have lived too closely to the small and the pitiful. Flee from their invisible vengeance! For you they have nothing but vengeance. No longer raise your arm against them! They are innumerable, and it is not your job to be a flyswatter.

Innumerable are the small and pitiful ones; and rain-drops and weeds have been the ruin of many a proud structure.You are not stone; but already have you become hollow from many drops. You will yet break and burst from the many drops.

I see you exhausted by poisonous flies; I see you bleeding and torn at a hundred spots; and your pride refuses even to be angry. They would have blood from you in all innocence; blood is what bloodless souls crave — and therefore they sting in all Innocence. But you, profound one, you suffer too profoundly even from small wounds; and before you have healed, the same poison-worm crawls over your hand.

You are too proud to kill these gluttons. But take care lest it be your fate to suffer all their poisonous injustice! They buzz around you also with their praise: obtrusiveness is their praise. They want to be close to your skin and your blood.

They flatter you, as one flatters a God or devil; they whimper before you, as before a God or devil; What does it come to! They are flatterers and whimperers, and nothing more. Often, also, do they show themselves to you as friendly ones. But that has always been the prudence of cowards. Yes! cowards are wise! They think much about you with their petty souls — you are always suspect to them! Whatever is much thought about is at last thought suspicious.

They punish you for all your virtues. They pardon you entirely — for your errors. Because you are gentle and of honest character, you say: “Guiltless are they for their small existence.” But their petty souls think: “Guilty is every great existence.” Even when you are gentle towards them, they still feel themselves despised by you; and they repay your beneficence with secret maleficence. Your silent pride is always counter to their taste; they rejoice if once you are humble enough to be vain. What we recognize in a man, we also irritate in him. Therefore be on your guard against the small ones!

In your presence they feel themselves small, and their baseness gleams and glows against you in invisible vengeance. You did not see how often they became silent when you approached them, and how their energy left them like the smoke of a waning fire? Yes, my friend, you are the bad conscience of your neighbors, for they are unworthy of you. Therefore they hate you, and would rather suck your blood. Your neighbors will always be poisonous flies; what is great in you — that itself must make them more poisonous, and always more fly-like. Flee, my friend, into your solitude — and there, where a rough strong breeze blows. It is not your job to be a flyswatter.

Thus spoke Zarathustra.

What do you think? what is your favorite Nietzsche (or other bit of philosophy)?

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Shooting an Elephant -Bits of Orwell.

This is one of the pieces that made Orwell famous. The full text can be seen at the bottom. What is your favorite short story?

 

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‘In Moulmein, in lower Burma, I was hated by large numbers of people – the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me. I was sub-divisional police officer of the town, and in an aimless, petty kind of way anti-European feeling was very bitter.’

‘The friction of the great beast’s foot had stripped the skin from his back as neatly as one skins a rabbit.’

‘As soon as I saw the elephant I knew with perfect certainty that I ought not to shoot him. It is a serious matter to shoot a working elephant – it is comparable to destroying a huge and costly piece of machinery – and obviously one ought not to do it if it can possibly be avoided. And at that distance, peacefully eating, the elephant looked no more dangerous than a cow. ‘

‘But at that moment I glanced round at the crowd that had followed me. It was an immense crowd, two thousand at the least and growing every minute. ‘… ‘They did not like me, but with the magical rifle in my hands I was momentarily worth watching. And suddenly I realized that I should have to shoot the elephant after all. The people expected it of me and I had got to do it; I could feel their two thousand wills pressing me forward, irresistibly. And it was at this moment, as I stood there with the rifle in my hands, that I first grasped the hollowness, the futility of the white man’s dominion in the East. Here was I, the white man with his gun, standing in front of the unarmed native crowd – seemingly the leading actor of the piece; but in reality I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind.’

Find full text here.

What do you think? Are we ever really in charge of our behaviors?

How does this relate to the way that Obama and the US is working right now? Especially when Orwell states, ‘I did not even know that the British Empire is dying, still less did I know that it is a great deal better than the younger empires that are going to supplant it.’ (America being one of these empires!). Read more about The Farce that is American Politics. Or you can read The Shortest Story ever Told (Hemingway), or Virginia Woolf’s last letter before filling her coat pockets with rocks and jumping into a river.

 

As always, come find us at Facebook.com/TheOmniOpinedPsycholar.

 

Letter from Birmingham jail

Ten minute reads that changed the world.

Photo: Part one of our new series, 30 great essays. -Ten minute reads that changed the world.Martin Luther King Jr's Letter from a Birmingham Jail is one of the best moral pieces from the last century. Here are a couple of the more important excerpts, full text at the link, don't forget about the ol' thumbs up to share with your friends! Thanks!"How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority."And one more:"One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law."http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html
Martin Luther King Jr’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail changed the world, bottom line.

It only takes about 10 minutes to read the entire thing, but here are a few of the more important excerpts:
“How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority.”

And one more:

“One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.”

http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html

Virginia Woolf’s suicide note.

Virginia Woolf, after unsuccessfully trying to drown herself, wrote this note a few days later and succeeded in escaping from a life of depression and mental illness by filling her pockets with rocks and jumping into the Ouse River.

Tuesday.

Dearest,

I feel certain that I am going mad again. I feel we can’t go through another of those terrible times. And I shan’t recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can’t concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don’t think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can’t fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can’t even write this properly. I can’t read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that — everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can’t go on spoiling your life any longer.

I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.

V.

More letters of note can be read here.