THE ABSURD TIMES — STILL

The Absurd Times Parables Still True Internationally

Posted in Uncategorized by @honestcharlie on December 4, 2013

THE ABSURD TIMES

younger+art+schopenhauer.jpg

A few parables from Guttenburg, by Schopenhauer, that still hold.

> A FEW PARABLES.
>
>
> In a field of ripening corn I came to a place which had been trampled
> down by some ruthless foot; and as I glanced amongst the countless
> stalks, every one of them alike, standing there so erect and bearing
> the full weight of the ear, I saw a multitude of different flowers,
> red and blue and violet. How pretty they looked as they grew there so
> naturally with their little foliage! But, thought I, they are quite
> useless; they bear no fruit; they are mere weeds, suffered to remain
> only because there is no getting rid of them. And yet, but for these
> flowers, there would be nothing to charm the eye in that wilderness
> of stalks. They are emblematic of poetry and art, which, in civic
> life–so severe, but still useful and not without its fruit–play the
> same part as flowers in the corn.
>
> * * * * *
>
> There are some really beautifully landscapes in the world, but the
> human figures in them are poor, and you had not better look at them.
>
> * * * * *
>
> The fly should be used as the symbol of impertinence and audacity; for
> whilst all other animals shun man more than anything else, and run
> away even before he comes near them, the fly lights upon his very
> nose.
>
> * * * * *
>
> Two Chinamen traveling in Europe went to the theatre for the first
> time. One of them did nothing but study the machinery, and he
> succeeded in finding out how it was worked. The other tried to get at
> the meaning of the piece in spite of his ignorance of the language.
> Here you have the Astronomer and the Philosopher.
>
> * * * * *
>
> Wisdom which is only theoretical and never put into practice, is like
> a double rose; its color and perfume are delightful, but it withers
> away and leaves no seed.
>
> No rose without a thorn. Yes, but many a thorn without a rose.
>
> * * * * *
>
> A wide-spreading apple-tree stood in full bloom, and behind it a
> straight fir raised its dark and tapering head. _Look at the thousands
> of gay blossoms which cover me everywhere_, said the apple-tree; _what
> have you to show in comparison? Dark-green needles! That is true_,
> replied the fir, _but when winter comes, you will be bared of your
> glory; and I shall be as I am now_.
>
> * * * * *
>
> Once, as I was botanizing under an oak, I found amongst a number
> of other plants of similar height one that was dark in color, with
> tightly closed leaves and a stalk that was very straight and stiff.
> When I touched it, it said to me in firm tones: _Let me alone; I am
> not for your collection, like these plants to which Nature has given
> only a single year of life. I am a little oak_.
>
> So it is with a man whose influence is to last for hundreds of years.
> As a child, as a youth, often even as a full-grown man, nay, his whole
> life long, he goes about among his fellows, looking like them and
> seemingly as unimportant. But let him alone; he will not die. Time
> will come and bring those who know how to value him.
>
> * * * * *
>
> The man who goes up in a balloon does not feel as though he were
> ascending; he only sees the earth sinking deeper under him.
>
> There is a mystery which only those will understand who feel the truth
> of it.
>
> * * * * *
>
> Your estimation of a man’s size will be affected by the distance at
> which you stand from him, but in two entirely opposite ways according
> as it is his physical or his mental stature that you are considering.
> The one will seem smaller, the farther off you move; the other,
> greater.
>
> * * * * *
>
> Nature covers all her works with a varnish of beauty, like the tender
> bloom that is breathed, as it were, on the surface of a peach or a
> plum. Painters and poets lay themselves out to take off this varnish,
> to store it up, and give it us to be enjoyed at our leisure. We drink
> deep of this beauty long before we enter upon life itself; and when
> afterwards we come to see the works of Nature for ourselves, the
> varnish is gone: the artists have used it up and we have enjoyed it in
> advance. Thus it is that the world so often appears harsh and devoid
> of charm, nay, actually repulsive. It were better to leave us to
> discover the varnish for ourselves. This would mean that we should
> not enjoy it all at once and in large quantities; we should have no
> finished pictures, no perfect poems; but we should look at all things
> in that genial and pleasing light in which even now a child of Nature
> sometimes sees them–some one who has not anticipated his aesthetic
> pleasures by the help of art, or taken the charms of life too early.
>
> * * * * *
>
> The Cathedral in Mayence is so shut in by the houses that are built
> round about it, that there is no one spot from which you can see it
> as a whole. This is symbolic of everything great or beautiful in the
> world. It ought to exist for its own sake alone, but before very long
> it is misused to serve alien ends. People come from all directions
> wanting to find in it support and maintenance for themselves; they
> stand in the way and spoil its effect. To be sure, there is nothing
> surprising in this, for in a world of need and imperfection everything
> is seized upon which can be used to satisfy want. Nothing is exempt
> from this service, no, not even those very things which arise only
> when need and want are for a moment lost sight of–the beautiful and
> the true, sought for their own sakes.
>
> This is especially illustrated and corroborated in the case of
> institutions–whether great or small, wealthy or poor, founded, no
> matter in what century or in what land, to maintain and advance human
> knowledge, and generally to afford help to those intellectual efforts
> which ennoble the race. Wherever these institutions may be, it is not
> long before people sneak up to them under the pretence of wishing to
> further those special ends, while they are really led on by the desire
> to secure the emoluments which have been left for their furtherance,
> and thus to satisfy certain coarse and brutal instincts of their own.
> Thus it is that we come to have so many charlatans in every branch
> of knowledge. The charlatan takes very different shapes according
> to circumstances; but at bottom he is a man who cares nothing about
> knowledge for its own sake, and only strives to gain the semblance
> of it that he may use it for his own personal ends, which are always
> selfish and material.
>
> * * * * *
>
> Every hero is a Samson. The strong man succumbs to the intrigues of
> the weak and the many; and if in the end he loses all patience he
> crushes both them and himself. Or he is like Gulliver at Lilliput,
> overwhelmed by an enormous number of little men.
>
> * * * * *
>
> A mother gave her children Aesop’s fables to read, in the hope of
> educating and improving their minds; but they very soon brought the
> book back, and the eldest, wise beyond his years, delivered himself as
> follows: _This is no book for us; it’s much too childish and stupid.
> You can’t make us believe that foxes and wolves and ravens are able to
> talk; we’ve got beyond stories of that kind_!
>
> In these young hopefuls you have the enlightened Rationalists of the
> future.
>
> * * * * *
>
> A number of porcupines huddled together for warmth on a cold day in
> winter; but, as they began to prick one another with their quills,
> they were obliged to disperse. However the cold drove them together
> again, when just the same thing happened. At last, after many turns of
> huddling and dispersing, they discovered that they would be best off
> by remaining at a little distance from one another. In the same way
> the need of society drives the human porcupines together, only to be
> mutually repelled by the many prickly and disagreeable qualities of
> their nature. The moderate distance which they at last discover to be
> the only tolerable condition of intercourse, is the code of politeness
> and fine manners; and those who transgress it are roughly told–in
> the English phrase–_to keep their distance_. By this arrangement the
> mutual need of warmth is only very moderately satisfied; but then
> people do not get pricked. A man who has some heat in himself prefers
> to remain outside, where he will neither prick other people nor get
> pricked himself.
>


Posted By Blogger to The Absurd Times at 12/04/2013 04:35:00 PM

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