A lobster bathing at the offices of Le Havre’s fishing port.
July 3, 2021
pont Docteur Paul Denis,
Le Havre, France
“The more unlived your life, the greater your death anxiety. The more you fail to experience your life fully, the more you will fear death.” — Irvin D. Yalom, Staring At The Sun
“If hard work is the key to success, I’d rather pick the lock.” — Henny Youngman, Henny Youngman’s Bar Jokes, Bar Bets and Bar Tricks
Poor reader. My mind wanders onto the screen again. Once more round the roundabout. Because it’s fun. Madness too.
You might be surprised by the passive apology (I am flattering myself in assuming you have been paying attention and remember some of my previous blatherings). Let me explain, I ran into a Nietzsche quote.
Nietzsche comes with bagage. The sexiness of his aphorisms versus a philosophy I think I disagree with, a strange life and a legacy polluted by his sister.
ich war noch nie bescheiden genug, weniger von mir zu verlangen.
I have never been humble (modest) enough to ask less of myself.
The quote seems to capture my mood, but not literally, and so I look at the two translations of the word Bescheiden for a clue. It is translated as “humble” in one version I look up and as “modest” in an other. I don’t know very much German but it doesn’t stop me from assigning it a gestalt of modesty from humility. It doesn’t explain the resonance.
I play with the meaning and end up using “modest” as the translation and I come up with a lack of modesty about my potential; I could ask anything of myself. Puzzle solved.
To continue with the attic cleanup:
Among my favourite songs, my relationship to two that celebrate milestones feels significant.
There is Jefferson Airplane‘s Lather, an ode to turning thirty and staying young that I have mentioned before (but who remembers these things? regardless the pedant in me requires me to mention its previous mention). Thirty was generational divide for that generation, then. You went over the hill, dropped out of dropping out. It started out as a promise to myself, then an affirmation. I still think it’s a nice thing to do to lie about nude in the sand.
Then there is Prince‘s 1999. It had a long buildup, 17 years to anticipate a mega party. The debauchery never happened but 2021 has the promise of a 1999 party. Then again, a lot of 1999 was spent avoiding the millennium bug.
Here’s an unkind thought: A conspiracy theory mindset probably used to be an evolutionary advantage when good information was less available. Today it’s a disadvantage.
Am I living my version of William Stoner and his undistinguished career? I have potential.
I’ve done these types of posts before. They don’t appear to be very successful. I enjoy them.
“You’re on earth, there’s no cure for that!” — Samuel Beckett, Endgame
“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” — Mason Cooley, City Aphorisms, Sixth Selection (1989)