• Thus Spoke Zarathustra Summary Author: Friedrich Nietzsche

    The novel opens with Zarathustra descending from his cave in the mountains after ten years of solitude. He is brimming with wisdom and love, and wants to teach humanity about the overman. He arrives in the town of the Motley Cow, and announces that the overman must be the meaning of the earth. Mankind is just a bridge between animal and overman, and as such, must be overcome. The overman is someone who is free from all the prejudices and moralities of human society, and who creates his own values and purpose. The people on the whole seem not to understand Zarathustra, and not to be interested in the overman. The only exception is a tightrope walker who has fallen and who dies shortly thereafter. At the end of his first day among people, Zarathustra is saddened by his inability to move this "herd" of people in the marketplace. He resolves not to try to convert the multitudes, but rather to speak to those individuals who are interested in separating themselves from the herd.
    The bulk of the first three parts is made up of individual lessons and sermons delivered by Zarathustra. They cover most of the general themes of Nietzsche's mature philosophy, though often in highly symbolic and obscure form. He values struggle and hardship, since the road toward the overman is difficult and requires a great deal of sacrifice. The struggle toward the overman is often symbolically represented as climbing a mountain, and the light-hearted free spirit of the overman is often represented through laughter and dance.
    Zarathustra is harshly critical of all kinds of mass movements, and of the "rabble" in general. Christianity is based upon a hatred of the body and of this earth, and an attempt to deny them both by believing in the spirit and in an afterlife. Nationalism and mass politics are also means by which weary, weak, or sick bodies try to escape from themselves. Those who are strong enough, Zarathustra suggests, struggle. Those who are not strong give up and turn to religion, nationalism, democracy, or some other means of escape.
    The culmination of Zarathustra's preaching is the doctrine of the eternal recurrence, which claims that all events will repeat themselves again and again forevermore. Only the overman can embrace this doctrine, since only the overman has the strength of will to take responsibility for every moment in his life and to wish nothing more than for each moment to be repeated. Zarathustra has trouble facing the eternal recurrence, as he cannot bear the thought that the mediocrity of the rabble will be repeated through all eternity without improvement.
    In Part IV, Zarathustra assembles in his cave a number of men who approximate, but who do not quite attain the position of the overman. There, they enjoy a feast and a number of songs. The book ends with Zarathustra joyfully embracing the eternal recurrence, and the thought that "all joy wants deep, wants deep eternity."


  • The Wise Songird [a philosophical story]

    Once upon a time there was a golden songbird that lived in a beautiful garden. It spent all its days singing the loveliest songs to the honour of its maker and the delight of all the people who heard it.

    But the keeper of the garden, who was a foolish and greedy man, coveted the little songster, and one day he made a cunning net in which he snared it. The little bird begged the man to release him and promised to tell him three great secrets if only he would let him go. Now the gardener really was a very greedy man and rubbing his hands together, he eagerly released the bird.

    Then the songbird told him it’s three great secrets:
    Never believe all that you hear;
    Never regret what you have never lost, and never throw away that which you have in your keeping.

    The gardener was furious when he heard this and said he had known these so-called ‘secrets’ since he was a little child and shouted that the bird had tricked him. But the songbird quietly replied that if the man had really known these three secrets, or only the last of them, he would never have let him go.
    Then the bird added:

    “I have a most precious jewel weighing over three ounces hidden inside me and whoever possesses that marvellous stone will have every wish granted.”

    On hearing this, the keeper roared like a lion and cursed himself for setting the songster free. But the little bird only added fuel to his rage by explaining that since he weighed no more than half an ounce at most, as anyone with eyes could plainly see, how was it possible that a gem weighing more than three ounces could be hidden within it’s tiny body?
    At that the man tore his hair and lunged at the bird in a towering rage, but the little songbird flew to a nearby branch and added sweetly:
    “Since you never had the jewel in your hands you are already regretting what you never lost, and believing what I told you, you threw it away by setting me free.”

    Then the little songbird told the man to study well these three great secrets and so become as wise as the bird himself!

  • Sir Isaac Newton's Mathematical Problem Solved A German 16-year-old has become the first person to solve a mathematical problem posed by Sir Isaac Newton more than 300 years ago.

    Shouryya Ray worked out how to calculate exactly the path of a projectile under gravity and subject to air resistance, The (London) Sunday Times reported.

    The Indian-born teen said he solved the problem that had stumped mathematicians for centuries while working on a school project.

    Mr Ray won a research award for his efforts and has been labeled a genius by the German media, but he put it down to "curiosity and schoolboy naivety".

    "When it was explained to us that the problems had no solutions, I thought to myself, 'well, there's no harm in trying,'" he said.

    Mr Ray's family moved to Germany when he was 12 after his engineer father got a job at a technical college. He said his father instilled in him a "hunger for mathematics" and taught him calculus at the age of six.

    Mr Ray's father, Subhashis, said his son's mathematical prowess quickly outstripped his own considerable knowledge.

    "He never discussed his project with me before it was finished and the mathematics he used are far beyond my reach," he said.

    Despite not speaking a word of German when he arrived, Mr Ray will this week sit Germany's high school leaving exams, two years ahead of his peers.

    Newton posed the problem, relating to the movement of projectiles through the air, in the 17th century. Mathematicians had only been able to offer partial solutions until now.

    If that wasn't enough of an achievement, Mr Ray has also solved a second problem, dealing with the collision of a body with a wall, that was posed in the 19th century.

    Both problems Mr Ray resolved are from the field of dynamics and his solutions are expected to contribute to greater precision in areas such as ballistics.


  • The Best Of All Possible Worlds
    Peter De Rosa
    Illinois: Argus Communications, 1975

    The story of a kind and fair God who was determined to create a world completely free of pain and misery.

    First, let Me introduce Myself. My name is Horgath, and I come from the distant regions of the gods.

    I was roving around the universe when I chanced on your beautiful, tiny planet Earth. I could not help overhearing the loud protest rising up from time to time against your good and wise Creator for making a world so full of pain and misery.

    Your God has my sympathy. It seems to Me that any Creator in the world is bound to run into trouble sooner or later. But would you care to listen to the story of My own experience?

    Once upon an eternity - long before your world - I decided to make a world of my own. If I say so myself, I really am rather kind and fair, and I was in my kindest and fairest mood when I said to Myself, "I'm going to make the Best Of All Possible Worlds."

    I planned Happyland down to the very last detail. You see, I was set on making My creatures perfectly content.

    "Creatures." I like the sound of that. "My creatures," I went on, savoring the phrase, "will be so happy they will never doubt for one moment that I love and care for them."

    Out came my drawing board for preliminary 3-D sketches.

    First of all, there was the problem of My creatures' shape. I experimented with cubes, pyramids and countless other forms. But eventually I erased them all and settled for the sphere. "It's so beautiful and harmonious," I thought. "And besides, a sphere is very like Me: no beginning and no end."

    In next to no time I drew the first of my Roundfolk.

    "How beautiful!" I exclaimed, quiet overcome by its magnificence. And I proceeded in the first flush of creation to draw another.

    "Beautiful," I cried again, until I realized that there was My first major policy decision. "Are all my creatures to look alike?"

    I saw at once that any differences would ruin their perfect symmetry and, however slight, might lead to rivalry and misunderstanding.

    My head was in a whirl, I can tell you. Why risk envy, jealousy, greed, hatred, theft, fighting, and ultimately war? Far fairer to make all my creatures look exactly alike. Then they are sure to live in peace and harmony.

    I had contentedly whispered this to myself a hundred times before I saw the second major problem. “For how long shall I let my creatures live?”

    No problem really. I said to Myself.  “This is to be the Best of all Possible Worlds. Of course, My creatures have to live forever.”

    Then, I began to feel uneasy. Without the discipline of death, My creatures might become proud and think themselves gods like me.

    In the end, I decided it was best to let the Roundfolk to live forever. After all, if they live under the constant threat of flattering Me just to keep My good graces. They might even withhold their friendship from Me out of pique.

    Once I made up my mind that the Roundfolk would never die, I saw that certain consequences had to follow. Without death, there could be no need to replace them nor even any possibility of doing so. Once I had chosen the optimum number of Roundfolk to enjoy the Best of All Possible Worlds, I could not add or subtract.

    At first it struck me as curious that no death meant also no birth, but that was the unavoidable logic of it.

    If no death, then no pain either. What is pain but a signal that danger and death itself are just around the corner. Besides if my creatures suffered severe pain, the knowledge that they couldn’t die would really upset them.

    “Ah, certainly,” I thought, “the presence of pain in the Best of all Possible Worlds is a contradiction in terms. Also, some ungrateful wretch –forgetting that it was I who drew them out of nothing – would be bound to come along some evil day and suggest that either I’m not good or I don’t exist at all."
    To eliminate all possibility of pain from Happyland , I invented a special kind of material for the Roundfolk’s bodies. Since it had to be both flexible and durable, I called this material “eplastic”.  It would be as beautiful as porcelain and tougher than steel.

    The Roundfolk would never wear out, fell weak, or waste time on food and drink. Their energy would be inexhaustible.  No need for them to work because everything they required would be instantly available, No need for clothes, firstly because they had nothing to hide, secondly because in Happyland there would be no extremes of heat or cold. I admit I had also another reason for preferring My creatures to be without clothes: they would not be tempted to dress differently.

    In trying to be kind, I planned that My creatures in the Best of All Possible Worlds would be in no way uninformed. They would only have to stretch out an eplastic hand and press the eplastic button on top their heads. A built-in computer would immediately answer any question they cared to ask.

    I reasoned like this: "Learning is slow and laborious, and I don't want my creatures to run into any trouble. If some learn faster than others, they would end up as boasters and bullies. I really must be fair and be seen to be fair".

    Next, how would the Roundfolk move from place to place? I'd let them choose either to roll along their round eplastic feet or to hop enormous heights and distances - naturally without injuring themselves when they touched down. A special kind of gravity would eliminate wear and tear and allow the Roundfolk to roll up and down steep slopes at whatever speed they like. For this, they only had to press the computer button on their large central spheres.

    Next, I sketched Happyland itself: a huge, saucer-like surface with crystal mountains, forests thick and deep, gay green meadows, a tranquil sea surrounded by white sand shore, and over everything, a shining ball of fire. This sun would never rise or set but be always at the zenith - a gleeming, golden jewel set in a sky cloud-free and brilliantly blue. There would never be any rain, then, or darkness or disturbing shadows.

    I dispensed with sunset and night because the Roundfolk would never grow tired and need sleep. It would be silly. I thought, to make creatures who get ill with tiredness every day and have to recuperate for hours on the horizontal.

    To entertain them, I wanted to give the Roundfolk the two pursuits which come closest to the life of the gods, namely, music and golf.

    First,music. I sketch special Bliss Trees for Happyland. Each branch bore simultaneously blossom, foliage and fruit. Better still, each tree would produce music in quadrophony. The purple Zimzim tree would play like the strings of an orchestra and the green Zwoom tree like the harmonies of brass. The red Zwirl tree would give forth like the woodwinds, and the squat yellow Zwong tree would boom in its mighty hollow like a drum. Whenever the Roundfolk rolled within a few yards, the trees would respond with a marvelous symphonic sound.

    Regarding golf, I planned many identical courses of bewitching beauty:  fairways as perfect as the greens, and greens with the smoothness of billiard tables.  Each creature would possess one club and one ball, both indestructible. The Roundfolk had only to press the club into their right eplastic hand tap the ball for it to fly unerringly into the hole . Whether  the pin was 200 yards or 2000 from the tee, everything was so arrange that the creatures would always hole out in one.

    “On my golf course,” I thought, “there will be no bickering, no disappointments, and no cheating. They won’t even have to keep score – eighteen holes, eighteen strokes.” This was to be the Best of all Possible Worlds; and, tell me honestly, could anyone improve on that?

    My planning now complete, I uttered My magic formula, and five thousand friendly Roundfolks bounced delightedly into Happyland.

    I looked on unseen. In order to be fair, I remained invisible. I didn’t want them to catch a glimpse of My infinite superiority and feel envious. I was pleased to  see many of the Roundfolk pressing their brain-computer buttons and asking who had put them in this wonderful world. The programmed reply was:  “The great god Horgath.” The Roundfolk’s  cry of praise and thanks was music in My ears.

    I watched them wheeling effortlessly around Happyland. One of them passed close to the Bliss  Trees and set off an enchanting symphony. 

    All over the golf courses they whirled, each elatedly tapping a golf ball and following its soaring flight until it dropped and rolled infallibly into the hole.

    They amused themselves by turns with gold and music,  then frolicked in the waves and on the beaches; they bounced or rolled onto the peaks of the crystal mountains to gaze behind them  onto the gay green meadows or forward over the gentle swell of the Sea of Smiles.

    All the while, the golden sun beamed down from a cloudless sky.

    I listened intently to  the reaction of My creatures.    “To think”, said one who had pressed its brain-computer,    “To think that we will all live here forever and ever.”   Spontaneously the cry arose ,    “Three cheers for Horgath who is infinitely kind and fair.”     Five thousand voices roared in unison”     “Hurrah for Horgath! Hurrah for Horgath!   HURRAH FOR HORGATH!”

    I congratulated Myself on having made as my first attempt the  Best of All Possible Worlds.   From time to time,    I  glanced at Happyland to watch the Roundfolk enjoy a round of golf, a musical concert or a trip  up a tall mountain with a glorious view.   It seemed to Me in those moments that everything was not merely good but the very best.

    It is hard to say exactly when I first noticed signs of coolness creeping into Happyland. But no doubt about it, fewer prayers of thanks were being offered; the Roundfolk were not bouncing about with their earlier abandon; the golf courses were practically deserted now and the Bliss Trees often silent and still.

    Convinced that things could only go from best to best in such a perfect world, I zoomed in on Happyland to see what was going on.

    Surprise! A few Roundfolk were standing idly at the bottom of a mountain. I actually heard one of them muttering, “ I wish that infernal sun would leave us for a while “. Another nodded agreement, “This so-called changeless beauty is a terrible bore.”

    “A bore!” I exploded, but silently, so no creature heard. “How can they be bored when everything in Happyland is perfect.

    I moved to a fold course. There a group of Roundfolk were considering whether to play or not. One of them was complaining openly, “I fell kind of . . . lonely out there.”

    “ I know exactly what you mean,” rejoined another. “ Nothing seems worthwhile when there’s no one else to share your happiness.”

    I was so stunned that I quickly retired from the scene. The Roundfolk were actually scheming to improve The Best of All Possible Worlds. “How can they think,” I yelled to Myself, “that they know better than I what’s good for them?”

    I decided this once to try and pacify them. . On the high cliffs overlooking  the Sea of Smiles, I provided each of My creatures with a round house for occasional protection from the sun’s glare. Naturally, because I wanted to be fair, all the houses looked exactly alike: round walls, round roofs, and round windows with superb views of the mountains and the sea.

    Next, I gave each of the Roundfolk another creature for a companion: a Wipple. No need to add that all the Wipples too were round, made of eplastic and totally alike.

    At first, the Roundfolk were as excited as on the day I made them. They wheeled and hooped across the folg courses with all their old vigor, their clubs in one hand, the wipple’s too were round, made of eplastic and totally alike.

    At first, the Roundfolk were as excited as on the day I made them. They wheeled and hopped across the golf courses with all their old vigor, their clubs in one hand, the Wipple’s leash in the other. I heard them chatting amiably to their Wipples while the Wipples chuffled and chuffled in return.

    This burst of enthusiasm did not last. The Roundfolk soon stopped doing anything, preferring to stay at home and stare at the wall.

    Before things got completely out of hand, I made Myself visible to the Roundfolk. I wanted to have word with My irritating creatures.

    “Now,” I said, when all the Roundfolk, having recovered from their astonishment, had congregated on the cliff, “tell me, what’s the trouble?"
    Face to face with Me, their undoubtedly kind and fair-minded Benefactor, they were reluctant to reply.

    I went on, “Haven't I placed you in the Best of All Possible Worlds? Surely I have the right to know why you are so miserable.”

    Encouraged, I supposed by my gentle tone, one of them rolled forward to say , “Excuse me, Horgath, but we don’t  bounce up the mountains as we use to because it’s . . . unrewarding."

    Another added, “There’s no challenge in it. Who wants to do what everyone else can do without even trying?”

    A third rolled forward to speak, “I’ve given up golf, Horgath, though I like it a lot  at first.”

    “But not now?” I inquired.

    "Golf isn’t even a waste of time. After every round, there’s still an infinite stretch of unused time ahead. And why bother playing golf when you can’t help going around in eighteen strokes?”

    Another backed up this complaint. “ It costs far too much to do effortless things. It’s too monotonous. That’s why, in the end nothing gets done.”

    “I planned everything for your happiness, "I protested.

    "We know that,” several creatures hastily replied, "but we are finding perfection just a little boring. We were wondering if life could be made a bit more difficult so we might…”

    "Yes, yes?” I encouraged.

    "Enjoy ourselves."

    "What sort of thing do you have in mind?” For all my omniscience, I am willing to learn.

    The Roundfolk explained they would like a challenge in their mountaineering; variety in their music, even if they had to compose and perform it themselves; a whole bag of golf clubs for a host of shots; differences of mind and body so that, as individuals, they could love one another and be loved in return.

    "The music will not be as good," I pointed out.

    “No matter,” they responded, “it will be ours.”

    “You might take seventy or eighty strokes to get around quite a small course.”

    Again they cry: “No matter. The harder the better!. We’re prepared to rough the course up a little to make it more interesting.”

    “I’m beginning to suspect,” I admitted, “that I don’t understand you very well at all.”

    “It’s like this,” one creature said. “We fell you have done everything for us. We wonder if you made the world more for your own peace of mind than for our benefit.”

    “But look at your shape,” I said, it’s spherical, without beginning or end. Can’t you see I made you in My own image and likeness?”

    “Only outwardly, Horgath ,” one of them said. “We are more counterfeits than images because we, unlike you, are not allowed to create.”

    “But,” I said in My defense, “if I let you create, there will be lots of differences between you.”

    “We would prefer that.”

    I confess I was startled by the spontaneity of their response.
    “But I wanted to be perfectly fair, and that’s why I made you all alike.”

    A mutter of “boring, boring, boring ” went around the assembly.

    I continued hurriedly as if I hadn’t heard. “If I were to allow differences, don’t you see there would be endless squabbling?”

    “We’ll risk it,” all the Roundfolk cried.
    “But then there will be pain and evil.”
    “So be it, Horgath,” was their loud reply.
    “How can there be evil in the Best of All Possible Worlds?”

    “In our view, Horgath there has to be evil in such a world.
    Otherwise, how will it develop? How will we ever make our contributions? How can we show each other love when there is no possible risk of pain or loss?”

    Politely, I took my leave of Happyland to think over the Roundfolk’s complaints. Absolute fairness, I realized, has its disadvantages. It made all My creatures equal, but equally bored and lonely too. No one needed or helped anyone else. But isn’t this, I asked myself frustratedly, the price of perfection?”

    A huge gasp of wonder and excitement rose from Happyland. When I looked I saw all the Roundfolk gathered around a Wipple. 

    One of them had been rolling lazily up a mountain when the Wipple's head slipped out of its leash, and the Wipple tumbled into a ravine. The Wipple sustained a tiny dent in its central cylinder.

    This was a marvel to the  Roundfolk: here was a Wipple who, if only in a minute particular, was distinct from every other Wipple in a Happyland. Before long all of the Roundfolk were whizzing up and dropping their Wipples deliberately from the mountain tops, not to hurt them but simply to see what kind of interesting dents would result.

    I was horrified but a worse was to come. I noticed a couple of Roundfolk slyly picking up their houses and heading towards a remote valley. They were in revolt against My plan for their well being and were defiantly choosing a less favorable view simply to be different from the rest.

    I was distracted by a group from whom came the most revolutionary of suggestions, They invented death, death sudden and unprovided for. All agreed that such a spectacular finish would contribute a great deal of excitement to life. Every moment would be richer and more thrilling because of the sheer fragility of existence. Give them some risk in ascending mountains, they said, and they might start scaling them again. If only there were a possibility of falling so that their spherical bodies might crack or collapse and bring an end to consciousness, then something far more wonderful than fairness or “perfection” would come into the world: grandeur and heroism.

    To stop the nonsense, I put in another public appearance and called a meeting. Even the two who were carting off their houses to a distant valley came to it, through with obvious reluctance.

    I addressed them in these few word: "My beloved creatures, My aim in creating The Best of All Possible Worlds was to be perfectly fair and guarantee you happiness. However, even gods, it seems, must live and learn. Think over very carefully the "improvements" you want Me to make, I will give them My most serious consideration."

    After a surprisingly short time, the Roundfolk returned with an eplastic scroll on which they had inscribed the Creature's Bill of Rights. It consisted of four basic demands. 


    “The right to fail!” I gasped in astonishment.

    One of the Roundfolk rolled forward and said sympathetically,
    "There can be no success, Horgath, without the possibility of failure.  And that applies to You to."

    I had visions of The Best Of All Possible Worlds crumbling into eplastic dust, so I put My final plea: “For your trial to be genuine, there must be a limit to it. Otherwise, you would be bound to be successful in the end and that too..”

    “And that too would mean,” the Roundfolk continued, “that the success was not either.”

    “Look,” I said, “are you really not afraid of death?”

    “Of course we are afraid, Horgath,” they replied. “But without death, there is no worthwhile life, is there? And there are things far more frightening than death.”

    “Such as?”

    “Staleness, endless repetition , producing nothing, the sense of having no personal worth, a life    without a trace of hope."

    “Then,” I said sorrowing, “My world is not finished. I shall have to go on creating it and peopling it over and over again.”

    “Ah, Horgath,” the Roundfolk cried ecstatically,   “if only we could help you create the world and people it, how happy we would be. We would then fell our lives made a difference. We would feel that when we died we would be part of those who came after us, part of their joys and sorrow, their triumphs and their tragedies. In this way, we would live in Happyland forever after all.”

    “Promise Me,” I said,   “that you will be patient a little while longer,  I don’t want to rush My decision.”

    They solemnly promised, and I left Happyland , knowing that to the kind of self-reliant world they wanted I would never be able to return.

    I could tell the Roundfolk were confident I would not fail them a second time. And they were given some indications of what I had in store for them when they saw the golden sun start to move in the sky and sink slowly westward over the Sea of Smiles.

  • Part I Scene IV: The Study
    (Faust, Mephistopheles)


    A knock? Enter! Who’s plaguing me again?


    I am




    Three times you must say it, then.


    So! Enter!   


        Ah, now, you please me.
    I hope we’ll get along together:
    To drive away the gloomy weather,
    I’m dressed like young nobility,
    In a scarlet gold-trimmed coat,
    In a little silk-lined cloak,
    A cockerel feather in my hat,
    With a long, pointed sword,
    And I advise you, at that,
    To do as I do, in a word:
    So that, footloose, fancy free,
    You can experience Life, with me.


    This life of earth, its narrowness,
    Pains me, however I’m turned out,
    I’m too old to play about,
    Too young, still, to be passionless.
    What can the world bring me again?
    Abstain! You shall! You must! Abstain!
    That’s the eternal song
    That in our ears, forever, rings
    The one, that, our whole life long,
    Every hour, hoarsely, sings.
    I wake in terror with the dawn,
    I cry, the bitterest tears, to see
    Day grant no wish of mine, not one
    As it passes by on its journey.
    Even presentiments of joy
    Ebb, in wilful depreciation:
    A thousand grimaces life employs
    To hinder me in creation.
    Then when night descends I must
    Stretch out, worried, on my bed:
    What comes to me is never rest,
    But some wild dream instead.
    The God that lives inside my heart,
    Can rouse my innermost seeing:
    The one enthroned beyond my art,
    Can’t stir external being:
    And so existence is a burden: sated,
    Death’s desired, and Life is hated.


    Yet Death’s a guest who’s visit’s never wholly celebrated.


    Happy the man whom victory enhances,
    Whose brow the bloodstained laurel warms,
    Who, after the swift whirling dances,
    Finds himself in some girl’s arms!
    If only, in my joy, then, I’d sunk down
    Before that enrapturing Spirit power!


    Yet someone, from a certain brown
    Liquid, drank not a drop, at midnight hour.


    It seems that you delight in spying.


    I know a lot: and yet I’m not all-knowing.


    When sweet familiar tones drew me,
    Away from the tormenting crowd,
    Then my other childhood feelings
    Better times echoed, and allowed.
    So I curse whatever snares the soul,
    In its magical, enticing arms,
    Banishes it to this mournful hole,
    With dazzling, seductive charms!
    Cursed be those high Opinions first,
    With which the mind entraps itself!
    Then glittering Appearance curse,
    In which the senses lose themselves!
    Curse what deceives us in our dreaming,
    With thoughts of everlasting fame!
    Curse the flattery of ‘possessing’
    Wife and child, lands and name!
    Curse Mammon, when he drives us
    To bold acts to win our treasure:
    Or straightens out our pillows
    For us to idle at our leisure!
    Curse the sweet juice of the grape!
    Curse the highest favours Love lets fall!
    Cursed be Hope! Cursed be Faith,
    And cursed be Patience most of all!

    Choir of Spirits (Unseen)

    Sorrow! Sorrow!
    You’ve destroyed it,
    The beautiful world,
    With a powerful fist:
    It tumbles, it’s hurled
    To ruin! A demigod crushed it!
    We carry
    Fragments into the void,
    And sadly
    Lament the Beauty that’s gone.
    For all of Earth’s sons,
    Build it again,
    Build, in your heart!
    Life’s new start,
    Begin again,
    With senses washed clean,
    And sound, then,
    A newer art!


    They’re little, but fine,
    These attendants of mine.
    Precocious advice they give, listen,
    Regarding both action, and passion!
    Into the World outside,
    From Solitude, that’s dried
    Your sap and senses,
    They tempt us.
    Stop playing with grief,
    That feeds, a vulture, on your breast,
    The worst society, you’ll find, will prompt belief,   
    That you’re a Man among the rest.
    Not that I mean
    To shove you into the mass.
    Among ‘the greats’, I’m second-class:
    But if you, in my company,
    Your path through life would wend,
    I’ll willingly condescend
    To serve you, as we go.
    I’m your man, and so,
    If it suits you of course,
    I’m your slave: I’m yours!


    And what must I do in exchange?


    There’s lots of time: you’ve got the gist.


    No, no! The Devil is an egotist,
    Does nothing lightly, or in God’s name,
    To help another, so I insist,
    Speak your demands out loud,
    Such servants are risks, in a house.


    I’ll be your servant here, and I’ll
    Not stop or rest, at your decree:
    When we’re together, on the other side,
    You’ll do the same for me.


    The ‘other side’ concerns me less:
    Shatter this world, in pieces,
    The other one can take its place,
    The root of my joy’s on this Earth,
    And this Sun lights my sorrow:
    If I must part from them tomorrow,
    What can or will be, that I’ll face.
    I’ll hear no more of it, of whether
    In that future, men both hate and love,
    Or whether in those spheres, forever,
    We’re given a below and an above.


    In that case, you can venture all.
    Commit yourself: today, you shall
    View my arts with joy: I mean
    To show you what no man has seen.


    Poor devil what can you give? When has ever
    A human spirit, in its highest endeavour,
    Been understood by such a one as you?
    You have a never-satiating food,
    You have your restless gold, a slew
    Of quicksilver, melting in the hand,
    Games whose prize no man can land,
    A girl, who while she’s on my arm,
    Snares a neighbour, with her eyes:
    And Honour’s fine and godlike charm,
    That, like a meteor, dies?
    Show me fruits then that rot, before they’re ready.
    And trees grown green again, each day, too!


    Such commands don’t frighten me:
    With such treasures I can truly serve you.
    Still, my good friend, a time may come,
    When one prefers to eat what’s good in peace.


    When I lie quiet in bed, at ease.
    Then let my time be done!
    If you fool me, with flatteries,
    Till my own self’s a joy to me,
    If you snare me with luxury –
    Let that be the last day I see!
    That bet I’ll make!


                  And quickly!
    When, to the Moment then, I say:
    ‘Ah, stay a while! You are so lovely!’
    Then you can grasp me: then you may,
    Then, to my ruin, I’ll go gladly!
    Then they can ring the passing bell,
    Then from your service you are free,
    The clocks may halt, the hands be still,
    And time be past and done, for me!


    Consider well, we’ll not forget.


    You have your rights, complete:
    I never over-estimate my powers.
    I’ll be a slave, in defeat:
    Why ask whose slave or yours?


    Today, likewise, at the Doctors’ Feast
    I’ll do my duty as your servant.
    One thing, though! – Re: life and death, I want
    A few lines from you, at the least.


    You pedant, you demand it now in writing?
    You still won’t take Man’s word for anything?
    It’s not enough that the things I say,
    Will always accord with my future?
    The world never ceases to wear away,
    And shall a promise bind me, then, forever?
    Yet that’s the illusion in our minds,
    And who then would be free of it?
    Happy the man, who pure truth finds,
    And who’ll never deign to sacrifice it!
    Still a document, written and signed,
    That’s a ghost makes all men fear it.
    The word is already dying in the pen,
    And wax and leather hold the power then.
    What do you want from me base spirit?
    Will iron: marble: parchment: paper do it?
    Shall I write with stylus, pen or chisel?
    I’ll leave the whole decision up to you.


    Why launch into oratory too?
    Hot-tempered: you exaggerate as well.
    Any bit of paper’s just as good.
    And you can sign it with a drop of blood.


    If it will satisfy you, and it should,
    Then let’s complete the farce in full.


    Blood is a quite special fluid.


    Have no fear I’ll break this pact!
    The extreme I can promise you: it is
    All the power my efforts can extract.
    I’ve puffed myself up so highly
    I belong in your ranks now.
    The mighty Spirit scorns me
    And Nature shuts me out.
    The thread of thought has turned to dust,
    Knowledge fills me with disgust.
    Let the depths of sensuality
    Satisfy my burning passion!
    And, its impenetrable mask on,
    Let every marvel be prepared for me!
    Let’s plunge into time’s torrent,
    Into the whirlpools of event!
    Then let joy, and distress,
    Frustration, and success,
    Follow each other, as well they can:
    Restless activity proves the man!


    No goal or measure’s set for you.
    Do as you wish, nibble at everything,
    Catch at fragments while you’re flying,
    Enjoy it all, whatever you find to do.
    Now grab at it, and don’t be stupid!


    It’s not joy we’re about: you heard it.
    I’ll take the frenzy, pain-filled elation,
    Loving hatred, enlivening frustration.
    Cured of its urge to know, my mind
    In future, will not hide from any pain,
    And what is shared by all mankind,
    In my innermost self, I’ll contain:
    My soul will grasp the high and low,
    My heart accumulate its bliss and woe,
    So this self will embrace all theirs,
    That, in the end, their fate it shares.


    Believe me, many a thousand year
    They’ve chewed hard food, and yet
    From the cradle to the bier,
    Not one has ever digested it!
    Trust one of us, this Whole thing
    Was only made for a god’s delight!
    In eternal splendour he is dwelling,
    He placed us in the darkness quite,
    And only gave you day and night.


    But, I will!


            That’s good to hear!
    Yet I’ve a fear, just the one:
    Time is short, and art is long.
    I think you need instruction.
    Join forces with a poet: use poetry,
    Let him roam in imagination,
    You’ll gain every noble quality
    From your honorary occupation,
    The lion’s brave attitude
    The wild stag’s swiftness,
    The Italian’s fiery blood,
    The North’s persistence.
    Let him find the mysterious
    Meeting of generous and devious,
    While you, with passions young and hot,
    Fall in love, according to the plot.
    I’d like to see such a gentleman, among us,
    And I’d call him Mister Microcosmus.


    What am I then, if it’s a flight too far,
    For me to gain that human crown
    I yearn towards with every sense I own?


    In the end, you are – what you are.
    Set your hair in a thousand curlicues
    Place your feet in yard-high shoes,
    You’ll remain forever, what you are.


    All the treasures of the human spirit
    I feel that I’ve expended, uselessly.
    And wherever, at the last, I sit,
    No new power flows, in me.
    I’m not a hair’s breadth taller, as you see,
    And I’m no nearer to Infinity.


    My dear sir, you see the thing
    Exactly as all men see it: why,
    We must re-order everything,
    Before the joys of life slip by.
    Hang it! Hands and feet, belong to you,
    Certainly, a head, and a backside,
    Yet everything I use as new
    Why is my ownership of it denied?
    When I can count on six stallions,
    Isn’t their horsepower mine to use?
    I drive behind, and am a proper man,
    As though I’d twenty-four legs, too.
    Look lively! Leave the senses be,
    And plunge into the world with me!
    I say to you that scholarly fellows
    Are like the cattle on an arid heath:
    Some evil spirit leads them round in circles,
    While sweet green meadows lie beneath.


    How shall we begin then?


            From here, we’ll first win free.
    What kind of a martyrs’ hole can this be?
    What kind of a teacher of life is he,
    Who fills young minds with ennui?
    Let your neighbours do it, and go!
    Do you want to thresh straw forever?
    The best things you can ever know,
    You dare not tell the youngsters, ever.
    I hear one of them arriving, too!


    I’ve no desire to see him, though.


    The poor lad’s waited hours for you.
    He mustn’t go away un-consoled.
    Come: give me your cap and gown.
    The mask should look delicious. So!

    (He disguises himself.)

    Now I’ve lost what wit’s my own!
    I want fifteen minutes with him, only:
    Meanwhile get ready for our journey!

    (Faust exits.)

    Mephistopheles (In Faust’s long gown.)

    Reason and Science you despise,
    Man’s highest powers: now the lies
    Of the deceiving spirit must bind you
    With those magic arts that blind you,
    And I’ll have you, totally –
    Fate gave him such a spirit
    It urges him ever onwards, wildly,
    And, in his hasty striving, he has leapt
    Beyond all earth’s ecstasies.
    I’ll drag him through raw life,
    Through the meaningless and shallow,
    I’ll freeze him: stick to him: keep him ripe,
    Frustrate his insatiable greed, allow
    Food and drink to drift before his eyes:
    In vain he’ll beg for consummation,
    And if he weren’t the devil’s, why
    He’d still go to his ruination!

    (A student enters.)


    I’m only here momentarily,
    I’ve come, filled with humility,
    To speak to, and to stand before,
    One who’s spoken of with awe.


    Your courtesy delights me greatly!
    A man like other men you see.
    Have you studied then, elsewhere?


    I beg you, please enrol me, here!
    I come to you strong of courage,
    Lined in pocket, healthy for my age:
    My mother didn’t want to lose me: though,
    I’d like to learn what it’s right for me to know.


    Then you’ve come to the right place, exactly.


    To be honest, I’d like to go already:
    There’s little pleasure for me at all,
    In these walls, and all these halls.
    It’s such a narrow space I find,
    You see no trees, no leaves of any kind,
    And in the lectures, on the benches,
    All thought deserts me, and my senses.


    It will only come to you with habit.
    So the child takes its mother’s breast
    Quite unwillingly at first, and yet it
    Soon sucks away at her with zest.
    So will you at Wisdom’s breast, here,
    Feel every day a little zestier.


    I’ll cling to her neck with pleasure:
    But only tell me how to find her.


    Explain, before you travel on
    What faculty you’ve settled on.


    I want to be a true scholar,
    I want to grasp, by the collar,
    What’s on earth, in heaven above,
    In Science, and in Nature too.


    Then here’s the very path for you,
    But don’t allow yourself to wander off.


    I’ll be present heart and soul:
    Of course I’ll want to play,
    Have some fun and freedom, though,
    On each sweet summer holiday.


    Use your time well: it slips away so fast, yet
    Discipline will teach you how to win it.
    My dear friend, I’d advise, in sum,
    First, the Collegium Logicum.
    There your mind will be trained,
    As if in Spanish boots, constrained,
    So that painfully, as it ought,
    It creeps along the way of thought,
    Not flitting about all over,
    Wandering here and there.
    So you’ll learn, in many days,
    What you used to do, untaught, as in a haze,
    Like eating now, and drinking, you’ll see
    The necessity of One! Two! Three!
    Truly the intricacy of logic
    Is like a master-weaver’s fabric,
    Where the loom holds a thousand threads,
    Here and there the shuttles go
    And the threads, invisibly, flow,
    One pass serves for a thousand instead.
    Then the philosopher steps in: he’ll show
    That it certainly had to be so:
    The first was - so, the second - so,
    And so, the third and fourth were - so:
    If first and second had never been,
    Third and fourth would not be seen.
    All praise the scholars, beyond believing,
    But few of them ever turn to weaving.
    To know and note the living, you’ll find it
    Best to first dispense with the spirit:
    Then with the pieces in your hand,
    Ah! You’ve only lost the spiritual bond.
     ‘Natural treatment’, Chemistry calls it
    Mocks at herself, and doesn’t know it.


    I’m not sure that I quite understand.


    You’ll soon know it all, as planned,
    When you’ve learnt the science of reduction,
    And everything’s proper classification.


    After all that, I feel as stupid
    As if I’d a mill wheel in my head.


    Next, before all else, you’ll fix
    Your mind on Metaphysics!
    See that you’re profoundly trained
    In what never stirs in a human brain:
    You’ll learn a splendid word
    For what’s occurred or not occurred.
    But for the present take six months
    To get yourself in order: start at once.
    Five hours every day, lock
    Yourself in, with a ticking clock!
    Make sure you’re well prepared,
    Study each paragraph with care,
    So afterwards you’ll be certain   
    Only what’s in the book, was written:
    Then be as diligent when you pen it,
    As if the Holy Ghost had said it!


    You won’t need to tell me twice!
    I think, myself, it’s very helpful, too   
    That one can take back home, and use,
    What someone’s penned in black and white.


    But choose a faculty, any one!


    I wouldn’t be comfortable with Law.


    I couldn’t name you anything more
    Vile, I know how dogmatic it’s become.
    Laws and rights are handed down
    It’s an eternal disgrace:
    They’re moved round from town to town
    Dragged around from place to place.
    Reason is nonsense, kindness a disease,
    If you’re a grandchild it’s a curse!
    The rights we are born with,
    To those, alas, no one refers!


    That just strengthens my disgust.
    Happy the student that you instruct!
    I’ve nearly settled on Theology.


    I wouldn’t wish to guide you erroneously.
    In what that branch of knowledge concerns
    It’s so difficult to avoid a fallacious route,
    There’s so much poison hidden in what you learn,
    And it’s barely distinguishable from the antidote.
    The best thing here’s to make a single choice,
    Then simply swear by your master’s voice.
    On the whole, to words stick fast!
    Through the safest gate you’ll pass
    To the Temple of Certainty.


    Yet surely words must have a sense.


    Why, yes! But don’t torment yourself with worry,
    Where sense fails it’s only necessary
    To supply a word, and change the tense.
    With words fine arguments can be weighted,
    With words whole Systems can be created,
    With words, the mind does its conceiving,
    No word suffers a jot from thieving.


    Forgive me, I delay you with my questions,
    But I must trouble you again,
    On the subject of Medicine,
    Have you no helpful word to say?
    Three years, so little time applied,
    And, God, the field is rather wide!
    If only you had some kind of pointer,
    You would feel so much further on.

    Mephistopheles (Aside.)

    I’m tired of this desiccated banter
    I really must play the devil, at once.


    To grasp the spirit of Medicine’s easily done:
    You study the great and little world, until,
    In the end you let it carry on
    Just as God wills.
    Useless to roam round, scientifically:
    Everyone learns only what he can:
    The one who grasps the Moment fully,
    He’s the proper man.
    You’re quite a well-made fellow,
    You’re not short of courage too,
    And when you’re easy with yourself,
    Others will be easy with you.
    Study, especially, female behaviour:
    Their eternal aches and woes,
    All of the thousand-fold,
    Rise from one point, and have one cure.
    And if you’re half honourable about it
    You shall have them in your pocket.
    A title first: to give them comfort you
    Have skills that far exceed the others,
    Then you’re free to touch the goods, and view
    What someone else has prowled around for years.
    Take the pulse firmly, you understand,
    And then, with sidelong fiery glance,
    Grasp the slender hips, in haste,
    To find out whether she’s tight-laced.


    That sounds much better! The Where and How, I see.


    Grey, dear friend, is all theory,
    And green the golden tree of life.


    I swear it’s like a dream to me: may I
    Trouble you, at some further time,
    To expound your wisdom, so sublime?


    As much as I can, I’ll gladly explain.


    I can’t tear myself away,
    I must just pass you my album, sir,
    Grant me the favour of your signature!


    Very well.

    (He writes and gives the book back.)

    Student (Reading Mephistopheles’ Latin inscription which means: ‘You’ll be like God, acquainted with good and evil’.)

    Eritis sicut Deus, scientes bonum et malum.

    (He makes his bows, and takes his leave.)


    Just follow the ancient text, and my mother the snake, too:
    And then your likeness to God will surely frighten you!

    (Faust enters.)


    Where will we go, then?


                      Where you please.
    The little world, and then the great, we’ll see.
    With what profit and delight,
    This term, you’ll be a parasite!


    Yet with my long beard, I’ll
    Lack life’s superficial style.
    My attempt will come to nothing:
    I know, in this world, I don’t fit in.
    I feel so small next to other men,
    It only means embarrassment.


    My friend, just give yourself completely to it:
    When you find yourself, you’ll soon know how to live it.


    How shall we depart from here, then?
    I see not one servant, coach, or horse.


    We’ll just spread this cloak wide open,
    Then through the air we’ll take our course.
    For a daring trip like this we’re on,
    Better not take much baggage along.
    A little hot air I’ll ready, first,
    To lift us nimbly above the Earth,
    And as we’re light we’ll soon get clear:
    Congratulations on your new career!

    prev: Part I Scene III: The Study
    next: Part I Scene V: Auerbach’s Cellar in Leipzig

  • God Does Exist
    A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects.

    When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: "I don't believe that God exists."

    "Why do you say that?" asked the customer.

    "Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things."

    The customer thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument.

    The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop. Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt.

    The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber: "You know what? Barbers do not exist."

    "How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber. "I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!"

    "No!" the customer exclaimed. "Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside."

    "Ah, but barbers DO exist! That's what happens when people do not come to me."

    "Exactly!" affirmed the customer. "That's the point! God, too, DOES exist! That's what happens when people do not go to Him and don't look to Him for help. That's why there's so much pain and suffering in the world."

    - Author Unknown

    from the wall of Maygan Besa
    shared from Author Tom Baker 
    find them at Facebook

  • Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?
    Plato: For the greater good.

    Karl Marx: It was a historical inevitability.

    Machiavelli: So that its subjects will view it with admiration,
    as a chicken which has the daring and courage to
    boldly cross the road, but also with fear, for whom
    among them has the strength to contend with such a
    paragon of avian virtue? In such a manner is the
    princely chicken's dominion maintained.

    Hippocrates: Because of an excess of light pink gooey stuff in its

    Jacques Derrida: Any number of contending discourses may be discovered
    within the act of the chicken crossing the road, and
    each interpretation is equally valid as the authorial
    intent can never be discerned, because structuralism

    Thomas de Torquemada: Give me ten minutes with the chicken and I'll find out.

    Timothy Leary: Because that's the only kind of trip the Establishment
    would let it take.

    Douglas Adams: Forty-two.

    Nietzsche: Because if you gaze too long across the Road, the Road
    gazes also across you.

    Oliver North: National Security was at stake.

    B.F. Skinner: Because the external influences which had pervaded its
    sensorium from birth had caused it to develop in such a
    fashion that it would tend to cross roads, even while
    believing these actions to be of its own free will.

    Carl Jung: The confluence of events in the cultural gestalt
    necessitated that individual chickens cross roads at
    this historical juncture, and therefore
    synchronicitously brought such occurrences into being.

    Jean-Paul Sartre: In order to act in good faith and be true to itself,
    the chicken found it necessary to cross the road.

    Ludwig Wittgenstein: The possibility of "crossing" was encoded into the
    objects "chicken" and "road", and circumstances came
    into being which caused the actualization of this
    potential occurrence.

    Albert Einstein: Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road crossed
    the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.

    Aristotle: To actualize its potential.

    Buddha: If you ask this question, you deny your own chicken-

    Howard Cosell: It may very well have been one of the most astonishing
    events to grace the annals of history. An historic,
    unprecedented avian biped with the temerity to attempt
    such an herculean achievement formerly relegated to
    homo sapien pedestrians is truly a remarkable occurence.

    Salvador Dali: The Fish.

    Darwin: It was the logical next step after coming down from
    the trees.

    Emily Dickinson: Because it could not stop for death.

    Epicurus: For fun.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson: It didn't cross the road; it transcended it.

    Johann von Goethe: The eternal hen-principle made it do it.

    Ernest Hemingway: To die. In the rain.

    Werner Heisenberg: We are not sure which side of the road the chicken
    was on, but it was moving very fast.

    David Hume: Out of custom and habit.

    Jack Nicholson: 'Cause it (censored) wanted to. That's the (censored)

    Pyrrho the Skeptic: What road?

    Ronald Reagan: I forget.

    John Sununu: The Air Force was only too happy to provide the
    transportation, so quite understandably the chicken
    availed himself of the opportunity.

    The Sphinx: You tell me.

    Mr. T: If you saw me coming you'd cross the road too!

    Henry David Thoreau: To live deliberately ... and suck all the marrow
    out of life.

    Mark Twain: The news of its crossing has been greatly exaggerated.

    Molly Yard: It was a hen!

    Zeno of Elea: To prove it could never reach the other side.

    Chaucer: So priketh hem nature in hir corages.

    Wordsworth: To wander lonely as a cloud.

    The Godfather: I didn't want its mother to see it like that.

    Keats: Philosophy will clip a chicken's wings.

    Blake: To see heaven in a wild fowl.

    Othello: Jealousy.

    Dr Johnson: Sir, had you known the Chicken for as long as I have,
    you would not so readily enquire, but feel rather the
    Need to resist such a public Display of your own
    lamentable and incorrigible Ignorance.

    Mrs Thatcher: This chicken's not for turning.

    Supreme Soviet: There has never been a chicken in this photograph.

    Oscar Wilde: Why, indeed? One's social engagements whilst in
    town ought never expose one to such barbarous
    inconvenience - although, perhaps, if one must cross a
    road, one may do far worse than to cross it as the
    chicken in question.

    Kafka: Hardly the most urgent enquiry to make of a low-grade
    insurance clerk who woke up that morning as a hen.

    Swift: It is, of course, inevitable that such a loathsome,
    filth-ridden and degraded creature as Man should assume
    to question the actions of one in all respects his

    Macbeth: To have turned back were as tedious as to go o'er.

    Whitehead: Clearly, having fallen victim to the fallacy of
    misplaced concreteness.

    Freud: An die andere Seite zu kommen. (Much laughter)

    Hamlet: That is not the question.

    Donne: It crosseth for thee.

    Pope: It was mimicking my Lord Hervey.

    Constable: To get a better view.


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How Big is Infinity? Georg Cantor math's uncertainty absolute certainty belief cling to a certainty Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann faust goethe Kurt Gödel-incompleteness theorem Alan Turing-unprobable uncomputability

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