As mentioned in the last post, here's a selection from von Goethe's "Maxims & Reflections". You'll have to forgive the references to the male third person a lot - that's how they wrote in those days. If you're interested, the complete list is available online at: <http://wolfenmann.com/goethe-maxims-and-reflections-full-text.html> 100. What matters to an active man is to do the right thing, whether the right thing comes to pass should not bother him. 128. He who is afraid of ideas in the end also lacks concepts. 247. Hatred is active displeasure, envy is passive; hence one need not be surprised that envy soon turns into hatred. 254. It is the most foolish of all errors for young people of good intelligence to imagine that they will forfeit their originality if they acknowledge truth already acknowledged by others. 267. How little of all that has happened has been recorded in writing, how little of this corpus of writings has been preserved! By its very nature, literature is fragmentary; it contains monuments of the human spirit in so far as these constitute written texts and have ultimately survived. 268. And yet, in spite of all the incompleteness of the literary scene, we find repetitions multiplied a thousandfold, which shows how limited are man’s mind and his destiny. 331. Error is related to truth as sleeping is to waking. I have observed that when one has been in error, one turns to truth as though revitalized. 353. You ask which form of government is the best? Whichever teaches us to govern ourselves. 367. There is nothing more dreadful than active ignorance. 383. He who is and remains true to himself and to others has the most attractive quality of the greatest talents. 475. Only those people who are both clever and active, who are clear about their own capacities and can use them with moderation and common sense, will really get on in the world as it is. 476. A great failing: to see yourself as more than you are and to value yourself at less than your true worth. 486. The dignity of art perhaps appears most eminent in music because it has no material of a kind for which detailed accounting might be needed. It is all form and content and it heightens and ennobles all it expresses. 493. To find and to appreciate goodness everywhere is the sign of a love of truth. 507. Imagination is only ordered and structured by poetry. There is nothing more awful than imagination devoid of taste. 689. Knowledge is not enough, we have to apply it; wanting is not enough, there has to be action. 791. The most original authors of the day are not rated as such because they produce something new, but only because they are capable of saying this kind of thing as though it had never been said before. 792. That is why the most attractive mark of originality is knowing how to develop a received idea so creatively that no one can easily guess how much lies hidden within it. 865. Only people unable to produce anything themselves feel there is nothing there. 1188. He who has the understanding to declare his limitations is closest to perfection.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Posted by Bruno at 5:42pm