09-09-08

De la gloire

"Toute la gloire que je prétends de ma vie, c'est de l'avoir vécue tranquille: tranquille non selon Métrodore, ou Arcésilas, ou Aristippe, mais selon moi. Puisque la philosophie n'a su trouver aucune voie pour la tranquillité qui fût bonne en commun, que chacun la cherche en son particulier!" Montaigne, Essais II, Gallimard 1965, chapitre XVI, p. 375.

(amateuristic English translation below)


Strange self-referring quote. Do I mean that I live my life according to Montaigne in trying to live it in my own way? Maybe so. Maybe the lack of Caesar's or Alexander's fame - or even Britney Spears' fame - bothers me to the extent that I need to seek refuge in a coincidental sentence by Montaigne. It is in any case certain that reading about how luck brings some to fame whilst others have the bad luck to be frustrated in their projects brings an immediate sigh of 'That's me! & Wasn't Kant nearly death by the time he got noticed?'

I admit in this self-indulgence, but I do not admit that it's a bad thing. I do not buy the 'if you work hard enough, you'll be successful'-sham. With some qualifications I can go in for the reverse conditional. I thought about qualifying success but that's a qualification I need to drop. When you have success you have created reverberation in others, whether that impact is of the high-falutin' sort or not is a small-town high-culture irrelevance. Who cares about who judges success? Success is not a quality, it is most definitely a quantity that can be measured. Sure, it can be measured in lots of different ways but it always is a matter of measurement - not of judgment by jury consisting of 'qualified assesors'. (I would venture to make a bold statement - that success is like weight, you can measure it in different ways but the heaviest - most successful - items will always get the biggest measure - but that's not for here, it'll need something like a referral rating on publications)

So the only qualification that remains is that 'to work hard enough' doesn't mean at all that you have worked hard. The stress you put yourself in, or that you have been put in by the occasion, is as irrelevant as the appraisal of the happy few. If you are successful you have worked hard enough in the sense that you ought'nt have worked any harder than you actually did. Much good would come from thorough, widespread understanding of this qualification. For one, it would finally break the spine of those doctrines of overstressing anything in sight for more quantitative output per person, the cases in point being religions. Yes, you have to work. No, you needn't work hard. You just need to work hard enough. (On this I will only have worked an hour but - if it turns out to be of influence - maybe it's the only hour I actually worked hard enough - if you are getting my drift.)

So success can be quantified, the amount of hard enough work can't; such is the big triumph of creative talent over uninspired reproduction!

Finally (this wasn't going to be long but Michel is really, really great you know), when you have no success this does not imply you haven't worked hard enough - you may well have had tough luck & no breaks, only brakes. So Michel is right, whether or not it indulges our sense of achievement in the absence of success, take pride in a road you have taken, if it so happens that you took it to your own personal contentment & fulfillment.


"All the glory that I pretend to have from my life, is to have lived it tranquilly: tranquil not following Metrodorus, or Arcesilas, or Aristippus, but following myself. Since philosophy has not been able to find any road to tranquility in common, let everybody find it for his specific situation."


Whilst writing this I was listening to Orquesta Del Desierto, Orquesta Del Desierto, 2002, Meteor City.

23:04 Gepost door Guido Nius in Actualiteit | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: montaigne, decadence, imagination, tones |  Facebook |

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