217. “That human life must be some kind of mistake is sufficiently proved by the simple observation that man is a compound of needs which are hard to satisfy; that their satisfaction achieves nothing but a painless condition in which he is only given over to boredom; and that boredom is a direct proof that existence is in itself valueless, for boredom is nothing other than the sensation of the emptiness of existence.”
218. “God, who in the beginning was the creator, appears in the end as revenger and rewarder. Deference to such a God admittedly can produce virtuous actions; however, because fear of punishment or hope for reward are their motive, these actions will not be purely moral; on the contrary, the inner essence of such virtue will amount to prudent and carefully calculating egoism.”
223. “Therefore if egoism has a firm hold of a man and masters him, whether it be in the form of joy, or triumph, or lust, or hope, or frantic grief, or annoyance, or anger, or fear, or suspicion, or passion of any kind – he is in the devil’s clutches and how he got into them does not matter. What is needful is that he should make haste to get out of them; and here, again, it does not matter how.”
230. “Consideration of the kind, touched on above, might, indeed, lead us to embrace the belief that the greatest wisdom is to make the enjoyment of the present the supreme object of life; because that is the only reality, all else being merely the play of thought. On the other hand, such a course might just as well be called the greatest folly: for that which in the next moment exists no more, and vanishes utterly, like a dream, can never be worth a serious effort.”
238. “Genius is the ability to leave entirely out of sight our own interest, our willing, and our aims, and consequently to discard entirely our own personality for a time, in order to remain pure knowing subject, the clear eye of the world; and this not merely for moments, but with the necessary continuity and conscious thought to enable us to repeat by deliberate art what has been apprehended and “what in wavering apparition gleams fix in its place with thoughts that stand for ever!”
241. “The cheapest kind of pride, on the other hand, is national pride. For it betrays in those affected by it the lack of individual qualities of which they could be proud, since they would otherwise not grasp at something that they share with so many millions. Rather those who possess significant personal qualities will recognize most clearly the faults of their own nation, since they constantly have them in front of them.”
242. “Think what you’re doing! When you say I, I, I want to exist, it is not you alone that says this. Everything says it, absolutely everything that has the faintest trace of consciousness. It follows, then, that this desire of yours is just the part of you that is not individual – the part that is common to all things without distinction.”
247. “Health outweighs all other blessings so much that one may really say that a healthy beggar is happier than an ailing king. A quiet and cheerful temperament, happy in the enjoyment of a perfectly sound physique, an intellect clear, lively, penetrating and seeing things as they are, a moderate and gentle will, and therefore a good conscience – these are privileges which no rank or wealth can make up for or replace.”
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