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Thread: A little experiment in quote analysis.

  1. #1
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    Question A little experiment in quote analysis.

    Hello fellow members,

    well it isn't quite an experiment, rather a little help from you for me. I was just looking for a thread title, interesting enough for people to click on it.
    I also wasn't sure whether to open a new thread for this neither wanted I to hijack another.
    But here am I and here you are. Feel free to use this for many more quotation analysis.

    The sure conviction that we could if we wanted to, is the reason so many good minds are idle.
    G. C. Lichtenberg said that. Now, I'm sure about the content, meaning I understand the words he's saying.
    (I'm actually not sure whether he said/wrote it in english or german, I couldn't find anything but being described as an anglophile and having worked in Britain, he might as well have said it in english.)

    Where I am stuck is when I think a little bit more about it.
    What is it? What could we do if we wanted to? And why is it the sure conviction that keeps us idle and not the particular thought itself?
    At first glance I could refer it to my own situation: I'm amidst some changes in my life. Occupational personal and creatively. Usually I approach this as many doors being opened. But now I see a lot of options... too many. And all the preparation that comes with it. I know that all I need to do is pick a path and attack it, then good things can come of it, but I feel paralyzed by the sheer amount so that I find myself in stagnation rather than progress.

    I wonder if Lichtenberg thought of a similar subject, or if I'm completely off.

    Now I don't want you to "google" for me. I have done that myself and came up short. All you find is a bunch of quotations websites that recite the same quote. It would have been nice to find some context, though.
    I rather read your personal thoughts you had when reading and thinking about this phrase.

    Thank you!

    Vandelay.
    Last edited by Vandelay; 02-27-2013 at 01:26 AM.

  2. #2
    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Hi Vandelay I think from what I understand reading this is the following:
    The concept discussed here I think is about will power . That man/mind is tireless in front of nature/life and its challenges. That he or she wishes to conquer every possibility/impossibility and that the skies is the limit.
    Man lives to hang on to the knowledge that there is no stopping one. Idleness here I think is the concept that man lives to idealise and not to be and let be. Humans are purely to live to idealize and conquer rather achieve life in its pure sense. Idleness is the loss of that meaning of what life is really about.
    That because we live in the knowledge we can do whatever we wish to achieve an ideal or a goal th emind is idle in the sense we are careless with regards to the consquences of it and the effects on other and around us. WHatmatters is the power of that knowledge and not the actual end result of it.
    For example If one is to climb mount Everest it is not because of the beauty of its peaks and the energy that emanates from its heights it purely down to idleness/selfishness that man wants to prove to themselves and others that they are limitless. So instead of contemplating the peaks and sharing its imagery and mystery with other fellow humans man choses to climb it instead. There is no mystery left for others to contemplate because someone else's has climbed it and has informed all of us what is like. In away the mystery of Mount Everest is spoilt for those who wish to see rather then to grab. Another good example is nudity once someone is nude in front of you there is no mystery left to the mind. So one is obliged to follow higher suit and do more to reconquer that loss of mystery.

    It is not about the deed it is about the seed.
    In other words if I plant a seed I will want it to grow to watch it grow and not because I want to eat it. It is two different concept.
    I hope this makes some sense to you at least I tried
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

  3. #3
    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    so if we go back to the quote
    The sure conviction that we could if we wanted to, is the reason so many good minds are idle
    The simple fact that we know we can makes us careless idle and lazy. We care less less about ourselves with regard to life and others but more about us in the face of a challenge. The more we idealise and the more we destroy the very understanding of life. Nature is stripped of its mystery and content and thus making less and less aware of who we are and what we are here for. Idleness is the price we pay for being challenging not to our selves but to what is around us.
    Last edited by cacian; 02-27-2013 at 06:30 AM.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

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    It is from cowardice and not from want of enlightenment that we do not read in our own hearts. -- Stendhal

    Posted by aliengirl

  5. #5
    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafolini View Post
    It is from cowardice and not from want of enlightenment that we do not read in our own hearts. -- Stendhal

    Posted by aliengirl
    I don't know it is through enlightement that one seeks out darkeness to compare. Human nature is constantly juxtaposed ie in conflict with opposite forces. Cowardice is not seeking either.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

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    Thank you very much Cacian, for your elaborate response.
    So, if I understood what you're saying, the inversion would be:

    If we are told we cannot do or are unsure whether we could do, our minds become engaged with solving the problem. Simply the fact that we already know that we could do something, makes us not even bother.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cacian View Post
    I don't know it is through enlightement that one seeks out darkeness to compare. Human nature is constantly juxtaposed ie in conflict with opposite forces. Cowardice is not seeking either.
    You mean that we should seek both at once. Diarrhealectically? Wasn't that over in 1989?

  8. #8
    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vandelay View Post
    Thank you very much Cacian, for your elaborate response.
    So, if I understood what you're saying, the inversion would be:

    If we are told we cannot do or are unsure whether we could do, our minds become engaged with solving the problem. Simply the fact that we already know that we could do something, makes us not even bother.
    Yes indeed. The other thing is the 'solving the problem' issue. There is no problem until he or she decides there is one. That is idleness in the sense that things in life are generally pretty safe but because of one's involvement with the aesthetic of it and not its meaning it suddenly becomes a problem. This makes it desperate from the start. Idleness is not being able to bother with it is ie seeks its advantage as it is but of what it could be and the the challenge is set to go wrong or haywire from the onstart.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

  9. #9
    confidentially pleased cacian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafolini View Post
    You mean that we should seek both at once. Diarrhealectically? Wasn't that over in 1989?
    Not really. One cannot seek both at the same time. One seeks one to get the other. That is one obvious established nature of men. To want not only the best but also the worse.
    it may never try
    but when it does it sigh
    it is just that
    good
    it fly

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