Constellation Blues

Category: Philosophy

“If we are to save the mind we must ignore its gloomy virtues and celebrate its strength and wonder. Our world is poisoned by its misery, and seems to wallow in it. It has utterly surrendered to that evil which Nietzsche called the spirit of heaviness. Let us not add to this. It is futile to weep over the mind, it is enough to labor for it.

But where are the conquering virtues of the mind? The same Nietzsche listed them as mortal enemies to heaviness of the spirit. For him, they are strength of character, taste, the “world,” classical happiness, severe pride, the cold frugality of the wise. More than ever, these virtues are necessary today, and each of us can choose the one that suits him best. Before the vastness of the undertaking, let no one forget strength of character. I don’t mean the theatrical kind on political platforms, complete with frowns and threatening gestures. But the kind that through the virtue of its purity and its sap, stands up to all the winds that blow in from the sea. Such is the strength of character that in the winter of the world will prepare the fruit.”

~Albert Camus

Thoughts on Mozart & his Fantasia

Today is Mozart’s birthday and I feel compelled to write something about one of his more mysterious pieces in my opinion, the Fantasia in D minor for piano.

Karl Barth says:

“Mozart’s music is free of all exaggeration, of all sharp breaks and contradictions. The sun shines but does not blind, does not burn or consume. Heaven arches over the earth, but it does not weigh it down, it does not crush or devour it. Hence earth remains earth, with no need to support itself in a titanic revolt against heaven. Granted, darkness, chaos, death and hell do appear, but not for a moment are they allowed to prevail. Knowing all, Mozart creates music from a mysterious center, and so knows the limits to the right and the left, above and below. He maintains moderation.”

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Suicide and the Dream of a Ridiculous Man

“The consciousness of life is higher than life, the knowledge of happiness is higher than happiness”—that is what we have to fight against! And I shall, I shall fight against it! If only we all wanted it, everything could be arranged immediately.”

From The Dream of a Ridiculous Man by Fyodor Dostoevsky

I stumbled upon an audiobook version of this short essay by Dostoevsky purely by chance. Seeing the title alone and being a fan of his other works, I couldn’t resist. I’ve always thought that when you’re ready for answers to your own personal questions, you’ll find them in literature, always by chance. True gems!

Anyway, to the story: essentially the Ridiculous Man has always known he was a “madman” and was laughed at by his peers. Growing older and making his way through his studies, he realizes the more knowledge he gains, the more he is consciously aware of his predicament:

Dostoevsky writes:
“I suddenly felt that it made no difference to me whether the world existed or whether nothing existed anywhere at all. I began to be acutely conscious that nothing existed in my own lifetime. At first I couldn’t help feeling that at any rate in the past many things had existed; but later on I came to the conclusion that there had not been anything even in the past, but that for some reason it had merely seemed to have been. Little by little I became convinced that there would be nothing in the future, either. It was then that I suddenly ceased to be angry with people and almost stopped noticing them.”

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