The day's length. If a man has a great deal to put in them, a day will have a hundred pockets. If the soul stirs with an ungovernable desire to assert itself tyranically, and the fire is continually maintained, then even a slight talent in politicians or artists gradually becomes an almost irresistible force of nature.
The life of the enemy. Whoever lives for the sake of combating an enemy has an interest in the enemy's staying alive. More important. The unexplained, obscure matter is taken as more important than the explained, clear one.
Evaluating services rendered. We evaluate services someone renders us according to the value that person places on them, not according to the value they have for us. The distinction that lies in being unhappy as if to feel happy were a sign of shallowness, lack of ambition, ordinariness is so great that when someone says, "But how happy you must be! Fantasy of fear. The fantasy of fear is that malevolent, apelike goblin which jumps onto man's back just when he already has the most to bear.
Value of insipid opponents. Sometimes we remain true to a cause only because its opponents will not stop being insipid.
SECTION NINE Man Alone with Himself
Value of a profession. A profession makes us thoughtless: therein lies its greatest blessing. For it is a bulwark, behind which we are allowed to withdraw when qualms and worries of a general kind attack us. The talent of some men appears slighter than it is because they have always set themselves tasks that are too great. The time of youth is disagreeable, for then it is not possible, or not reasonable, to be productive in any sense.
Goals too great. Who publicly sets himself great goals, and later realizes privately that he is too weak to accomplish them, does not usually have enough strength to revoke those goals publicly, either, and then inevitably becomes a hypocrite. In the stream. Strong currents draw many stones and bushes along with them; strong minds many stupid and muddled heads. Danger of intellectual liberation. When a man tries earnestly to liberate his intellect, his passions and desires secretly hope to benefit from it also. Embodiment of the spirit. When a man thinks much and cleverly, not only his face, but also his body takes on a clever look.
Seeing poorly and hearing poorly. He who sees little, always sees less; he who hears poorly, always hears something more. Self-enjoyment in vanity. The vain man wants not only to stand out, but also to feel outstanding, and therefore rejects no means to deceive and outwit himself. Not the opinion of others, but his opinion of their opinion is what he cares about.
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Vain by way of an exception. When he is physically ill, the man who is usually self-sufficient is vain by way of an exception and responsive to fame and praise. In the proportion that he is losing himself, he must try to regain himself from the outside, using strangers' opinions. Hint for party chiefs. If we can force people to declare themselves publicly for something, we have usually also brought them to the point of declaring themselves for it privately; they want to continue to be perceived as consistent.
Where is "Son of Man" found in the New Testament?
Rope of gratitude. There are slavish souls who carry their thanks for favors so far that they actually strangle themselves with the rope of gratitude. Trick of the prophet. In order to predict the behavior of ordinary men, we must assume that they always expend the least possible amount of intellect to free themselves from a disagreeable situation. The only human right.
He who strays from tradition becomes a sacrifice to the extraordinary; he who remains in tradition is its slave. Destruction follows in any case. Lower than the animal.
When man howls with laughter, he surpasses all animals by his coarseness. Superficial knowledge. He who speaks a bit of a foreign language has more delight in it than he who speaks it well; pleasure goes along with superficial knowledge. Dangerous helpfulness. There are people who want to make men's lives more difficult for no other reason than afterwards to offer them their prescriptions for making life easier - their Christianity, for example.
Industriousness and conscientiousness.
Industriousness and conscientiousness are often antagonists, in that industriousness wants to take the fruits off the tree while still sour, but conscientiousness lets them hang too long, until they drop off the tree and come to nothing. Lacking the circumstances. Many men wait all their lives for the opportunity to be good in their way. Want of friends. A want of friends points to envy or arrogance.
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Many a man owes his friends simply to the fortunate circumstance that he has no cause for envy. Danger in multiplicity. With one talent the more, one often stands less secure than with one talent the less: as the table stands better on three legs than on four. Model for others. He who wants to set a good example must add a grain of foolishness to his virtue; then others can imitate and, at the same time, rise above the one being imitated - something which people love.
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Being a target. Often, other people's vicious talk about us is not actually aimed at us, but expresses their annoyance or ill humor arising from quite different reasons. Easily resigned. A man suffers little from unfulfilled wishes if he has trained his imagination to think of the past as hateful. In danger. When we have just gotten out of the way of a vehicle, we are most in danger of being run over.
The role according to the voice. He who is forced to speak more loudly than is his habit as in front of someone hard of hearing, or before a large audience generally exaggerates what he has to communicate. Some people become conspirators, malicious slanderers, or schemers, merely because their voice is best suited to a whisper. Love and hatred. Love and hatred are not blind, but are blinded by the fire they themselves carry with them.
Made an enemy to one's advantage. Men who are unable to make their merit completely clear to the world seek to awaken an intense enmity towards themselves. Then they have the comfort of thinking that this stands between their merit and its recognition-and that other people assume the same thing, which is of great advantage to their own importance. We forget our guilt when we have confessed it to another, but usually the other person does not forget it.
The golden fleece of self-sufficiency protects against thrashings, but not against pin-pricks.