“Stirring, heroic sentiments are appropriate to oratory, where the purpose is to rouse a crowd to immediate action. In regular verse, which is written to be intoned and enjoyed at leisure, to be mulled over several times, and in lyric verse, where sophistication, refinement and restraint are prized above all, passion and vehemence must be tempered with tenderness and deep sincerity. Passion is aroused by momentary moral indignation, whereas deep sincerity is the product of daily cultivation. Passion resembles the bravery of the common soldier, whereas deep sincerity is the higher courage that stems from love towards humanity. Since the days of old, the great exemplars of loyalty and chivalry, who in their love for motherland and people braved danger and remained unflinching to the end, always drew on the strength of their deep self-cultivation. They never relied solely on their exuberance and animal spirits. It is the achievement of the greatest literary creations that they are able by the skillful use of subtly beautiful language to express this deep inner sincerity. Literature that is noisy, self-publicizing, superficial and propagandist cannot be held in high esteem.”

(Miao Yüeh 繆越, “The Chinese Lyric 論詞”. Translated by John Minford. In Soong ed., Song Without Music: Chinese Tz’u Poetry, p. 41.)

November

november 26, 2012

November

@ Flickr

New atheism

november 21, 2012

«A new atheist is an atheist no longer interested in the philosophical discussion but an individual who, having failed to locate God at the bottom of a test tube, says that God cannot exist.»

(Some random commenter @ The Guardian)

november 20, 2012

but when I start to tell it, I cannot find the words

«I know that previously I would not have dared to express myself so explicitly about so uncertain a matter. I can take this risk because I am now in my eight decade, and the changing opinions of men scarcely impress me any more; the thoughts of the old masters are of greater value to me than the philosophical prejudices of the Western mind.»

(from Richard Wilhelm’s translation, rendered into English by Cary F. Baynes, xxxv)

Democracy

november 15, 2012

After [General Erich F.W.] Ludendorff had asked Weber for a definition of democracy, he responded:

In a democracy the people choose a leader whom they trust. Then the chosen man says, “Now shut your mouths and obey me. The people and the parties are no longer free to interfere in the leader’s business.”

Ludendorff: I could like such a “democracy!”

Weber: Later the people can sit in judgment. If the leader has made mistakes — to the gallows with him!….