This follows up from the last post.
I have a personal war against Tumblr, which has the same roots as my personal war against the hipster culture (assuming we can call such a thing a ‘culture’). In brief: I’m very self-conscious about my own stupidity, and therefore I tend to dislike people that a) display it publicly on a daily basis or b) think they are special when they are not. My thoughts on the matter are very nicely conveyed by Louis CK.
Apparently in this series of posts that I have to do I need to include, among other things, quotes from books, magazines, etc. Now the problem is that I don’t want to turn my blog into a Tumblr, where the poster does basically nothing of value and limits themselves to copy (or “reblog”) stuff from other people.
When I was very little I wanted to be a journalist. And I was very told then that if I read a lot I would turn into a good writer. So I became a compulsive reader, until now. Since my writing abilities haven’t improved much ever since, I’m starting to feel a bit scammed. This is relevant because there’s the fact that, in spite of thoroughly disliking Tumblr, I really like quotes. And I’m not referring to the ones you find everywhere, like “I may not agree with what you said, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”, which by the way is always wrongly attributed to Voltaire. I mean like the cool, long ones I’ll be posting here, which hopefully won’t make me look too much of a douchebag.
Remember that it’s a course requirement. By the way, this is post #2.
From Imperium, by Ryszard Kapuscinski:
Ashkhabad, a peaceful city. Now and then a Volga passes along the street. Now and then a donkey’s hooves tap against the asphalt. They are selling hot tea in the Russian market. One potful — twenty kopecks. But can the value of tea be measured that way?
Here, tea is life. An old Turkman takes the teapot and pours two small bowls — one for himself, the other he passes to the little yellow-haired boy. “Nu,” he says to the boy. “Oy, Diadia,” the little one answers, “I’m always telling you that you’re supposed to say na, not nu.” Diadia laughs, perhaps at the same thought that occurs to me: that he can no longer be taught anything. A Turkman that has lived long enough to have a gray beard knows everything. His head is full of wisdom; his eyes have read the book of life. When he got his first camel, he learned what wealth was. When a herd of his sheep died, he learned the unhappiness of poverty. He has seen dry wells, and so he knows what despair is, and he has seen wells full of water, and so he knows what joy is. He knows that the sun brings life, but he also knows that the sun brings death, which no European really understands.
He knows what thirst is and how it feels to have one’s thirst quenched.
He knows that when it is hot one must dress warmly, in smock and sheepskin, and not strip down to the bare skin, as some men do. A dressed man is thinking, an undressed one — no. A naked man is capable of committing every stupidity. Those who created great things were always dressed. In Sumeria and Mesopotamia, in Samarkand and Baghdad, despite the diabolical heat, people walked about dressed. Great civilizations arose there, which neither Australia nor the African equator, where people walked naked in the sun, can boast of. All you need to do is read the history of the world.
It could be that this old man knows the answers to Shakespeare’s great question.