Shallows’ Eve: Un-conditional

‘One more time’, said our hostel-mate.

I (likely) mis-quoted: “I do not know what it would mean for a past conditional to be true.  E.g. — dearly do I hope I did n’t say ‘e.g.’ — if you had gone to a different window your passport would n’t have been rejected this morning.”

Still I do n’t know what it should mean, but that ‘s not the point.  It was meant to impress and it worked.  Is there any lasting value in blowing another person’s mind indiscriminately?

Whoever knows he is deep, strives for clarity; whoever would like to appear deep to the crowd, strives for obscurity.  For the crowd considers anything deep if only it cannot see to the bottom: the crowd is so timid and afraid of going into the water.

~Nietzsche, The Gay Science 173 (trans. Walter Kaufmann)

In short, what value is there in the crowd when the crowd is n’t truly seeking the benefits (by braving the dangers) of wading past the shallows.  Thinkers such as Ghazali and Kierkegaard compare the search for wisdom or knowledge as diving into the sea.  The sea is dangerous — it swallows many and returns few.

This is why trying to be deep is a waste — it smacks of wanting to laugh at dangers without pursuing any lasting end.  In short it is being gulped by the shallows.


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