Gait

It is hard to be understood, especially when one thinks and lives gangasrotagati among men who think and live differently — namely, karmagati, or at best “the way frogs walk,” mandukagati (I obviously do everything to be “hard to understand” myself!)…

~Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (27) (trans. Walter Kaufmann) [I have failed to render the diacritical marks here]

The comparison of several gaits leads me to consider the value of being understood, or more precisely: to question when it may be worth the effort.  If one can and does run swiftly as the Ganges’ current, how is a poor turtle or a frog to keep up? or, why should the mighty river slow its flow to a crawl in hopes of being heard?

Questioning the value of expending effort in being understood may seem unnatural.  Of course we wish to be understood, at least insofar as we hope to have our demands met.  But it is n’t so clear as all that: the Ganges’ life is qualitatively different from the tortoise’.  Whether Nietzsche would affirm the value of the turtle and of the river is beside my point; while they certainly interact the turtle cannot understand what the current is babbling on about at such a hurried, if mellifluous, rate because it cannot reinitiate such thoughts into its own discourse.  The tortoise cannot enact what the Ganges tells it; a life swift-flowing is neither attainable (easily) nor desired.

Further, the tortoise, as the frog, is experienced compositely while the Ganges’ movement is well expressed.  While our lives are expressed in motion, the running together, the influx and outflow, and the smoothing out of all it comes into contact with are identifiable with the river, not the slow-movers.  The flow is nearer the heartbeat of life; as such the turtle ought to learn to hop and the frog needs to leap so as to better keep time, time bespoken so quickly it may numb the ear.

It is not that life never whispers, it is that our ears are keeping time with our feet.

Who should set the pace?

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