Saturday, December 24, 2011

Number Twenty-Four

Das Glück begreifen, daß der Boden, auf dem du stehst, nicht größer sein kann, als die zwei Füße ihn bedecken.

Grasping the good fortune that the ground on which you are standing cannot be larger than the two feet covering it. [Kaiser/Wilkins]

Grasp the good fortune that the ground on which you stand cannot be any bigger than the two feet planted on it. [Hofmann]


Is this nonsense? Deleuze pointed out in The Logic of Sense that nonsense is more than the mere absence of sense -- which would be only gibberish -- it's the simulation of sense. I mistrust all the various ideas this aphorism gives me, because they seem uselessly prosaic.

Arguably, the most important word in the aphorism is "bedecken," which means "to cover." Hofmann's translation involves a nuance of stability or resolution that is not entailed in covering. The good fortune is that the ground is covered by the feet; what is to be grasped firmly is the good fortune.

Why fortunate? Because this means that things are scaled to your size and no larger. You are not and cannot be out of your depth.

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