The five colors blind the eyes of man;
The five musical notes deafen the ears of man;
The five flavors dull the taste of man;
Horse-racing, hunting and chasing madden the minds of man;
Rare, valuable goods keep their owners awake at night.
Therefore the Sage:
Provides for the belly and not the eye.
Hence, he rejects the one and accepts the other.
(Lao Tzu: Tao Te King, 12)
Los cinco colores ciegan al hombre.
Los cinco sonidos ensordecen al hombre.
Los cinco sabores embotan al hombre.
La carrera y la caza ofuscan al hombre.
Los tesoros corrompen al hombre.
Por eso, el sabio atiende al vientre y no al ojo.
Por eso, rechaza esto y prefiere aquello.
There are three acts in a man’s life which no one ought either to advise another to do or not to do. The first is to contract matrimony, the second is to go to the wars, the third is to visit the Holy Sepulchre. I say that these acts are good in themselves, but they may easily turn out ill; and when this is so, he who gave the advice comes to be blamed as if he were the cause of its turning out ill.
(Eberhard VI Count of Württemberg,
quoted by Felix Fabri in The Wanderings of Felix Fabri)
We live haphazard, we die haphazard, rudderless, with sails bellying. A wind blows. Where it blows, there we go. Water rushes into our ship, we work at the pumps day and night. But the water keeps rising and the pumps are rusty. The wretched things won’t work any more, and we go to the bottom. That’s human life, and you can yell as loud as you like. What’s our duty? To serve the pumps day and night, not to fold our arms, not to complain, not to moan. We ought not give up shamefully, but to work at the pumps day and night. That much I’ve learned from life, and you can take it or leave it!
Today’s quote is a piece of advice from George Orwell regarding reading about the Spanish civil war. But the advice applies to reading all historical sources and eye-witness accounts – history students take note. 🙂
La cita de hoy es un consejo de George Orwell para quienes leen sobre la guerra civil española. Pero es un consejo que tenemos que seguir siempre cuando leemos obras históricas y informes de testigos – estudiantes de historia, toma nota. 🙂
And I hope that the account I have given is not too misleading. I believe that on such an issue as this no one is or can be completely truthful. It is difficult to be certain about anything except what you have seen with your own eyes, and consciously or unconsciously everyone writes as a partisan.
In case I have not said this somewhere earlier in the book I will say it now: beware of my partisanship, my mistakes of fact and the distortion inevitably caused by my having seen only one corner of events. And beware of exactly the same things when you read any other book on this period of the Spanish civil war.
(George Orwell: Homage to Catalonia)
Y espero que mi relato no haya sido demasiado confuso. Creo que, con respecto a un acontecimiento como éste, nadie es o puede ser completamente veraz. Sólo se puede estar seguro de lo que se ha visto con los propios ojos y, consciente o inconscientemente, todos escribimos con parcialidad.
Si no lo he dicho en alguna otra parte de este libro, lo diré ahora: cuidado con mi parcialidad, mis errores factuales y la deformación que inevitablemente produce el que yo sólo haya podido ver una parte de los hechos. Pero cuidado también con lo mismo al leer cualquier otro libro acerca de este período de la guerra española.
(George Orwell: Homage to Catalonia / Homenaje a Cataluña)
And thou wilt give thyself relief if thou doest every act of thy life as if it were the last, laying aside all carelessness and passionate aversion from the commands of reason, and all hypocrisy, and self-love, and discontent with the portion which has been given to thee.
(Marcus Aurelius: The Thoughts)
A very Zen-like advice from the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, aka ‘the philosopher king’.
That which is at rest is easily kept hold of; before a thing has given indications of its presence, it is easy to take measures against it; that which is brittle is easily broke; that which is very small is easily dispersed. Action should be taken before a thing has made its appearance, order should be secured before disorder has begun.
(Tao Te Ching 64:1)
Lo que está en reposo es fácil de retener.
Lo que no ha sucedido es fácil de resolver.
Lo que es frágil es fácil de romper.
Lo que es menudo es fácil de dispersar.
Prevenir antes de que suceda,
y ordenar antes de la confusión.
He who lightly promises is sure to keep but little faith; he who is continually thinking things easy is sure to find them difficult. Therefore, the sage sees difficulty even in what seems easy, and so never has any difficulties.
(Lao Tse: Tao Teh King 63:3)
El que promete a la ligera
merece poco crédito.
El que todo lo encuentra fácil
difícil le será todo.
Por esto, el sabio en todo considera la dificultad,
y en nada la halla.