193: Ai de Nós!

As obras escritas, em todos os muitos gêneros, são em grande parte meros acidentes, ondas fortuitas, que não chegam a ficar incorporadas, realmente incorporadas, nessa pirâmide das grandes ofertas que o homem faz ao homem. Se não tiram, também não acrescentam. Formam depósitos secundários de que vivem os livreiros e as traças. Funcionam como os assuntos do dia, escândalos ou banquetes, não chegando a ser propriamente obras, mas acontecimentos. Entram no calendário, nos salões, nas colunas da crítica e muitas vezes nas academias, mas não aderem ao compacto e concreto mundo da verdade. Têm a natureza dos passos de dança de que nem o chão guarda memória, ou a semelhança do palito que só entretém um breve e subalterno contato com o alimento.

Há escritores (ai de nós!) cujo maior título é uma pontualidade ou uma atitude: estar escrevendo. Vivem num particípio presente que não participa de um presente. Estão na literatura como os generais na ativa. Reformados, vai-se-lhes o prestígio; mortos, fica um registro nos almanaques e outro na sepultura. Há no mundo dois mundos, um de pedra e outro de neblina: geologia e meteorologia. Na literatura há também montanhas e brisas. Os livros que encontramos são, na maior parte, como as corrente de ar; e sua leitura tem a brevidade e o enfado de uma gripe. Leu-se; sofreu-se; acabou-se.

(Gustavo Corção, “Reflexões Inúteis sobre Escritores Inúteis.” In: Três Alqueires e uma Vaca. Rio de Janeiro: Livraria Agir Editora, 1955, pp. 14–15).

193: Ai de Nós!

192: Unfamiliar Words.

Filling a story with technical terms, acronyms, and superfluous words will only serve to lose or bore your audience. Hippocrates (medicine’s oath-of-ethics author) wrote: “The chief virtue that language can have is clearness, and nothing detracts from it so much as the use of unfamiliar words.”

(Jennifer Aaker, “The Seven Deadly Sins of Storytelling,” Stanford Business, July 3, 2013).

192: Unfamiliar Words.

191: Idéias Definitivas.

A doutrina evolucionista de Herbert Spencer, embora não negue, põe em dúvida o valor da Metafísica e afirma que todo o conhecimento está contido nas ciências. Esta filosofia naturalista, simplista e simplificadora, condizia com a mentalidade dos letrados, quase todos autodidatas, pouco inclinados às abstrações, aceitando facilmente tudo quanto dispensasse “um trabalho mental contínuo e fatigante.” As idéias definitivas (ou as que assim lhes afiguravam ser) pareciam-lhes “constituir a verdadeira essência da sabedoria.”

É mister, porém, dizer que não foi apenas no Brasil que as filosofias inspiradas nas Ciências Naturais (que tão grandes progressos fizeram na segunda metade do século XIX) tiveram grande aceitação. O Naturalismo avassalou os meios cultos do tempo e essa época foi avessa à reflexão filosófica. Uma espécie de idolatria da Ciência, desprovida do necessário senso crítico, caracteriza esse cientificismo vulgar que também teve vigência no Brasil.

A elite brasileira da época, voltairiana, cética, encontraria mais uma síntese filosófica que justificava a sua atitude política, social e até religiosa, pois, como diz Engels, o próprio agnosticismo era uma maneira de aceitar o materialismo e de renegá-lo publicamente.

(Cruz Costa, Panorama da História da Filosofia no Brasil. São Paulo: Editôra Cultrix, 1960, pp. 49–50).

191: Idéias Definitivas.

189: Congenial Minds.

Congenial minds approximate and combine. — “Idem velle, idem nolle, ea demum firma est amicitia.” — And a consent in studies is the sweetest and the most humanizing of all the bonds by which educated men can be united. Blessed be the recollection of the hours when we strayed in unreserved companionship with those whose early tastes and habits were similar to our own; and delighted mutually to shape our future views, and to be the depositaries and the communicators of our respective acquirements. They are sunny spots in that portion of existence which has already elapsed, and upon which we never look back without feelings of grateful and affectionate remembrance. But well we can also remember, that the instances were not a few in which academic residence was any thing but an advantage. In colleges, as well as elsewhere, there is bad society as well as good; and as much as those who are fortunate in the choice of their companions are better, so much at least are those who are in that respect unfortunate worse off than the students residing in the country. How often have we seen talents abused, time wasted, health impaired, reputation lost, morals corrupted, ail in consequence of unhappy intimacies, which led to a criminal neglect of those opportunities of improvement, which could never afterwards be retrieved, and to an indulgence in vicious pursuits and propensities, which could scarcely ever afterwards be resisted!

(“The Dublin University,” Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, Vol. XXVI, No. 155, 1829, p. 169).

189: Congenial Minds.

188: The Same Desires and the Same Aversions.

That friendship may be at once fond and lasting, there must not only be equal virtue on each part, but virtue of the same kind; not only the same end must be proposed, but the same means must be approved by both. We are often, by superficial accomplishments and accidental endearments, induced to love those whom we cannot esteem; we are sometimes, by great abilities, and incontestible evidences of virtue, compelled to esteem those whom we cannot love. But friendship, compounded of esteem and love, derives from one its tenderness and its permanence from the other; and therefore requires not only that its candidates should gain the judgment, but that they should attract the affections; that they should not only be firm in the day of distress, but gay in the hour of jollity; not only useful in exigences, but pleasing in familiar life; their presence should give cheerfulness as well as courage, and dispel alike the gloom of fear and of melancholy.

To this mutual complacency is generally requisite an uniformity of opinions, at least of those active and conspicuous principles which discriminate parties in government, and sects in religion, and which every day operate more or less on the common business of life. For though great tenderness has, perhaps, been sometimes known to continue be tween men eminent in contrary factions; yet such friends are to be shewn rather as prodigies than examples, and it is no more proper to regulate our conduct by such instances, than to leap a precipice, because some have fallen from it and escaped with life.

It cannot but be extremely difficult to preserve private kindness in the midst of public opposition, in which will necessarily be involved a thousand incidents extending their influence to conversation and privacy. Men engaged, by moral or religious motives, in contrary parties, will generally look with different eyes upon every man, and decide almost every question upon different principles. When such occasions of dispute happen, to comply is to betray our cause, and to maintain friendship by ceasing to deserve it; to be silent is to lose the happiness and dignity of independence, to live in perpetual constraint, and to desert, if not to betray: and who shall determine which of two friends shall yield, where neither believes himself mistaken, find both confess the importance of the question? What then remains but contradiction and debate? And from those what can be expected, but acrimony, and vehemence, the insolence of triumph, the vexation of defeat, and, in time, a weariness of contest, and an extinction of benevolence? Exchange of endearments and intercourse of civility may continue, indeed, as boughs may for awhile be verdant, when the root is wounded; but the poison of discord is infused, and though the countenance may preserve its smile, the heart is hardening and contracting.

(Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, Vol. 1. London: F.C. & J. Rivington, 1820, pp. 340–341).

188: The Same Desires and the Same Aversions.

187: With a Loud Voice.

A question was started, how far people who disagree in a capital point can live in friendship together. Johnson said they might. Goldsmith said they could not, as they had not the idem velle atque idem nolle — the same likings and the same aversions. JOHNSON. “Why, Sir, you must shun the subject as to which you disagree. For instance, I can live very well with Burke: I love his knowledge, his genius, his diffusion, and affluence of conversation; but I would not talk to him of the Rockingham party.” GOLDSMITH. “But, Sir, when people live together who have something as to which they disagree, and which they want to shun, they will be in the situation mentioned in the story of Bluebeard: ‘You may look into all the chambers but one.’ But we should have the greatest inclination to look into that chamber, to talk of that subject.” JOHNSON, (with a loud voice) “Sir, I am not saying that you could live in friendship with a man from whom you differ as to some point; I am only saying that could do it.

(James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, Vol. 2. London: George Routledge & Sons, 1885, p. 153).

187: With a Loud Voice.