[ I know that in order to succeed in life ]Notes on poetics and ethics
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I know that in order to succeed in life, and to elicit respect, one needs seriousness. And yet it is difficult for me to be serious, and I do not appreciate seriousness.
     Let me explain myself. I like seriousness only in serious matters; meaning half an hour, or a full hour, or two or three hours of seriousness per day. Quite often, of course, almost a full day’s worth of seriousness.
     Otherwise, I like jokes and jocularity, intelligently phrased irony, humbugging.
     But one cannot have this.
     It impedes business.
     Because for the most part, you have to deal with persons who are stupid and ignorant. These are always serious. They have long faces, with an animal seriousness; inconceivable for them to joke, since they do not understand. Their serious faces are a mirage. Every single thing is a problem and a difficulty for their ignorance and their stupidity, and that is why seriousness permeates their faces like those of cattle, or sheep (animals have very serious expressions).
     The jocular person is generally scorned, or at least he is not regarded as important, does not inspire much conviction.
     That is why I too contrive to present a serious façade in public. I discovered that it helps my affairs greatly. Inside of me, I laugh and jest a lot.

26 October 1908

Translated by Manuel Savidis


- Original Greek Text