To make the poem of the human conscience, were it only with reference to a single man, were it only in connection with the basest of men, would be to blend all epics into one superior and definitive epic. Conscience is the chaos of chimeras, of lusts, and of temptations; the furnace of dreams; the lair of ideas of which we are ashamed; it is the pandemonium of sophisms; it is the battlefield of the passions. Penetrate, at certain hours, past the livid face of a human being who is engaged in reflection, and look behind, gaze into that soul, gaze into that obscurity. There, beneath that external silence, battles of giants, like those recorded in Homer, are in progress; skirmishes of dragons and hydras and swarms of phantoms, as in Milton; visionary circles, as in Dante. What a solemn thing is this infinity which every man bears within him, and which he measures with despair against the caprices of his brain and the actions of his life!
by Victor Hugo, translated by Isabel F. Hapgood
Araragi, do you know of Shogi?
It’s actually a simple game. If you look at it in general, it’s quite superficial. The number of each piece and its respective movements are predetermined. The board’s design is immutable. Every detail is limited, ergo the possibilities are restricted from the very beginning of the game.
However, in spite of that, only the best of Shogi players are all geniuses.
Only these geniuses can attain the highest position in such a game where fools are separated from geniuses. Why do you think that is so?
It is because Shogi is a game of speed. The professionals will all definitely have their clocks with them next to the board. Regardless of all the strict rules, the potential for enjoyment exists only because this is a game with a limiting factor of time.
The true focus lies in the amount of time it takes for you to make a decision. In other words, you can only be as intelligent as you are fast. Any person can apply a famous strategy if he or she had the time. The main point is to just not waste any time.
And these limitations aren’t solely unique to Shogi. Our lives are limited as well. The true focus lies in the amount ot time it takes for you to make a decision. Basically, it all comes to how quickly you can think.
Speaking as a person who has lived longer than you, I shall give you some advice:
Make sure you don’t over-think things.
From what I’ve seen in my life, people who are too occupied in their own thoughts are just as easy to fool as people who don’t even think at all.
Think moderately. Act moderately.
That’s the lesson for you here.
- Kaiki Deishū
We stand upon the brink of a precipice. We peer into the abyss – we grow sick and dizzy. Our first impulse is to shrink from the danger. Unaccountably we remain. By slow degrees our sickness, and dizziness, and horror, become merged in a cloud of unnameable feeling. By gradations, still more imperceptible, this cloud assumes shape, as did the vapor from the bottle out of which arose the genius in the Arabian Nights. But out of this our cloud upon the precipice’s edge, there grows into palpability, a shape, far more terrible than any genius, or any demon of a tale, and yet it is but a thought, although a fearful one, and one which chills the very marrow of our bones with the fierceness of the delight of its horror. It is merely the idea of what would be our sensations during the sweeping precipitancy of a fall from such a height. And this fall – this rushing annihilation – for the very reason that it involves that one most ghastly and loathsome of all the most ghastly and loathsome images of death and suffering which have ever presented themselves to our imagination – for this very cause do we now the most vividly desire it. And because our reason violently deters us from the brink, therefore, do we the more impetuously approach it. There is no passion in nature so demoniacally impatient, as that of him, who shuddering upon the edge of a precipice, thus meditates a plunge. To indulge for a moment, in any attempt at thought, is to be inevitably lost; for reflection but urges us to forbear, and therefore it is, I say, that we cannot. If there be no friendly arm to check us, or if we fail in a sudden effort to prostrate ourselves backward from the abyss, we plunge, and are destroyed.
The Imp of the Perverse
by Edgar Allan Poe 1845
(Source: Flickr / chaoticmind75)