david hume on pleasure and fame

November 8, 2010

“In an view to pleasure, what comparison between the unbought satisfaction of conversation, society, study, even health and the common beauties of nature, (and) above all the peaceful reflection on one’s own conduct”.


“another spring of  our constitution, that brings great addition of force to moral sentiment, is, the love of fame; which rules, with such uncontrolled authority, in all generous minds, and is often the grand object of all their designs and undertakings. By our continual and earnest pursuit of a character, a name, a reputation in the world, we bring our own deportment and conduct frequently in review, and consider how they appear in the eyes of those, who approach and regard us. This constant habit of surveying ourselves, and it were, in reflection, keeps alive all the sentiments of right and wring, and begets, in noble natures, a certain reverence for themselves as well as others; which is the surest guardian of every virtue. The animal conveniencies and pleasures sink gradually in their value; while every inward beauty and moral grace is studiously acquired, and in the mind is accomplished in every perfection, which can adorn or embellish and rational creature”.

blabla fuckin bla

I suspect it’s a compulsion sometimes. But if it isn’t entirely, then it may be relevant to ask – why fame?

As a poet, one would have to write for something more than poetry’s sake. Whatever that might be, it would involve “moving people”. They would have to get past the first word, the first line, first paragraph, chapter, book, the works, the framework, the genre, the cannon, the discipline, the medium, the culture, expression itself. Mastering the little that says everything and everything that can be said to make an argument for good, at least for some time.

But then what? for what? fame for what? what do you want to say? why do you want to take people away from themselves, to cause such a disturbance, sometimes so far as to hurt? to be listened to? to be acknowledged, to be loved… why? why do you want to be loved? so that you don’t have to recognize the love that you do have? why not recognize? you would have to appreciate people who are few and little, and those that don’t even know you.. Could everybody be famed?



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