“Thus Purred Catius’ Cat” – A New Exercise In Summarizing Basic Epicurean Doctrine
I have been working over the recent holidays to prepare a presentation on Epicureanism suitable for the absolute beginning student, approachable even for children. As I worked further on the project I decided to proceed to the logical conclusion, and I produced the summary in the form of a children’s nursery rhyme – not to be confused with the art of a “poem.” I wish more were known about Catius Insuber, the Roman Epicurean writer whose name I employed for the title, but I hope my use of his name here does not slander his memory too much! Certainly the Stoic Cicero did not seem to think highly of him, so perhaps this is small blow toward reminding the modern world of his existence as an Epicurean trailblazer.
I hope to expand the project to eventually release this as a dedicated website to make it accessible to more people, but today I am releasing the Epub/ebook version, along with a video version which contains the text read aloud by a computer voice that I think is excellent. If you prefer to view on Youtube, click here.
This work contains my latest thinking on a variety of subjects, most notably on the role of Anticipations as the third leg of the canon, as well as the importance of “strength” in the study of Nature and the pursuit of happy living.
I have not intended to introduce any new speculation in this text, and as time goes by I hope to produce a revised edition which provides cites for each verse to the relevant Epicurean text. I recognize that some of these interpretations are non-standard, and as is generally the case they reflect my understanding of the positions on these issues taken by Norman W. DeWitt. Of course, I may still have managed to misunderstand DeWitt’s position, so all errors are of course attributable only to me.
As with all of my ebooks, the material is free of charge. My main goal in producing and distributing this material is to obtain the enjoyment that comes from producing it, and also to expand my circle of like-minded friends with whom I can discuss Epicurean philosophy. Publishing the poem as an ebook allows it to be distributed easily to marketers such as Barnes & Noble and the Apple Ibook store, but the downloads remain free there as well. I will post this link to the Facebook page, and I will look forward to your comments there. For ready reference I have also included the “Introduction” section to the poem in the ebook version, as well as the text of the poem itself, beneath the video below.
Links to: Epub/ebook version, the video version, and the full collection of Cassius Amicus Ebooks on Smashwords.
The Children of Epicurus – Past, Present, And Future,
To The Memory Of Catius Insuber
“Friendship dances around the world,
bidding us all to awaken to the recognition of happiness.”
“Lisping babies, even speechless animals, prompted by Nature’s teaching, can almost find the voice to proclaim to us that in life there is no welfare but pleasure, no hardship but pain – and their judgment in these matters is neither corrupted nor biased. Ought we then not to feel the greatest gratitude to Epicurus, the man who listened to these words from Nature’s own voice, and grasped their meaning so firmly and so fully that he was able to guide all sane-minded men into the path of peace and happiness, of calmness and repose?
Epicurus refused to consider any education to be worthy of the name if it did not teach us the means to live happily. Was Epicurus to spend his time, as you encourage Triarius and me to do, perusing the poets, who give us nothing solid and useful, but only childish amusement? Was Epicurus to occupy himself like Plato, with music and geometry, arithmetic and astronomy, which are at best mere tools, and which, if they start from false premises, can never reveal truth or contribute anything to make our lives happier and therefore better?
Was Epicurus to study the limited arts such as these, and neglect the master art, so difficult but correspondingly so fruitful, the art of living? No! It was not Epicurus who was uninformed. The truly uneducated are those who ask us to go on studying until old age the subjects that we ought to be ashamed not to have learned when we were children!” – Cicero, On Ends
If this is your first reading, please skip this introduction and proceed straight to the poem, for it needs no introduction.
If you have already read the poem, or are simply interested to know more about its background, then read on.
Of all the ebooks I have prepared, this is the first which is a translation rather than a compilation or a personal commentary. I am authorized to state that Catius’ Cat has presented this poem to me for translation as a summary of what she teaches all of her own kittens – at an early age – as an outline of what they can expect to find as they grow older and study Nature themselves. Therefore she has not attempted to argue anything in detail, but only to provide the tools with which all new kittens may pursue their own happy lives within the House of Catius.
Catius’ Cat has also warned me to emphasize that none of this material constitutes original thinking on her part. Each of the verses is a direct application of doctrine from the texts of Epicurus and Lucretius as preserved within the House of Catius. Catius’ Cat tells me that she is aware that some of this material, especially that on Anticipations, is a matter of controversy even in the Epicurean community. She reassures me, however that this presentation contains her most advanced and current understanding of the topic.
I am informed that Catius’ Cat is not entirely fond of Englishmen, who are understood to prefer bulldogs over cats. Nevertheless, she directs anyone wishing to study further on the topic of anticipations to her favorite English author, Jackson Barwis, and to his essay “Dialogue on Innate Principles.” She has further asked me to stress that her perspectives on Epicureanism are based on those of the professor she considers to be the most reliable modern interpreter of Epicureanism, Norman W. DeWitt, especially as presented in his book Epicurus And His Philosophy.
I am also instructed to apologize that this poem has not addressed the Epicurean way of living and thinking in even greater detail. Catius’ Cat struggled to decide which topics were essential for a beginner, and which could be omitted for the sake of a digestible meal, but she was not entirely satisfied with the result. I am informed that if Catius’ Cat decides to purr further for public consumption in the future, she will be sure to elaborate on the following:
The references to “dancing” as a description of the proper operation of Nature’s three-legged stool should be clear enough, but the analogy could be developed much further. Proper thinking requires us to process artfully all of the data we obtain through each of the three legs. Dancing is thus an apt analogy for what we do as we – in an intelligent and coordinated manner – focus all our mental and physical capabilities to pursue whatever new evidence we encounter, no matter what twists and turns may be required.
The verses devoted to rules for avoiding error address only a small part of the process of sifting through the evidence provided by our senses. Life requires that – at a certain point – we must judge that we have enough information to conclude that a thing is “true,” and we must act on that judgment. If we are to live happily we must judge well which matters we can safely hold to be “true” and which matters must be considered provisional, to await further evidence. Catius’ Cat stresses to all her kittens that once a fundamental judgment is confirmed by clear evidence from each leg of the stool (for example, that the nature of a divine being is to be perfect, without anger, gratitude, or the disposition to trouble anyone else), then we must vigorously reject any speculations that would contradict such an established truth. This is the meaning of the injunction to keep the “sure” and the “not sure” far apart in our minds.
The poem addresses the highly controversial subject of the nature of the gods, but Catius’ Cat would have preferred to emphasize further the fact that no god or gods created Nature, and that indeed the truth is quite the reverse. She is also aware that in common usage the word “god” is understood to imply “all-powerful.” This she of course rejects as nonsense, as did her ancestors. She chose, however, to follow the prudent guideline that detailed discussion of the nature of the gods is inherently speculative and rarely worth the time – even though this meant omitting her view that the gods speak not only Greek but also Latin, and a dialect of Siamese as well.
Catius’ Cat also regrets not having elaborated on Nature’s “tuning” of the three-legged stool for our use. She thinks that it is very helpful to draw the analogy that just as our eyes and our ears are tuned to receive sights and sounds only within a certain range of wavelengths, the other two legs are likewise “tuned” to receive input only within a certain range set by Nature as acceptable. But once again she reminds me to refer readers to Jackson Barwis for further study.
And last – but far from least – Catius’ Cat purrs that it is not possible to stress strongly enough that the central message of Epicurus is to look to NATURE for guidance, not to “virtue,” not to the gods, and not to any speculations of the Academy. She teaches her kittens that “Pleasure” does not exist without a context, and that all kittens must understand that pleasure is but the signal Nature uses to guide us toward a life of happiness – the type of life to which Nature calls all living beings. Catius’ Cat is quite disgusted that so many ages men have alleged that Epicurus held the excitement of momentary pleasure to be the goal of human life. She is fond of pointing out that the same Lucretius who referred to “Divine Pleasure, Guide of Life,” began his own poem with a hymn singing the praise of a benevolent Nature, and not praise of luxury and dissipation. If Catius’ Cat chooses to purr poetically again, she assures me that she will drive home this point with even greater feline persistence.
In closing, I should also point out that in composing the cover of this ebook I have selected images of (1) a bust of Epicurus uncovered in Herculaneum, (2) a section of the ancient Boscoreale “skeleton cup” showing the three-legged stool next to a representation of Epicurus himself, and (3) an image of our author Catius’ Cat herself. Peace and Safety! Cassius Amicus, January 2013
Thus Purred Catius’ Cat Glad is the cat who laughs and sings, and studies and learns the Nature of Things. 1. Long years ago, in a land far away, Lived a man with his cats who were wise in their way. Catius’ home was near Rome, but the path he did seek, He had learned from the words of a very wise Greek. 2. Now Catius’ Cat had a curious mind, Of the sort that makes cats such a curious kind, So when Catius studied, from scrolls not a few, Catius’ Cat and her kittens were studying too. 3. Those years now are gone, and though strange 'tis to say, Catius’ family and scrolls have now all passed away. But the Catius Cats and their kittens - a lot! Are still with us today and have never forgot. 4. We will now meet the latest of Catius’ line. The pride of their House, and the grandest feline. With wisdom beyond all the cats in the land, Let us ask her advice, she will lend us a hand. 5. “Catius’ Cat” I am called by my friends even now, If you wish to live well I will gladly show how. But no cat can think for you, nor would I suggest, That you should just "trust" me, not even in jest. 6. It is Nature I teach, and of Her I am smitten; I love Her no less than I love my own kitten. For those questions where "trust" is the only right answer, I trust Nature to lead me through life like a dancer. 7. And how do we follow the tune that She leads? With the gifts that She gives us, we have no more needs. To see, hear, touch, smell, and to taste - All these five, Are the first gifts of Nature to keep us alive. 8. As I teach my own kittens, this you too must see, That this group of five senses forms one leg of three. To look further we stand on a stool - firm - unshaken, But only if none of three legs has been taken. 9. The other two legs are in no way less plain; The next leg has two parts we call "pleasure" and "pain." Sugar is sweet; lemon’s sour for example; We taste pleasure from pain with but only a sample. 10. The third leg of our stool, standing in the next station, Is what we refer to as "Anticipation." When you see kittens hide, or dogs learn to obey, This leg has disposed in its Natural way. 11. What? You say mind is at birth but a blank? And for all that you know your own thoughts are to thank? Well who taught you that water feels good? Fire painful? The same Nature disposes your mind to be playful. 12. So before we move on, let us be very clear: No baby knows Santa Claus, hot dogs, or deer. But kittens are shy, puppies friendlier acting, And to men Nature gives minds so much more abstracting. 13. When we say two plus two equals four we say "yes." But are we really concerned if our "yes" is a guess? Not so with those things that tug strong at our heart, Here Anticipations play a much greater part. 14. You insist to me now that I give you a list? Of Anticipations your teachers have missed? Shall you list in your turn what you see, hear, and smell? Listing Anticipations would work just as well. 15. List the things that your eyes, or your ears or your nose, Report to be blue - to be loud, or a rose, And I’ll tell you in turn, we grasp types of relations, Like justice and friendship through anticipations. 16. Let me tell you again, that this third leg of three, Does not mean that a baby at birth knows a tree, But just as our eyes bring us trees at first sight, Our Anticipations bring concepts to light. 17. Now let's step back and think, do you hear what I say? These three legs work together to show us the way. For Nature has blessed us with these legs for using, And tuned them to sense what we need for our choosing. 18. And how do we find these three legs work together? Should they swing to and fro like in hurricane weather? For our legs to stand firm, and leave nothing to chance, We must teach them to learn, as it were, how to dance. 19. Come, think with me now and an error expose; And consider, at birth our cats’ eyelids are closed, Should we throw up our paws and consider them blind? No! We wait for them to open in Nature’s good time! 20. When our babies cry out, should we set our hands wringing? No! For we know that in time they are soon to be singing! Just so, when we’re born in so helpless a station, We should not from this think there’s no anticipation. 21. And here you must see, that we can’t leave to chance, The training of legs that must learn how to dance. We must work to improve what we have as our tool, To rise up and see better - our three legged stool. 22. So what do you ask me? You kick my stool down? You say "I am a man! Is not 'reason' my crown? And what of my priest who lives down by the steeple? Does he not say "God speaks -- but just to his own people?" 23. Forgive me one moment; I must shed three tears, For I hear in your questions the echo of years, As you ask me what men asked in Rome long ago, They asked Catius too, but with minds that were closed. 24. Yet I answer you now as he answered before, "Three legs Nature gives you; not two and not four, Nature gives you these tools; and She gives you no others, These tools are for all -- children, fathers, and mothers." 25. "'Tis all well and good" do I now hear you say? "What use are these three legs? I live for today!" Just listen then further, and I will continue, And lead you down paths Mother Nature walks with you. 26. When I teach my own kittens, there is one place I start, One lesson that serves as the core and the heart, For all of us - every old cat and young kitten, Ask "Where did this world come from? What secrets are hidden?" 27. And here our three legs give us wisdom to face, That we stare at the sky, yet see no end to space. And then what do we see, when we look close at something? Do we ever see new things appear from the “nothing”? 28. Fish do not fall from air -- men are not born in oceans, Cats do not bark like dogs, and no magical potions, Can make something rise up from thin air in a huff, Or a thing, once before us, disappear in a puff. 29. This then is the lesson, as clear as can be: Every thing comes from something: No seed? Then no tree! And we see this a fact of such very great meaning, That we must now step back to be sure what we're seeing. 30. We see no seeds created, or ever destroyed, Just constantly moving - all matter and void, An infinite cosmos - no "start" and no "end;" Through time everlasting, the galaxies spin. 31. And if all things we see come from one seed or more, Then how can we ask ourselves "What came before?" No, the seeds are eternal with no "First Creation," But ever and ever a new transformation. 32. Nothing new, nothing gone, this our eyes tell us plainly, With the seeds ever moving by their own laws mainly, But we know that at times some seeds swerve even still, And from this we derive our most precious free will. 33. We cats choose our own path, this our eyes tell us surely, And yet some men will tell us: "Fate governs us purely," "Fate comes from our God," say the Sunday School preachers; "Fate comes from our brains," say Academy teachers. 34. And what do we see from our three-legged stool? What does Nature herself teach her cats through this tool? "Fate is nonsense!" she says, and “We cats who have whiskers, We will clean them at will, not when god sends us whispers.” 35. And some men will tell you: "There is no need to glance, At the Nature of Things - there is only "chance." And "all that occurs happens only at random," "You need not seek pleasure -- 'tis only a phantom.” 36. And yet others will say that, "No thing can be known!" All the while they will offer their own truth to loan. Such men speak confusion, with sweet words that glisten; But there is no truth in them, so don't even listen. 37. Such men, you must know, are not friends to a cat, For they close eyes and ears and yet ask us to chat, As if all that we see were a game and illusion, And Nature had left us in total confusion. 38. What these men all mean is: "Do not trust your sense!" Even while they say "Trust me!" But at what great expense! So never forget this as long as you live, There is no truth beyond that which Nature can give. 39. And Nature has blessed us with three legs for using, To gather the facts that we need for our choosing. In those times when "trust" is the only right answer, Trust Nature to lead you through life like a dancer. 40. Father Catius has taught us the rules for avoiding, The errors of men who we find so annoying. And if you’ll keep these rules very firmly in mind, You will never be caught in a trap of their kind. 41. The first of these rules let us put on the table: We have no way to know what is fact and what's fable, Without using what Nature provides as our tool, To rise up and see better - our three legged stool. 42. As for those men who say that these legs are defective, They have nothing to go on - no help or detective, To know true from false: through what eyes was their sight? With what ears did they listen to hear wrong from right? 43. But the problem’s not solved when we see contradiction, We must learn for ourselves to see past all the fiction. When you walk toward a ledge, don’t trust other men’s fences, Have the courage and nerve – look yourself – trust your senses! 44. The next rule is not for the lazy of mind, But which cats catch more mice? Yes, the diligent kind: For at times we aren’t sure what it is that we know, And we do not see clearly how far we can go. 45. So when new things arise that we come to confront, No cat closes his eyes, No! We go on a hunt, We seek clues to the new in the old things we know, And we follow where-ever the evidence goes. 46. The key to this process is not hard to see: There are things we see clearly, and others that be, Too far distant to state, whether rounded or square, And for those we will "wait," til we walk over there. 47. In this way cut through lies of the very worst sort: Keep apart what is true from what needs more support, And before you decide what is wrong and what's right, Make sure you grasp both with the clearest of sight. 48. And here once again let us put out on the table, There are things far beyond those of which we are able, To tell true from false -- not in full, not in part, At such times there is one place we always must start. 49. Some things you’ll find "certain," some others "less stable," You may not know the reason, but of this you are able: Keep the "sure" and "not sure" far apart in your thinking, And your mind will not into confusion be sinking. 50. For Nature has blessed us with three legs for using, To gather the facts that we need for our choosing. For those questions where "trust" is the only right answer, Trust Nature to lead you through life like a dancer. 51. And now let us turn to those things that are keeping, So many old cats and young kittens from sleeping. For cats to live happily, this they require: In the study of Nature, they must never tire. 52. Now observe what you see as you look all about, Nature makes more than one - we find more if we scout, Not just one dog, one frog, just one tree or one stone, And neither did Nature make this Earth alone. 53. The skies have no end, nor is this, our Earth single. As the stars wheel around, countless worlds near them mingle. And on those worlds live cats with minds so much like ours, Some with minds that are smaller, some that over man’s tower. 54. And now please recall our third leg, and its station. The one -- as I said -- we call Anticipation. Hear me now very clearly, for I have much to tell, I say "gods" do exist, as men's hearts tell them well. 55. But all words must have meaning, and with "gods" know one thing, More than anything else that about them we sing. We mean "gods" that are perfect, and truly divine, With no anger in them, no need to say "mine." 56. So next time some preacher proclaims "Your reward, Will come only in heaven, after life that is hard, Remember these words and you'll find satisfaction: "Why would god who is perfect need preachers for action?" 57. No! A god who is perfect has no need of preachers, Nor any of those self-appointed as teachers, True gods are immortal and happy and blessed, But still creatures of Nature, just like all the rest. 58. And then there are those who are troubled, it's said, By the fear of what's waiting for them when they're dead. And kittens and old cats and men now as ever, Are sad that they cannot live on for forever. 59. These troubles weigh down on the weak and the strong, But especially on those who do not study long. For Nature has answered these very same questions, But we must seek her out before learning her lessons. 60. Those things which can trouble us, only can be, What we touch, taste, or smell, or else hear or see. But in death these are gone – every one of our senses, Has left us forever, without need for defenses. 61. Do you think that you wish to live on for forever? Do you wish to experience all things whatsoever? When you climb on a branch do you look for the longest? Or do you first look around and then climb on the strongest. 62. When you go to a banquet which food do you pick? Do you just keep on eating until you get sick? No! You reach for the food which your taste tells you “best,” And you turn away pleased, leave behind all the rest. 63. Even so hear me now – this is very profound, You need not live forever - running ever around, For Nature sets limits to growth and to age, Without limits to lines, when would we have a page? 64. And what good does it do to pour more into glasses, If they leak quite as fast as our water-jug passes? We do not say “that glass serves us best which is tall,” What we seek is a full glass with no leaks at all. 65. Our own master Catius, he and the Greek, Who taught him so wisely our Nature to seek, Are gone -- but their passing brings no cause for sadness, For they lived full of honesty, wisdom, and gladness. 66. And just as they died, so one day we will too, But we'll leave those behind us these words that are true: "We have lived our lives wisely and fully and well, And we leave here with gladness and ask you to tell, 67. Tell our friends not to mourn us, for our minds are not sad, It is they who must learn, so their hearts remain glad, Spit on "Fate" and on "Chance," and on "Luck" and "Good Fortune," Live Wisely and make Peace and Safety your portion. 68. Live your lives free of fear, for despite what men preach, Nature offers men happiness - well within reach, Those pains which may bother us rarely are long, And we have ways to escape all those pains that are strong. 69. Now let's look at mistakes that we see some men make, Such as those who seek "power" as their path to take, And those who seek pleasure in silver and gold, Or they who love fame and the lure that it holds. 70. Look close and you’ll see that the same kind of error, Lurks in all these mistakes, and leads only to terror. Such men think their means are made right by their ends, But the pleasure they seek is found only in friends. 71. Think back and consider this very relation: What these men ignore is an Anticipation! For Nature prepares us, and our mind equips, To find greatest protection and joy in friendships. 72. Precious is he whom we come to call “friend,” And the wise man will stand by his friend to the end, But for those who love gold, fame, or power – don’t ask why! You need not try to change them. You should just pass them by! 73. Much pleasure you’ll find in those things that are simple, Not in grasping for more, or in holiest temple, If you tame your desires, the fruit you will see, You can live like a god, from anxiety free. 74. But again, let’s be clear – I would not have you take, From my words that what glitters is always mistake. There’s as much of an error in too simple living, As the woe of that life which to luxury’s given. 75. I’ll remind you again – we are born to live happily; Our goal is not gold, fame, power – or frugality. The wise cat calls happiness all he could ask, He knows no other goal but make gladness his task. 76. But happiness comes not from moments of pleasure, Followed by pains that are far worse in measure, Choose and avoid, with this one standard heeded: Choose only those pleasures both Natural and Needed. 77. If Nature had made us in some other way, Perhaps gold or power, or fame as men say, Would bring our hearts joy, would lead all to sing loud, As such things are believed by the men of the crowd. 78. But now let me tell you what cats know already, Crowds of men may seem fun, but they often are deadly. For there seems to be one rule, no matter the weather, Men lose their minds most when they most come together. 79. Do you think it's a fluke that both preachers and teachers, Are their worst when more men take more seats in their bleachers? No, we know for ourselves over ages and ages, The worst messages spread with more numerous pages. 80. Even Catius our master, and his great teacher Greek, Found but very few cats for their wisdom to speak, So don't look to the crowd, to the preachers or teachers, Look only to Nature, and study Her features. 81. There's another concern about which I must warn, And this is a subject that's truly forlorn, A problem I'd save you, if only I could, But here is the issue: the meaning of "good." 82. Do you think that the meaning of "good" is so clear? And you know any "evil" that comes to your ear? If only these words were so easy of meaning, But we think they are straight when they're actually leaning. 83. The issue is simple – not very complex, What one man thinks is "good" just does not suit the next. And what some men consider the worst of the "bad," Some other men think is the best to be had. 84. And I shudder to speak of a thing men call "virtue," But of all of the wisdom I know I must show you, Run away from that word just as fast as you can, For in "virtue" you'll find all the worst parts of man. 85. Do you say that your virtue is its own reward? That it is "higher truth" and the greatest award? I tell you that though to most men these sound grand, Such words have less substance than slippery sand. 86. And this is the problem with those who say “Reason,” Can tell us the "good," or the "bad," or the season: They forget that mere words go astray as a rule, Unless grounded in facts from the three-legged stool! 87. Once again, I remind you, look to Nature only! And leave the word games to the sick and the lonely, For some men enjoy playing games with illusions, And spreading to others their fears and confusions. 88. So commit this to heart and to mind as you're able: We have no way to know what is fact and what's fable, Without using what Nature provides as our tool, To rise up and see better - our three legged stool! 89. And now with the end of our lessons so near, I must not fail to show the direction to steer. And though pleasure you’ll find in much varying flavor, I will give you advice on what best you should savor. 90. The wise cat is strong of both body and mind, Undisturbed by pain now or the prospective kind. But to reach this great height is a matter of strength, The kind that drives fear far away at great length. 91. A strong cat will not worry of pain or of death, Nor will it fear gods when it takes its last breath, Such a cat will refuse to forget his past pleasure, He will hold it in mind to recall it at leisure. 92. Do you find it surprising that I speak of strength? Did you think that my wisdom would lead you to shrink? Like a litter of kittens – go running for cover? Who would sleep away life, leaving work to their mother? 93. It is true that I teach that a life without pain, Is the sweetest of things, and I say it again. But how do think you will grasp such a goal, If you cower and never come out of your hole? 94. Nature has made us to jump and to soar, All the while our minds conquer the fear and the roar, Of the preachers and teachers of fear and of doubt, Who would bar Nature’s gates and would not let us out. 95. But here I remind you that once long ago, Human life lay imprisoned, oppressed, and so low. But a great man of Greece burst the gates and the bars, And by his great vict’ry we reach for the stars. 96. Need I tell you, “Not all cats can jump to that height?” But that nevertheless that this way is the light? Well, those cats jump the highest who use Nature’s tool, To rise up and see better - our three legged stool! 97. Listen cats, kittens, dogs, and yes - you men too. There is much more to tell you, and all of it true. But for now we must part, with this method to cure us, Repeat with me, learn from the great Epicurus: 98. It is Nature I seek, and of Her I am smitten; I love Her no less than I love my own kitten. In those questions where "trust" is the only right answer, I trust Nature to lead me through life like a dancer! 99. And thus purred Catius’ Cat – Glad is the cat who laughs and sings, and studies and learns the Nature of Things.
Notes for future use:
78-80 – Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 156 Der Irrsinn ist bei Einzelnen etwas Seltenes, — aber bei Gruppen, Parteien, Völkern, Zeiten die Regel. Translation: Madness is something rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule.