Nadirisms 121-127: Knowledge and Context
For some people (losers) having no time means they have no time to be happy. Others (winners) exploit their having-no-time to have no time to be unhappy.
A teyl mentshn (shlimazlnikes) az zey hobn nisht keyn tsayt--hobn zey nisht keyn tsayt tsu zayn gliklekh. Ander mentshn (gerotene) az zey hobn nisht keyn tsayt, nutsn zey dos oys af nisht tsu hobn keyn tsayt tu zayn umgliklekh.
A simple lack of common sense is hardly wisdom. Wisdom is spending years sitting in study, learning how to lose one’s common sense.*
Glat nisht tsu hobn keyn seykhl, iz keyn hokhme nisht. A hokhme iz optsuzitsn yornlang un zikh lernen, vi azoy nisht tsu hobn keyn seykhl.
When idiocy pays, it is madness to be a man of reason. Or to put it conversely: When idiocy pays, the highest reason dictates being...an idiot.
Az narishkayt batsolt zikh, iz an umzin tsu zayn khokhem. Oder m’ken efsher zogn farkert: az narishkayt batsolt zikh iz di greste hokhme tsu zayn a...beheyme.
People believe that truth is a thing, which anyone can speak so long as they want to.
In point of fact, truth is a sort of art, that kind which only a certain few may speak.
Mentshn meynen, az emes iz a zakh, vos yeder kon zogn, oyb er vil nor.
In tokh arayn iz der emes aza kunst, vos bloyz getseylte mentshn kenen im zogn.
Because of my weak character, I have always wanted to prove how strong my nature is.
Tsulib mayn shvakhn kharakter, hob ikh alemol gevolt vayzn vi shtark mayn natur iz.
It is not the word but where it is spoken. If I say the same thing on the mountaintop and in the valley, it is never the same.
Nisht dos vort iz der iker, nor vu me redt es. Ven ikh zog dos zelbe af di bargshpitsn, vos ikh zog in tol, iz es nisht dos zelbe.
The human heart is a child, rather stupid...but hard to fool.
Dos mentshlekhe harts iz a kind, nisht zeyer klug...ober opnarn es iz shver.
*- The term I translate as common sense (seykhl), could also be rendered as intellect or knowledge. This could be translated in a more Socratic vein as “knowing nothing is hardly wisdom. Wisdom is spending years pondering the manner in which you [or, how one ought] know nothing.” The gap between these two translations is significant, but also ambiguous.