see how they press forward, the countless multitudes, all the unhappy! yet, many though they are who believe they are called, few are chosen. a distinction is to be established between them - a word, and the crowd vanishes; for excluded, uninvited guests are all those who think the greatest misfortune in life is death, those who became unhappy because it was death they feared; for we, dear symparanekromenoi, we, like the roman soldiers, do not fear death; we know of greater misfortunes, and first and last and above all - life.
no one is excluded except the happy man and the one who fears death - every worthy member of the community of the unhappy is welcome, the seat of honour assigned to every really unhappy person, the grave to the unhappiest.
Contestant #1: The Hoping One,
consider first the hoping individual. when, as a hoping individual (and of course to that extent unhappy), he is not present to himself, he becomes unhappy in a stricter sense. an individual who hopes for an eternal life is, indeed, in a certain sense an unhappy individual to the extent that he renounces the present, but nevertheless is strictly not unhappy, because he is present to himself in the hope and does not come in conflict with the particular moments of finitude. but if he cannot become present to himself in hope, but loses his hope, hopes again, and so on, then he is absent from himself not just in the present but also in the future, and we have a type of the unhappy. though the hoping individual does not hope for something that has no reality for him, he hopes for something he himself knows cannot be realized. for when an individual loses hope, and instead of becoming a remembering individual, wants to remain a hoping one, then we get this form.
Contestant #2: The Remembering One'
similarly if we consider the remembering individual. if he finds himself present in the past, strictly he is not unhappy; but if he cannot do that but remains constantly absent from himself in a past, then we have a form of the unhappy.
memory is pre-eminently the real element of the unhappy, as is natural seeing the past has the remarkable characteristic that it is gone, the future that it is yet to come; and one can therefore say in a sense that the future is nearer the present than is the past. that future, for the hoping individual to be present in it must be real, or rather must acquire reality for him. the past, for the remembering individual to be present in it, must have had reality for him. but when the hoping individual would have a future which can have no reality for him, or the remembering individual remember a past which had had no reality for him, then we have the genuinely unhappy individuals. unhappy individuals who hope never have the same pain as those who remember. hoping individuals always have a more gratifying disappointment. the unhappiest one will always, therefore, be found among the unhappy rememberers.
Contestant #1+#2: The Unhappiest One,
the combination can only be this: that what prevents him being present in hope is memory, and what prevents him from being present in memory is hope.
He will soon notice his misfortune even if he does not grasp what it really consists in. but to make sure that he really gets the chance to feel it, that misunderstanding comes along which every moment in a remarkable way casts ridicule. he enjoys, for everyday purposes, the reputation of being in his right mind, yet he knows that were he to explain to a single person just how things were with him, he would be declared mad. this in itself is enough to drive a person mad, yet he does not become so, and that is precisely his misfortune. his misfortune is that he has come to the world too soon and is therefore constantly arriving too late. he is forever quite close to the goal and at the same moment at a distance from it; he now discovers that what it is that mself in conflict. for all the rest of the world is to him just one person, and this person,makes him unhappy, bacause now he has it, or because he is this way, is precisely what a few years ago would have made him happy if he had had it then, whereas then he was unhappy because he did not have it.
alone, he has the whole world over against him as the 'thou' with which he finds himself in conflict. this inseparable, importunate friend, this is the misunderstanding. he cannot become old, for he has never been young, he cannot become young, for he has already become old; in a way he cannot die, for he has never lived; in a way he cannot live, for he is already dead; he cannot love, for love is always in the present time, no future, no past, and yet he is of sympathetic nature, and he hates the world only because he loves it so; he has no passion, not because he lacks it, but because that same instant he has the opposite; he has no time for anything, not because his time is taken up with something else, but because he has no time at all; he is powerless, not because he lacks strength, but because his own strength makes him impotent.
and there you have it, or at least one version of it,
may the daily bitterness of grief be extended to him in abundance,
may no friend attach them self to him,
may his lips smile at the world that misunderstands him,
may no one understand him, but all envy him,
may no secret sympathy suspect his solitary pain,
MAY ALL THE WORLD BELIEVE HE IS ABLE TO MAKE IT HAPPY!