Sunday, May 27, 2012

Thirty Winters off My Back

I’m reading through Goethe’s “Faust” because it is such a fascinating book on human nature. There is a scene where Faust asks Mephistopheles about becoming young again. Faust doesn’t want take a witch’s potion, so he asks Mephistopheles if there is some other way to be young. Mephistopheles answers Faust by telling him to go work on a farm, not allow his moods to control him and not think too much. He is giving him the answer to lead a simple and long life. It’s good advice for anyone, but very few people take such advice and choose witchery instead. Nowadays, the witchery can be seen in people who take medications to control moods or in people who pay for plastic surgery to appear young. The normal diet of the people in this country is not conducive to a long and healthy life. Very few people even know where their food comes from or even care as long as it tastes good.

Mephistopheles: Very well; it comes your way
Without physician, gold, or magic-rigging:
Go out into the fields, today,
Fall to a-hoeing, digging,
Contain yourself, your mind and mood,
Within the narrowest of spheres,
Subsist on uncommonly food,
Live as a beast with beasts and spurn not chores unsung,
In person spread your crop-fields with manure;
This is the best resource, you may be sure,
Through eighty years to stay forever young!
Faust: I am not used to that, it goes against my marrow
To put my hand to hoe or harrow.
A narrow life would suit me not at all.
Mephistopheles: So back to witching after all.

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