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Dialogue of Pessimism

 
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10/08/2012 07:28 PM
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Dialogue of Pessimism
The Akkadians were a cultural group that included the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians. here is Akkadian literature from 1000 BC that questions the meaning of any sort of philosophy by listening in on a master who decides, for a day, to ask his slave what to do. it seems the purpose is to show through 10 different examples that anything can be said about anything, which is worthless, so just do what you feel like doing.


I. Drive to the Palace

Slave, listen to me!

Here I am, master, here I am!

Quick! Fetch me the chariot and hitch it up. I want to drive to the palace.

Oh, drive, master, drive! It will be to your advantage. When he will see you, the king will give you honors.

Ah, I changed my mind. I don't want to drive to the palace.

Do not drive, master, do not drive! When he will see you, the king may send you God knows where, He may make you take a route that you do not know, he will make you suffer agony day and night!


II. Eating

Slave, listen to me!

Here I am, master, here I am!

Quickly! Fetch me water for my hands, I want to dine!

Dine, master, dine! A good meal relaxes the mind! The meal of the master is the meal of his god. To wash one's hand passes the time!

Ah, I changed my mind. I will not eat.

Do not dine, master, do not dine! Eat only when one is hungry, drink only when one is thirsty.


III. Hunting

Slave, listen to me!

Here I am, master, here I am!

Quickly! Fetch me my chariot. I am going to hunt!

Drive, master, drive! A hunter gets his belly filled! The hunting dog will break the bones of the prey!

Ah, I changed my mind. I will not hunt.

Do not go, master, do not go! The hunter's luck changes! The hunting dog's teeth will get broken!


IV. Marriage

Slave, listen to me!

Here I am, master, here I am!

I want to set up a home, I want to have a son!

Have them, master, have them! The man who sets up a home builds up his father's home as well!

Ah, I changed my mind. I don't want to set up a home.

Do not set up a home, master! Otherwise you will break up your father's home!


V. Litigation

Slave, listen to me!

Here I am, master, here I am!

I want to let my opponent act against me in court but I will remain silent. He is wrong and I should not have to say anything.

Remain silent, master, remain silent! If you speak, your opponent could only use it against you! You do not have to say anything.

Ah, I changed my mind. I don't want to remain silent.

Do not remain silent, master, do not remain silent! If you do not speak, your opponent will have a free hand! You must say someting.


VI. Revolution

Slave, listen to me!

Here I am, master, here I am!

I want to lead a revolution!

So lead, master, lead! If you do not lead a revolution, where will your clothes come from? And how will you fill your belly?

Ah, I changed my mind. I do not want to lead a revolution.

Do not lead, master, do not lead a revolution! The man who leads a revolution is either killed or flayed, or has his eyes put out, or is arrested and thrown to jail!


VII. Lovemaking

Slave, listen to me!

Here I am, master, here I am!

I want to make love to a woman!

Make love, master, make love! The man who makes love to a woman forgets sorrow and fear!

Ah, I changed my mind. I do not want to make love to a woman.

Do not make love, master, do not make love! Woman is a real pitfall, a hole, a ditch, Woman is a sharp iron dagger that cuts a man's throat!


VIII. Sacrifice

Slave, listen to me!

Here I am, master, here I am!

Quick! Fetch me water for my hands and give it to me. I want to sacrifice to my god.

Sacrifice, master, sacrifice! The man who sacrifices to his god is satisfied at heart. He accumulates benefit after benefit.

Ah, I changed my mind. I do not want to sacrifice to my god.

Do not sacrifice, master, do not sacrifice! You will teach your god to run after you like a dog, whether he asks you to perform rites or to consult him or anything else!


IX. Business

Slave, listen to me!

Here I am, master, here I am!

I want to invest silver.

Invest, master, invest! The man who invests keeps the capital but the interest is enormous!

Ah, I changed my mind. I do not want to invest silver.

Do not invest, master, do not invest! Making loans is as sweet as making love, but getting them back is like having children! They will take away your capital, cursing you without end. They will make you lose the interest on the capital!


X. Philanthropy

Slave, listen to me!

Here I am, master, here I am!

I want to perform a public benefit for my country!

So do it, master, do it! The man who performs a public benefit for his country does it for the gods!

Ah, I changed my mind. I do not want to perform a public benefit for my country.

Do not perform, master, do not perform! Go to the cemetery and walk around. See the mixed skulls of poor and rich. Which was the giver or the taker?


XI. Conclusion

Slave, listen to me!

Here I am, master, here I am!

What then is good? To have my neck broken and yours too, or to be thrown into the river, is that good?

Who can know, master, who can know? Who is so tall as to climb to to heaven? It must remain a mystery.

O well, slave, I will kill you and send you first. Then you can tell me.

Yes, but my master would certainly not survive three days longer than me! That much, I know!

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