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The pessimism which Buddha taught in India as religion, the tragedy which Sophocles expressed in Greece as drama, should warn us that the human will cannot hope to achieve all its ends in a universe where fate has the greatest share of power and where that fate deliberately opposes itself to the realization of human happiness--I speak here not only of earthly happiness but also of spiritual happiness. The tragic element in our days is ineradicable. The hostile working of the cosmic laws is inevitable. Yes, life means struggle. Its satisfactions are often short-lived. The man who congratulates himself upon the joy he finds in it had better beware, for frustration and privation are even now travelling around the corner toward him. And the man who finds life wonderful had better keep his thought to himself, or he will tempt the gods to shatter his illusion with a more devastating blow than he might otherwise have received. What are the artificial pleasures of the modern age really but anaesthetics to hide either its boredom or its suffering, its emptiness or its discontent?

-- Notebooks Category 13: Human Experience > Chapter 1: Situation > # 156

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