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Rather Puzzling Quote From Oscar Wilde; Is This True?

+4 votes
Aug 5, 2017 in Arts & Humanities by Virginia (7,440 points)

This is something Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) wrote in De Profundis (From The Depths), the essay he composed after spending two difficult years, sentenced to hard labor, in Reading Gaol. My own sense is that it probably IS true at some deep level, but on the surface it does not really seem to make sense...any opinions, insights?

"In life there is really no small or great thing. All things are of equal value and equal size...."

3 Answers

Korvo Aug 5, 2017

I tend to agree with the quote. If you look at your life as a string, part of which is the past, one point being the present, and part of it leading into the future. No part of the string is larger than any other. No part lasted longer than any other. (true there are two points of value, the beginning (birth) and the end (death) all other points are equal in value)

Virginia Korvo Aug 5, 2017

Lovely insight Korvo, thank you!

TheOtherTink Aug 5, 2017
Virginia TheOtherTink Aug 5, 2017

Yes, the collection in that book DOES help put the quote in context, ty O'Tink!

Marianne Aug 8, 2017

It is puzzling indeed, and and I tried to reflect about it and checked again about the circumstances:

Maybe that, what's great for "simpler minds" is just a trivial thing for great philosophers, leaders and celebrities - or vice versa.

But it is more likely that:

"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together."

This saying is attributed to Vincent Van Gogh:

Virginia Marianne Aug 9, 2017

Your interpretation is thought-provoking, Marianne. The bookrags link? Well, I ended up reading the whole remainder of De Profundis. How someone like Oscar Wilde could have been so entangled and obsessed is fascinating! 

I read that Lord Alfred Douglas simply threw the letter away unopened...such a tragic love.

Marianne Marianne Aug 9, 2017

Lol, yes, Virginia - and sadly enough, certain "poetic and/or romantic letters" were not always appreciated (we don't know how many masterpieces of art went lost this way) - but in certain cases, obsessions can also go too far ...

Virginia Marianne Aug 9, 2017

Marianne, reading Wilde's De Profundis...yes it truly does seem that there was indeed something of an obsession...someone of his intellect, his sophistication? I guess at some level, we are all vulnerable, all human...

Apparently this was saved only because someone else helped Wilde with the production, and kept a copy.

Marianne Marianne Aug 10, 2017

Yes, Virginia, and among the great celebrities and leaders in human history, many seem to have been living (or are living) a tortured and "tortuous" life, and the border between genius and mental problems seems to be very fragile. Alcohol, drugs, gambling, excesses, health issues and/or other risky addictions were or are often part of their lives.

Virginia Marianne Aug 10, 2017

Marianne, Wilde's description of his lover Lord Alfred Douglas...that even resembles THE GUARDIAN article you posted on another Q, the syndrome of the narcissistic personality, and how they psychologically entrap and abuse their victims.

Apparently, Lord Alfred had such a hate for his father that he intimidated Wilde into suing the father for libel, when the charges (homosexuality) were for that era perfectly true! So Wilde lost, of course, and then went to prison, finally dying age only 46...Lord Alfred thoroughly callous, throughout.

Marianne Marianne Aug 13, 2017

Yes, Virginia, there are too many tragedies in life and in fiction.

Virginia Marianne Aug 13, 2017

Oscar Wilde's tragic life truly does play out like an ancient tragedy play.

Marianne Marianne Aug 13, 2017

Yes, Virginia, indeed.

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