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3 thoughts on “Quotes – The Finality of Success”

  1. Now that is a really unusual proverb and really dark!

    The best explanation I found was on Amazon in a book review for “Buddenbrooks: Decline of a Family,” which says, “Now, it doesn’t have to be death exactly. But retreat, decline, the beginning of the end.”


    1. Hi Joanne,

      That is some good Googling. In fact, the quote does come from Buddenbrooks and immediately succeeds this quote, which I posted just before:

      I separated them because I think they are related, but represent two slightly different ideas. The proverb captures the inevitability of decline, with success as its hallmark. The longer quote by Thomas Buddenbrook I think touches on the tenuous grasp with vitality we all have– that life is a struggle, no matter what, and it eludes us as soon as we lose our ability to struggle with it.

      Both quotes were part of a longer passage, which I originally intended to capture in full, which served as a meditation on the ephemerality of success and vitality in general. But because I chose to break up the one quote into two, and part of the quote is interrupted by dialog from another character, I didn’t capture the rest of it. Which is a shame, because it’s actually quite beautiful, relating human greatness to the stars in the sky that shine brightest right before they go out, but which we are unaware of their demise because it takes so long for their final light to transmit to us across space. In a similar way, a man can live a long time in the shadow of his past accomplishments without anyone realizing he stopped having more to offer years earlier.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

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