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Why do we romanticise last words?
Once more, I’m going to cite the renowned Greek humorist Nikos Tsiforos. It worked for me quite well with Nick Nicholas’ answer to What do Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland think of each other?
Once upon a time, there was a guy called Goethe. A German and a sage. But so what if you are a German and a sage? If your time’s up, you’re going to die. So in the year 1832, Johann Wolfgang Goethe decided it was time for him to kick the bucket, and fell into his bed. And when he was about to die, he cried out:
—Light. More light.
That’s what the man said, and he made a most dignified exit into nothingness. But people are cattle and clueless, so they took these words and made them into an omen.
—Just look what the sage said!
—What’d he say?
—More light should flood into humanity. Into our spirit. That we might see the truth clearly.
—He said that, did he!
And noone considered that the poor guy was dying, and he wanted more light, because his eyes were glazing over with death. The lamp grew dark, and at a time like that it didn’t occur to him to utter philosophies and preach nonsense: he found himself, like any human, in an hour of weakness, and spoke it. If a common person had said that, that’s how they’d interpret it. The natural way. But Goethe was a sage. And if one sage says something stupid, all the other sages will work overtime to grant it a deeper meaning; otherwise they won’t be considered sages any more.