…[it] just became more like this punk rock thing and we went with it. They wore us down and we just said ‘OK, fine, we’re punk rock — like the Ramones — whatever you say.’ 1
Work is the basis and actualization of art. Where do labels come from? One possible source is whatever has no connection to the desire to create and act.
All sympathy is fine, but sympathy with suffering is the least fine mode. It is tainted with egotism. It is apt to become morbid. There is in it a certain element of terror for our own safety. We become afraid that we ourselves might be as the leper or as the blind, and that no man would have care of us. It is curiously limiting, too. One should sympathise with the entirety of life, not with life’s joy and beauty and energy and health and freedom. The wider sympathy is, of course, the more difficult. It requires more unselfishness. Anybody can sympathise with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature–it requires, in fact, the nature of a true Individualist–to sympathise with a friend’s success. In the modern stress of competition and struggle for place, such sympathy is naturally rare, and is also very much stifled by the immoral ideal of uniformity of type and conformity to rule which is so prevalent everywhere, and is perhaps most obnoxious in England. 2
A seeming proverb, by form and by convention of frequent citation is indicated by extremely unreliable sources as being a “Russian proverb”, the claim of which, as I hear it, is the near colloquial cousin to the flippant and empty boast, “I’m one thirty-second Cherokee / Navaho / Blackfoot”; that is to say, everyone within earshot now knows you are complete and utter idiot and that you made up that fact just now:
A mere friend will agree with you, but a real friend will argue. 3
The original quote, above, is cited nowhere in Russian! This forces me to conclude that this was manufactured ad hoc. Why “Russian”? Such overwrought justification is surplus to requirements anyway: Friends tend often to argue simply by virtue of their acquired familiarity, not for any suspiciously pathological purpose of assessing reality of substance in friendship. Even rancorous disagreement is often tolerated, not because agreement is required, but because friends tend to be hard to come by.