A sentence


by Mr. Paul Goldmann:


We can presumably understand the second part of Faust only such that Faust, who, in the first part, had futilely sought happiness in pleasure, endeavors, in the second part, to find it in action until such time as the deep truth finally occurs to him that pleasure does not lead to happiness and that action does, in fact, bring us closer to happiness, yet it does not lead us to our objective because precisely that desired objective of happiness is unattainable per se because man is and shall always be capable of striving for happiness, but never becoming happy, or rather becoming such only if he, in that he strives to become happy through capable and sound action, finds happiness in his striving for happiness.


The words are a mix-up to boot—what’s one to do? Because we, whenever we read something like this, enjoy it involuntarily and cannot get enough of it, it follows that happiness consists merely in our striving to read it until the end and in our finding the end in our striving for the end, yet this is above all true of the people who do not have much time because they, if they—in that they know how to become happy through capable and sound action—are business people, have something better to do whereas man, what comes into this world poor, prefers that someone just chop off his head.


Karl Kraus

Translated by Peter Winslow



Source text


Kraus, K. “Ein Satz.” Die Fackel, Nos. 324-325. (1911): 24. Print.