And some of your elders remember pleasures with regret like wrongs committed in drunkenness.
But regret is the beclouding of the mind and not its chastisement.
They should remember their pleasures with gratitude, as they would the harvest of a summer.
Yet if it comforts them to regret, let them be comforted.
And there are among you those who are neither young to seek nor old to remember;
And in their fear of seeking and remembering they shun all pleasures, lest they neglect the spirit or offend against it.
But even in their foregoing is their pleasure.
And thus they too find a treasure though they dig for roots with quivering hands.
But tell me, who is he that can offend the spirit?
Shall the nightingale offend the stillness of the night, or the firefly the stars?
And shall your flame or your smoke burden the wind?
Think you the spirit is a pool which you can trouble with a staff?
Oftentimes in denying yourself pleasure you do but store the desire in the recesses of your being.
Who knows but that which seems omitted today, waits for tomorrow?
Even your body knows its heritage and its rightful need and will not be deceived.
And your body is the harp of your soul,
And it is yours to bring forth sweet music from it or confused sounds.
And now you ask in your heart, “How shall we distinguish that which is good in pleasure from that which is not good?”
Go to your fields and to your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey from the flower,
But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee.
For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life,
And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love,
And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
People of Orphalese, be in your pleasures like the flowers and the bees.
Man is a very strange being. He was not supposed to be so, but he has been in every way forced to be unnatural, and that is the source of his strangeness. He has become not only a stranger to others, he has become also a stranger to himself – because anything against nature is against yourself.
You are nothing but a song of nature, just as the birds are singing and the trees are standing in silence. Except man, in the whole existence everything is smooth, beautiful, without any discrimination of the superior and the inferior – no tree is a saint or a sinner. But man has fallen into such divisions that his life has become not a joy, but a burden that he has to carry somehow from the cradle to the grave.
It is a very subtle logic: first, the priests of all the religions poisoned you against yourself, forced you to be anti-life. And then when you became miserable, they came from the back door to console you. Then they became mediators between you and God.