The refusal to succeed

When a person, event or work meets with success or notoriety, it is generally found that the height reached by these modern substitutes for glory is in exact proportion to the vanity and impurity of their source. A scandal makes a greater sensation than an act of heroism, a boxer or film star attracts more attention than a great artist or a solitary philosopher, and, when fame does chance to descend upon true greatness, it is more than likely that there has been some misapprehension or mistake; either the greatness is not seen for what it is but triumphs under some disguise, or the ‘glory’ merely lights up that side of it which is showy, picturesque and, for that reason, superficial. Nietzsche said: ‘When a great truth triumphs in the market place, you may be sure that a great lie has contributed to its victory.’ That is the bitter and almost inevitable price of success. Who has written a book on ‘the refusal to succeed’?

— Perrin & Thibon, Simone Weil as We Knew Her (tr. Crauford)

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