To live as one likes is plebian the noble man aspires to order and law.

What did Johann Wolfgang von Goethe mean by:

To live as one likes is plebian the noble man aspires to order and law.


This quote suggests that living without any constraints or discipline, simply doing what one pleases, is a characteristic of the common man, or the plebian. On the other hand, the noble man, according to Goethe, aspires to live according to order and law. This doesn’t necessarily mean just following societal laws, but also creating a personal code of conduct or ethics, and having a disciplined and structured approach to life.

The idea of order and law here can also be interpreted as having a purpose or direction in life, rather than living aimlessly. The noble man, in this context, is someone who sets goals, makes plans to achieve them, and lives with discipline and determination.

In today’s world, this idea can be applied in many ways. For instance, in personal development, one might interpret this quote as a call to self-discipline and purposeful living. Instead of living life on a whim, one should have clear objectives and strive to achieve them in a disciplined and orderly manner. This could mean setting personal goals, creating and sticking to routines, or living according to certain principles or values.

In a broader societal context, this quote might suggest that a civilized society is one where people live according to rules and laws, not just those imposed by the state, but also those that they set for themselves. It could be seen as a call for personal responsibility and self-regulation, rather than relying on external constraints to maintain order.

However, it’s important to note that the quote doesn’t imply that one should blindly follow rules or suppress individuality. It’s about finding a balance between personal freedom and social responsibility, between individual desires and collective needs. It’s about living with purpose and discipline, but also with respect for others and for the society in which one lives.

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