Thursday, February 28, 2013
"I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is inprobably biased toward the consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it-or my observation of it-is temporary?"
~John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
"I believe that the human spirit will never cease in its quests of aspiration, demands, yielding to nothing and no one. It vies for something to cling to, and in old age questions its host of what to die for. We are always in pursuit of possession. There’s simply no such thing as a wanderless heart, even for those who choose a life of extreme disciplines. However we are granted certain freedoms within our own thought. There lies the grounds for imagination and the resulting temptations that birth the idle heart, the most tormenting of human creations. We are left with nothing to cling to, wishful of release, searching for the inopportune rapport of disruption. I will admit that at times I find myself envious of the farmer’s life. The simplicity and directives of nature’s bounty being your guide. Grow. Eat. Live. At the same time, even with good intention, I know that I am more of a wildling than any crop suited with the tallest of shadows meant for feed. I am here left to do more than just grow. I am here to wake the wallowing and to archive this grave fight of confrontation."
— M. K. Mokotow
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
"As I float over the shadowed northern world, I think now that we all go off into darkness, bit by bit, piece by piece, part by part. We all disintegrate into our words, our sentences, our paragraphs, our narratives. We scatter our lives into photographs, letters, certificates, books, prizes, lies. We ride out the light until the records break one by one. We sit out the days until the sun gets dimmer and dimmer."
~ Dallas Wiebe, “Night Flight to Stockholm” from The Paris Review’s Object Lessons
Monday, February 25, 2013
He wanted to crush himself into that mud, to re-enter the earth by immersing himself in that clay…as though confronting the superb and despairing symbol of life itself, to affirm his solidarity with the world at its worst, to declare himself life’s accomplice even in its thanklessness and its filth.
Albert Camus - A Happy Death
We believe that we know something about the things themselves when we speak of trees, colors, snow, and flowers; and yet we possess nothing but metaphors for things—metaphors which correspond in no way to the original entities.
Friedrich Nietzsche, On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense
All things come out of the One and the One out of all things. … I see nothing but Becoming. Be not deceived! It is the fault of your limited outlook and not the fault of the essence of things if you believe that you see firm land anywhere in the ocean of Becoming and Passing. You need names for things, just as if they had a rigid permanence, but the very river in which you bathe a second time is no longer the same one which you entered before.
Heraclitus, 500 B.C.E
Thursday, February 21, 2013
“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and — in spite of True Romance magazines — we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely — at least, not all the time — but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.”
Hunter S. Thompson (American, 1937-2005)
The beginnings of Dada were not the beginnings of an art, but of a disgust. Disgust with the magnificence of philosophers who for 3000 years have been explaining everything to us (what for?), disgust with the pretensions of these artists-God’s-representatives-on-earth, disgust with passion and with real pathological wickedness where it was not worth the bother; disgust with a false form of domination and restriction *en masse*, that accentuates rather than appeases man’s instinct of domination, disgust with all the catalogued categories, with the false prophets who are nothing but a front for the interests of money, pride, disease, disgust with the lieutenants of a mercantile art made to order according to a few infantile laws, disgust with the divorce of good and evil, the beautiful and the ugly (for why is it more estimable to be red rather than green, to the left rather than the right, to be large or small?). Disgust finally with the Jesuitical dialectic which can explain everything and fill people’s minds with oblique and obtuse ideas without any physiological basis or ethnic roots, all this by means of blinding artifice and ignoble charlatans promises.
As Dada marches it continuously destroys, not in extension but in itself. From all these disgusts, may I add, it draws no conclusion, no pride, no benefit. It has even stopped combating anything, in the realization that it’s no use, that all this doesn’t matter. What interests a Dadaist is his own mode of life. But here we approach the great secret.
Dada is a state of mind. That is why it transforms itself according to races and events. Dada applies itself to everything, and yet it is nothing, it is the point where the yes and the no and all the opposites meet, not solemnly in the castles of human philosophies, but very simply at street corners, like dogs and grasshoppers.
Like everything in life, Dada is useless.
Dada is without pretension, as life should be.
Perhaps you will understand me better when I tell you that Dada is a virgin microbe that penetrates with the insistence of air into all the spaces that reason has not been able to fill with words or conventions.
Dadaism by Tzara.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
“People who have been deeply injured by life are all suspicious of cheerfulness. Festivities, carousels and joyful music seem to them like the self-deception of a fatally sick man determined to consume one last minute of the intoxication of life. Yet, this judgement of cheerfulness is nothing…"
"We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive"~ Thich Nhat Hanh
There are many cumbersome ways to kill a man.
You can make him carry a plank of wood
to the top of a hill and nail him to it. To do this
properly you require a crowd of people
wearing sandals, a cock that crows, a cloak
to dissect, a sponge, some vinegar and one
man to hammer the nails home.
Or you can take a length of steel,
shaped and chased in a traditional way,
and attempt to pierce the metal cage he wears.
But for this you need white horses,
English trees, men with bows and arrows,
at least two flags, a prince, and a
castle to hold your banquet in.
Dispensing with nobility, you may, if the wind
allows, blow gas at him. But then you need
a mile of mud sliced through with ditches,
not to mention black boots, bomb craters,
more mud, a plague of rats, a dozen songs
and some round hats made of steel.
In an age of aeroplanes, you may fly
miles above your victim and dispose of him by
pressing one small switch. All you then
require is an ocean to separate you, two
systems of government, a nation’s scientists,
several factories, a psychopath and
land that no-one needs for several years.
These are, as I began, cumbersome ways
to kill a man. Simpler, direct, and much more neat
is to see that he is living somewhere in the middle
of the twentieth century, and leave him there.
~André Breton: Five Ways to Kill a Man
Sunday, February 17, 2013
"You have had many sadnesses, large ones, which passed. And you say that even this passing was difficult and upsetting for you. But please, ask yourself whether these large sadnesses haven’t rather gone right through you. Perhaps many things inside you have been transformed; perhaps somewhere, someplace deep inside your being, you have undergone important changes while you were sad. The only sadnesses that are dangerous and unhealthy are the ones that we carry around in public in order to drown them out with the noise; like diseases that are treated superficially and foolishly, they just withdraw and after a short interval break out again all the more terribly; and gather inside us and are life, are life that is unlived, rejected, lost, life that we can die of. If only it were possible for us to see farther than our knowledge reaches, and even a little beyond the outworks of our presentiment, perhaps we would bear our sadnesses with greater trust than we have in our joys. For they are the moments when something new has entered us, something unknown; our feelings grow mute in shy embarrassment, everything in us withdraws, a silence arises, and the new experience, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it all and says nothing."~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet (Letter #8), 1904
Saturday, February 16, 2013
One chooses one’s gender, but one does not choose it from a distance which signals an ontological juncture between the choosing agent and the chosen gender. The Cartesian space of the deliberate ‘chooser’ is fictional, but the question persists: if we are mired in gender from the start, what sense can we make of gender as a kind of choice? Simone de Beauvoir’s view of gender as an incessant project, a daily act of reconstitution and interpretation, draws upon Sartre’s doctrine of prereflective choice and gives that difficult epistemological structure a concrete cultural meaning. Prereflective choice is a tacit and spontaneous act which Sartre terms “quasi knowledge.” Not wholly conscious, but nevertheless accessible to consciousness, it is the kind of choice we make and only later realize we have made. Simone de Beauvoir seems to rely on this notion of choice in referring to the kind of volitional act through which gender is assumed. Taking on a gender is not possible at a moment’s notice, but is a subtle and strategic project which only rarely becomes manifest to a reflective understanding. Becoming a gender is an impulsive yet mindful process of interpreting a cultural reality laden with sanctions, taboos, and prescriptions. The choice to assume a certain kind of body, to live or wear one’s body a certain way, implies a world of already established corporeal styles. To choose a gender is to interpret received gender norms in a way that organizes them anew. Rather than a radical act of creation, gender is a tacit project to renew one’s cultural history in one’s own terms. This is not a prescriptive task we must endeavor to do, but one in which we have been endeavoring all along.~Judith Butler. “Sex and Gender in Simone de Beauvoir’s Second Sex.“ in: Yale French Studies. Simone de Beauvoir: Witness to a Century. No. 72, pp. 35-49, Winter 1986.
"From your limited point a view the comings and goings of Life can seem chaotic, confusing and unfair. But if the ant could see the street from the bird’s eye view she would see the order of things. Think of your Heart and your Intuition as guidance from above and you’ll begin to see how everything is in perfect order."~Jackson Kiddard
"I, too, felt ready to start life all over again.
It was as if that great rush of anger had washed me clean, emptied me of hope, and, gazing up at the dark sky spangled with its signs and stars, for the first time, the first, I laid my heart open to the benign indifference of the universe.
To feel it so like myself, indeed, so brotherly, made me realize that I’d been happy, and that I was happy still."~Albert Camus, The Stranger
"Remembering Marie A."
It was a day in that blue month September
Silent beneath the plum trees' slender shade
I held her there
My love, so pale and silent
As if she were a dream that must not fade
Above us in the shining summer heaven
There was a cloud my eyes dwelled long upon
It was quite white and very high above us
Then I looked up
And found that it had gone
And since that day, so many moons in silence
Have swum across the sky and gone below
The plum trees surely have been chopped for firewood
And if you ask, how does that love seem now
I must admit, I really can't remember
And yet I know what you are trying to say
But what her face was like, I know no longer
I only know I kissed it on that day
As for the kiss, I long ago forgot it
But for the cloud that floated in the sky
I know that still and shall forever know it
It was quite white and moved in very high
It may be that the plum trees still are blooming
That woman's seventh child may now be there
And yet that cloud had only bloomed for minutes
When I looked up
It vanished on the air.
~Bertolt Brecht ~ Baal
"It abandons us in this contradiction with no grounds either for preventing or for justifying murder, menacing and menaced, swept along with a whole generation intoxicated by nihilism, and yet lost in loneliness, with weapons in our hands and a lump in our throats."~Albert Camus, The Rebel
Friday, February 15, 2013
"How do we know any damned thing? Chaos is our language; our own eccentric rhythms are unsynchronized to Cosmos—with a mildewed ear for the brassy cacophony of imaginary menageries dissonant to each other; and it all ends drooling over minutiae to discover oneself."~Austin Osman Spare
"We insist on staying alive precisely because life has no foundation, because it lacks even the poorest argument. On the other hand, death is too exact; all arguments are for it. Although our instincts perceive it as a mystery, to our reason it reveals itself in its whole clarity, deprived of the deceiving charms and glory of the unknown. With its ongoing accumulation of hollow mysteries and its monopoly over nonsense, life induces fear more than death does; it is life that represents in fact the great Unknown. Where can so much void and inexplicability lead? We cling to our living days because the desire to die is too logical, therefore inefficient. If life had at least one argument for itself – one tenable, indestructible argument – it would be torn apart; instincts and prejudices fade when in contact with Rigor. Every living creature feeds on the unexplainable; a surplus of reason would be lethal for the existence – an endeavor to reach the Absurd … Give a precise meaning to life and it will instantaneously lose its savor. The lack of clarity of its goals makes it superior to death; a grain of precision would lower it to the triviality of a tomb. For a positive science dealing with the meaning of life would depopulate the Earth in one single day and no fool would ever succeed in resurrecting the fertile improbability on its surface."~Emil Cioran (A Short History of Decay)
So you have swept me back,
I who could have walked with the live souls
above the earth,
I who could have slept among the live flowers
so for your arrogance
and your ruthlessness
I am swept back
where dead lichens drip
dead cinders upon moss of ash;
so for your arrogance
I am broken at last,
I who had lived unconscious,
who was almost forgot;
if you had let me wait
I had grown from listlessness
if you had let me rest with the dead,
I had forgot you
and the past.
Here only flame upon flame
and black among the red sparks,
streaks of black and light
why did you turn back,
that hell should be reinhabited
of myself thus
swept into nothingness?
why did you glance back?
why did you hesitate for that moment?
why did you bend your face
caught with the flame of the upper earth,
above my face?
what was it that crossed my face
with the light from yours
and your glance?
what was it you saw in my face
the light of your own face,
the fire of your own presence?
What had my face to offer
but reflex of the earth,
caught from the raw fissure in the rock
where the light struck,
and the colour of azure crocuses
and the bright surface of gold crocuses
and of the wind-flower,
swift in its veins as lightning
and as white.
Saffron from the fringe of the earth,
wild saffron that has bent
over the sharp edge of earth,
all the flowers that cut through the earth,
all, all the flowers are lost;
everything is lost,
everything is crossed with black,
black upon black
and worse than black,
this colourless light.
Fringe upon fringe
of blue crocuses,
crocuses, walled against blue of themselves,
blue of that upper earth,
blue of the depth upon depth of flowers,
if I could have taken once my breath of them,
enough of them,
more than earth,
even than of the upper earth,
had passed with me
beneath the earth;
if I could have caught up from the earth,
the whole of the flowers of the earth,
if once I could have breathed into myself
the very golden crocuses
and the red,
and the very golden hearts of the first saffron,
the whole of the golden mass,
the whole of the great fragrance,
I could have dared the loss.
So for your arrogance
and your ruthlessness
I have lost the earth
and the flowers of the earth,
and the live souls above the earth,
and you who passed across the light
you who have your own light,
who are to yourself a presence,
who need no presence;
yet for all your arrogance
and your glance,
I tell you this:
such loss is no loss,
such terror, such coils and strands and pitfalls
is no loss;
hell is no worse than your earth
above the earth,
hell is no worse,
no, nor your flowers
nor your veins of light
nor your presence,
my hell is no worse than yours
though you pass among the flowers and speak
with the spirits above earth.
Against the black
I have more fervour
than you in all the splendour of that place,
against the blackness
and the stark grey
I have more light;
and the flowers,
if I should tell you,
you would turn from your own fit paths
turn again and glance back
and I would sink into a place
even more terrible than this.
At least I have the flowers of myself,
and my thoughts, no god
can take that;
I have the fervour of myself for a presence
and my own spirit for light;
and my spirit with its loss
though small against the black,
small against the formless rocks,
hell must break before I am lost;
before I am lost,hell must open like a red rose
for the dead to pass.
~H. D. ~ Eurydice
Hers was a twilight world, where the moon floated up over the trees at night like a tremulous balloon of silver light and the bluish rays wavered through the leaves outside her window, quivering in fluid patterns on the wallpaper of her room. The very air was mildly opaque, and forms wavered and blended one with the other. The wind blew in gentle, capricious gusts, now here, now there, coming from the sea or from the rose garden (she could tell by the scent of water or of flowers).
~Sylvia Plath, “Sunday at the Mintons”, from Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
You’ll get over it…” It’s the clichés that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life for ever. You don’t get over it because ‘it” is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never loses. How could it? The particularness of someone who mattered enough to grieve over is not made anodyne by death. This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no-one else can fit it. Why would I want them to?”
― Jeanette Winterson Written on the Body
“Through the forest have I gone.
But Athenian found I none,
On whose eyes I might approve
This flower's force in stirring love.
Night and silence.--Who is here?
Weeds of Athens he doth wear:
This is he, my master said,
Despised the Athenian maid;
And here the maiden, sleeping sound,
On the dank and dirty ground.
Pretty soul! she durst not lie
Near this lack-love, this kill-courtesy.
Churl, upon thy eyes I throw
All the power this charm doth owe.
When thou wakest, let love forbid
Sleep his seat on thy eyelid:
So awake when I am gone;
For I must now to Oberon.”
~William Shakespeare ~ A Midsummer Night's Dream