Wednesday, July 31, 2013

literacki


"You do not even think of your own past as quite real; you dress it up, you gild it or blacken it, censor it, tinker with it … fictionalize it, in a word, and put it away on a shelf – your book, your romanced autobiography. We are all in flight from the real reality. That is a basic definition of Homo sapiens."
~John Fowles, The French Lieutenant’s Woman

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Henrietta Pussycat
I felt that I was leaving part of myself behind, and that wherever I went afterwards I should feel the lack of it, and search for it hopelessly, as ghosts are said to do, frequenting the spots where they buried material treasures without which they cannot pay their way to the nether world.
~Brideshead Revisited, 1945 ~Evelyn Waugh

this


nihilism:
a : a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless
b: a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths

existentialism:
a chiefly 20th century philosophical movement embracing diverse doctrines but centering on analysis of individual existence in an unfathomable universe and the plight of the individual who must assume ultimate responsibility for acts of free will without any certain knowledge of what is right or wrong or good or bad

existential nihilism:
is the philosophical theory that life has no intrinsic meaning or value. With respect to the universe, existential nihilism posits that a single human or even the entire human species is insignificant, without purpose and unlikely to change in the totality of existence. According to the theory, each individual is an isolated being “thrown” into the universe, barred from knowing “why”, yet compelled to invent meaning. The inherent meaninglessness of life is largely explored in the philosophical school of existentialism, where one can potentially create his or her own subjective “meaning” or “purpose”. Of all types of nihilism, existential nihilism gets the most literary and philosophical attention.

quoth the madman


The Three-Sided Mirror, 1927
Take it moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I’ve said before, bugs in amber.
~ Kurt Vonnegut

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The old, christian, preindustrial, predemocratic way of life has progressively broken away around modern man so that he has come to stand in a place no human beings have ever quite occupied before. He has become at once a tiny atom in a cast sea of humanity and an individual who recognizes himself as being utterly alone.
~ Vincent Scully, “The Architecture of Democracy"

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The important thing is moral choice. Evil has to exist along with good, in order that moral choice may operate. Life is sustained by the grinding opposition of moral entities.
~ Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

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Flower Fairy, 1905
You have been a poor observer of life if you have not also seen the hand that, ever so gently - kills.
~Friedrich Nietzsche -Epigrams & Entr’ actes

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The mysteries of mimicry had a special attraction for me. Its phenomena showed an artistic perfection usually associated with man-wrought things. Consider the imitation of oozing poison by bubblelike macules on a wing (complete with pseudo-refraction) or by glossy yellow knobs on a chrysalis (‘Don’t eat me - I have already been squashed, sampled and rejected’). Consider the tricks of an acrobatic caterpillar (of the Lobster Moth) which in infancy looks like bird’s dung, but after molting develops scrabbly hymenopteroid appendages and baroque characteristics, allowing the extraordinary fellow to play two parts at once (like the actor in Oriental shows who becomes a pair of intertwisted wrestlers): that of a writhing larva and that of a big ant seemingly harrowing it. When a certain moth resembles a certain wasp in shape and color, it also walks and moves its antennae in a waspish, unmothlike manner. When a butterfly has to look like a leaf, not only are all the details of a leaf beautifully rendered but markings mimicking grub-bored holes are generously thrown in. ‘Natural Selection,’ in the Darwinian sense, could not explain the miraculous coincidence of imitative aspect and imitative behavior, nor could one appeal to the theory of ‘the struggle for life’ when a protective device was carried to a point of mimetic subtlety, exuberance, and luxury far in excess of a predator’s powers of appreciation. I discovered in nature the nonutilitarian delights that I sought in art. Both were a form of magic, both were a game of intricate enchantment and deception.

— Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory

quoth the madman


"I’ve existed for the best use I can. The past is now part of my future. The present is well out of hand".
~Ian Curtis (Joy Division)

quoth the madman

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.
~ James Baldwin

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"But Faith, like a jackal, feeds among the tombs, and even from these dead doubts she gathers her most vital hope."
~Melville, Moby Dick, p. 40

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"And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about."
~John Steinbeck, East of Eden

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"Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity."
~Paulo Coelho, Alchemist

quoth the madman

I found the human heart empty and insipid everywhere except in books.
Jean-Paul Sartre 

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The traditions of the past cannot be retrieved. At the same time we have little idea of what the future will bring. We are forced to live as if we were free.
~John Gray - Straw Dogs

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

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I believe in the underlying order and the meaning of life; I believe in the eternal harmony in which they say we shall one day be blended. Yet would you believe it, in the final result I don’t accept this world of God’s, and, although I know it exists I don’t accept it at all. It’s not that I don’t accept God, you must understand, it’s the world created by Him I don’t and cannot accept. Let me make it plain. I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage, like the despicable fabrications of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidian mind of man, that in the world’s finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, for the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, of all the blood they’ve shed; that it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify all that has happened with men- but though all that may come to pass, I don’t accept it. I won’t accept it. Even if parallel lines do meet and I see it myself, I shall see it and say that they’ve met, but still I won’t accept it. That’s what’s at the root of me, Alyosha; that’s my creed.
— Ivan Fyodorovitch Karamazov, of “The Brothers Karamazov", by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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To lose one’s life is no great matter; when the time comes I’ll have the courage to lose mine. But what’s intolerable is to see one’s life being drained of meaning, to be told there’s no reason for existing. A man can’t live without some reason for living.
Albert CamusCaligula

word of godlike

You always seem to know what I mean. You see more, you just see more, and what you see is there all right. You get at the center of everything,
~Frida Kahlo, from a letter to Diego Rivera dated 31 June 1948

quoth the madman

 


The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.
~Henry David Thoreau