By Louis MacNeice
It is patent to the eye that cannot face the sun
The smug philosophers lie who say the world is one;
World is other and other, world is here and there,
Parmenides would smother life for lack of air
Precluding birth and death; his crystal never breaks—
No movement and no breath, no progress nor mistakes,
Nothing begins or ends, no one loves or fights,
All your foes are friends and all your days are nights
And all the roads lead round and are not roads at all
And the soul… Click here for this wonderful poem…
“For as the carpenter’s material is wood, and that of the statuary is copper, so the matter of the art of living is each man’s life…
“The question at stake,” said Epictetus, “is no common one; it is this:—Are we in our senses, or are we not?”
– Excerpt From: Epictetus. “A Selection from the Discourses of Epictetus with the Encheiridion.”
Not magnitude, not lavishness,
But Form—the Site;
Not innovating wilfulness,
But reverence for the Archetype.
I just finished Moby Dick for the second time. A hybrid, genius work way ahead of its time, combining a nonfiction, direct address to the reader and narrative fiction, in short a swirl and swerve that follows Melville’s daemon to tell his tale like no other, which he did. By the end, he’s understandably exhausted. But we have been told in a new, pre-modern archetype.
Isn’t it it
Or is it it
Or is it it
It’s it isn’t
From Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage by the clear-eyed Kurt Vonnegut. Palm Sunday, a moveable feast, was March 20 this year.
“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.”
“Anyway—because we are readers, we don’t have to wait for some communications executive to decide what we should think about next—and how we should think about it. We can fill our heads with anything from aardvarks to zucchinis—at any time of night or day.”
“As for literary criticism in general: I have long felt that any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel or a play or a poem is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae or a banana split.”
“I believe that reading and writing are the most nourishing forms of meditation anyone has so far found. By reading the writings of the most interesting minds in history, we meditate with our own minds and theirs as well. This to me is a miracle.”
“Be aware of this truth that the people on this earth could be joyous, if only they would live rationally and if they would contribute mutually to each others’ welfare.
“This world is not a vale of sorrows if you will recognize discriminatingly what is truly excellent in it; and if you will avail yourself of it for mutual happiness and well-being. Therefore, let us explain as often as possible, and particularly at the departure of life, that we base our faith on firm foundations, on Truth for putting into action our ideas which do not depend on fables and ideas which Science has long ago proven to be false.”
“I chose cultural anthropology, since it offered the greatest opportunity to write high-minded balderdash.”
“Laughs are exactly as honorable as tears. Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion, to the futility of thinking and striving anymore. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.”
“Trust a crowd to look at the wrong end of a miracle every time.”
“I propose that every person out of work be required to submit a book report before he or she gets his or her welfare check.”
“Bertrand Russell declared that, in case he met God, he would say to Him, “Sir, you did not give us enough information.” I would add to that, “All the same, Sir, I’m not persuaded that we did the best we could with the information we had. Toward the end there, anyway, we had tons of information.”
“A society, on occasion, can be the worst possible describer of mental health.”
“I know at last what I want to be when I grow up. When I grow up I want to be a little boy.”
“Some of you might go out and kill Communists, but that is no longer a fashionable thing to do. And you wouldn’t be killing real Communists anyway. This country has fulfilled more of the requirements of the Communist Manifesto than any avowedly Communist nation ever did. Maybe we’re the Communists.”
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
Roy & Laddawan
One of dozens of such illuminative moments: “… for it is so shaded off into the surrounding infinite of things, that it seemed one of the general stolidity discernible in the whole visible world; which while causelessly active in uncounted modes, still eternally holds its peace, and ignores you, though you dig foundations for cathedrals.”