Monthly Archives: September 2011

Your property

I give you money
You’re superior
I don’t exist
You control me
You’re corrupt
You deform me
You own me
You own me
I worship your authority
I worship your authority
You’re deformed
You’re corrupt
You own me
You own me

Swans

This place stinks of God!

How could we know what God wants to do with us when we cannot even know what we are nor who we are?

There is no human being on earth capable of declaring with certitude who he is. No one knows what he has come into this world to do, what his acts correspond to, his sentiments, his ideas, or what his real name is, his enduring Name in the register of Light…History is an immense liturgical text where iotas and dots are worth no less than the entire verse or chapters, but the importance of one and the other is indeterminable, and profoundly hidden.

Love does not make you weak, because it is the source of all strength, but it makes you see the nothingness of the illusory strength on which you depended before you knew it.

The Eiffel Tower is a truly tragic street lamp.

My existence is a sad country where it is always raining….

My only recourse is the expedient of placing at the service of truth what has been given me by the Father of Lies.

We suffer from that which does not exist. That which is does not cause suffering.

There are places in the heart that do not yet exist; suffering has to enter in for them to come to be.

Suffering passes, but the fact of having suffered never passes.

Consider that Jesus suffered in His heart with all the knowledge of a God, and that in His heart there was every human heart and every form of suffering from Adam until the consummation of the world. Ah yes, to suffer for others can be a great joy if one has a generous soul, but to suffer in others is to really suffer!

Freedom is the respect God has for us.

The worst evil is not the crime committed, but the failure to do the good one might have done.

Any Christian who is not a hero is a pig.

I die of the need of justice.

I pray like a robber asking alms at the door of a farmhouse to which he is ready to set fire.

I am simply a poor man who seeks his God, sobbing and calling Him along all roads.

Léon Bloy

The free market

W. remembers the first time they tried to destroy philosophy. It was the ’80s, and he was a young student. He remembers the departmental closures. He remembers the demonstrations. And he remembers questions in the House of Lords about the closure of the humanities. About the closure of philosophy!

Of course, philosophy survived the cuts of the ’80s, just about, W. says. They closed half the departments. They made half the teachers of philosophy redundant, or moved them across to jobs in other subject areas. It was a terrible time.

But at least the government recognised philosophy as the enemy back then, W. says. At least they understood its power. The humanities are the enemy of capitalism: that’s what they understood. Philosophy is the eternal adversary of capitalism … Yes, the government understood that.

But now? The government no longer understands the humanities as an enemy, W. says. The government have nothing in particular against philosophy. They don’t hate us, W. says. They don’t even take us as their enemy. They have no idea that we’re their enemies, W. says. They have no notion that the weapons of our thought are turned against them …

They do not oppose us on ideological grounds, or because they suspect us of subversion. They are not concerned that philosophy is training terrorists of thought. They’re simply going to marketise education, W. says. They’re simply going to turn the university over to the free market, just as they are turning all the sectors of the economy over to the free market. It’s got nothing to do with philosophy in particular …

We can’t become martyrs to philosophy, because its destroyers do not even see philosophy. We can’t become warriors for philosophy, because there is no particular battle against philosophy. We cannot set ourselves on fire for philosophy, because no one would understand the meaning of our sacrifice.

Spurious

Most writers waste people’s time with too many words. I’m trying to reduce everything down to the minimum. My last work will be a blank piece of paper.

– Beckett

With Joyce the difference is that Joyce was a superb manipulator of material – perhaps the greatest. He was making words do the absolute maximum of work. There isn’t a syllable that’s superfluous. The kind of work I do is one in which I’m not master of my material. The more Joyce knew the more he could. He’s tending toward omniscience and omnipotence as an artist. I’m working with impotence and ignorance. I don’t think impotence has been exploited in the past. My little exploration is that little zone of being that has always been set aside by artists as something unusable – as something by definition incomparable with art.

– Beckett, New York Times interview, 1956

For a long time you’d spend weeks on your own, talking to no one except cashiers. But even then you suspected you were only skirting the edges of solitude, as if true solitude wasn’t personal.

This flame of beauty

The people who sang for us were in stripes and there were guards there with shotguns. They were singing under the red hot sun of Texas, people obviously in enormous trouble. But, when they opened their mouths, out came this flame of beauty. This sound which matched anything I’d heard from Beethoven, Brahms, or Dvorák.

- Alan Lomax

In the night it became clear to me

Writing is a sweet and wonderful reward, but for what? In the night it became clear to me, as clear as a child’s lesson book, that it is the reward for serving the devil. This descent to the dark powers, this unshackling of spirits bound by nature, these dubious embraces and whatever else may take place in the nether parts which the higher parts no longer know, when one writes one’s stories in the sunshine.

– Kafka (via here)

Nothing to declare

Waiting for Godot frankly jettisons everything by which we recognise theatre. It arrives at the custom-house, as it were, with no luggage, no passport, and nothing to declare; yet it gets through, as might a pilgrim from Mars. It does this, I believe, by appealing to a definition of drama much more fundamental than any in the books.

Kenneth Tynan

Anxieties

Your anxieties, when did they start? No prize for guessing: when I turned up. But they seemed to have a life of their own, didn’t they? Didn’t they creep into your life despite me, despite you, almost as if they were there before us, as if they had no regard for us? Nothing we did could stop them because we did nothing in unison. It was almost admirable how they crept up on you, wasn’t it, how they undermined you better than any enemy could have done: how they got to you before me. Or was it my arrival itself that brought them into being? From the most primitive fears – I can’t leave my room, not while there are still voices in the hall – to the delicate sensation of the marrow in your bones turning into cold metal rods, quivering ever so slightly.