Monthly Archives: August 2010


Fragments speak to me of hope. They reach out to completion but never reach it.


The world is various, abundant and incomplete. If it were ever to reach completion, that would be annihilation. The fragment represents life.

Lauren Albert

If man is once again to come into the vicinity of Being [die Nahe des Seins], he must first learn to exist in namelessness [Namenlosen]. He must recognize equally the seduction of the public and the powerlessness of the private. Before he speaks, he must allow himself again to be spoken to by Being and risk the danger that in being spoken to he will have little or rarely anything to say.

— Heidegger


Under every deep, another deep opens.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson


Do not believe that the person who is trying to offer you solace lives his life effortlessly among the simple and quiet words that might occasionally comfort you. His life is filled with much hardship and sadness, and it remains far behind yours. But if it were otherwise, he could never have found these words. 

— Rilke

(via here)


Recently, when I got out of the elevator at my usual hour, it occurred to me that my life, whose days more and more repeat themselves down to the smallest detail, resembles that punishment in which each pupil must according to his offence write down the same meaningless (in repetition, at least) sentence ten times, a hundred times or even oftener; except that in my case the punishment is given me with only this limitation: ‘as many times as you can stand it.’

— Kafka, Diaries

Clouds of mist

The difficulties (which other people surely find incredible) I have in speaking to people arise from the fact that my thinking, or rather the content of my consciousness, is entirely nebulous, that I remain undisturbed by this, so far as it concerns only myself, and am even occasionally self-satisfied; yet conversation with people demands pointedness, solidity, and sustained coherence, qualities not to be found in me. No one will want to lie in clouds of mist with me, and even if someone did, I couldn’t expel the mist from my head; when two people come together it dissolves of itself and is nothing.

— Kafka, Diaries

Cioran quotes

… we belong to a clinical age when only cases count.

The pessimist has to invent new reasons to exist every day: he is a victim of the ‘meaning’ of life.

What distinguishes us from our predecessors is our offhandedness with regard to Mystery. We have even renamed it: thus was born the Absurd …

Death reaches so far, requires so much room, that I no longer know where to die.

How can a man be a philosopher? How can he have the effrontery to contend with time, with beauty, with God, and the rest? The mind swells and hops, shamelessly. Metaphysics, poetry – a flea’s impertinences …

Sure of themselves, the English are boring; thus they pay for the centuries of liberty during which they could live without recourse to cunning, to the sly smile, to expedients. Easy to understand why, diametrically opposite, it is the Jews’ privilege to be the most wide awake of peoples.

In other times, the philosopher who did not write but thought incurred no scorn thereby; ever since we began prostrating ourselves before the effective, the work has become the absolute of vulgarity; those who produce none are regarded as failures. But such failures would have been the sages of another age; they will redeem ours by having left no traces.

Boredom is a larval anxiety; depression, a dreamy hatred.

Sooner or later, each desire must encounter its lassitude: its truth …

Awareness of time: assault on time …

Erect I make a resolution; prone I revoke it.

Our disgusts? – Detours of the disgust with ourselves.

If just once you were depressed for no reason, you have been so all your life without knowing it.

Becoming: an agony without an ending.

The older I grow, the less I enjoy performing my little Hamlet.

Don Quixote represents a civilisation’s youth: he made up events; – and we don’t know how to escape those besetting us.

You cannot protect your solitude if you cannot make yourself odious.

I live only because it is in my power to die when I choose to: without the idea of suicide, I’d have killed myself right away.

Adrft in the Vague, I cling to each wisp of affliction as to a drowning man’s plank.

Without God, everything is nothingness; and God? Supreme nothingness.

The desire to die was my one and only concern; to it I have sacrificed everything, even death.

Nature has created individuals only to relieve Suffering, to help it spread and scatter at their expense.

If History had a goal, how lamentable would be the fate of those of us who have accomplished nothing! But in the universal purposelessness, we stand proud, ineffectual streetwalkers, riffraff well-pleased with having been right.

To hope is to contradict the future.

What a pity that to reach God we must pass through faith!

Our embrassment in the presence of a ridiculous man derives from the fact that we cannot imagine him on his deathbed.

Only optimists commit suicide, the optimists who can no longer be … optimists. The others, having no reason to live, why should they have any to die?

The Old Testament knew how to imtimidate Heaven, how to shake a fist at whatever was on high: prayer was a quarrel between the creature and its creator. Came the Gospels to make nice: Christianity’s unforgiveable error.

Even when we believe we have dislodged God from our soul, He still lingers: we realise that He finds it tedious there, but we no longer have sufficient faith to entertain Him …

On the frontiers of the self: ‘What I have suffered, what I am suffering, no one will ever know, not even I’.

Events – tumours of time.

Man secretes disaster.

The secret of my adaptation to life? – I’ve changed despairs the way I’ve changed shirts.

Each day is a Rubicon in which I aspire to be drowned.

The last resort to those stricken by fate is the idea of fate.

Not knowing humiliation, you are ignorant of what it is to arrive at the last stage of yourself.

The more we frequent men, the blacker our thoughts; and when, to clarify them, we return to our solitude, we find there the shadow they have cast.

— from Cioran, All Gall is Divided

(via here)

I’m the wrong kind of person

A. I don’t know… I mostly only think things are different because people ask me different questions, but I don’t feel like things are very changed… I still do the same things I did before, I think about the same things.

Q. ‘I will never be a big rock star.’

A. Well, I said it because I think that’s true… But I’m not trying to avoid anything… I’d have to be more… I’m the wrong kind of person to be really big and famous.

Elliott Smith

Between the Bars

Drink up baby, stay up all night
With the things you could do
You won’t but you might
The potential you’ll be that you’ll never see
The promises you’ll only make
Drink up with me now
And forget all about the pressure of days
Do what I say and I’ll make you okay
And drive them away
The images stuck in your head

The people you’ve been before
That you don’t want around anymore
That push and shove and won’t bend to your will
I’ll keep them still

Drink up baby, look at the stars
I’ll kiss you again between the bars
Where I’m seeing you there with your hands in the air
Waiting to finally be caught
Drink up one more time and I’ll make you mine
Keep you apart, deep in my heart
Separate from the rest, where I like you the best
And keep the things you forgot

The people you’ve been before
That you don’t want around anymore
That push and shove and won’t bend to your will
I’ll keep them still

— Elliott Smith, ‘Between the Bars’


I used to write to You, but the You has dissolved out of my life. Rinsed of starch, I’m limp, limp as a cuttle-fish, scuttling, color-shifting, many predators. Laying eggs and going off to die.

Catherine Ednie

For only when I err do I get away from what I know and what I understand. If ‘truth’ were what I can understand, it would end up being but a small truth, my-sized. Truth must reside precisely in what I shall never understand.

— Clarice Lispector


It’s only when I say that everything is incomprehensible that I come as close as possible to understanding the only thing it is given to us to understand.

— Ionesco

(via here)

Love notes

I leave love notes all around the house. Dear You I write. Then I check them. Some begin Dear Me, and others begin Dear God.

Richard Jay Goldstein