Category Archives: Lars Iyer


Sometimes, he cannot help but think that animals are close to the divine.

It is we who were expelled from paradise, he says. Not the animals.

The world outside of mind we can know only from the beast’s face, he says. He is quoting.

He cannot help but think that animals show him something. That an animal is nothing but that — showing.

There is a lesson he is being taught. There is a lesson that animals are trying to teach him. But how can he heed it?

What an animal is — is obvious. It is there, simple. As to what a human being is …

What would an animal say if it were able to speak? Of course, but animals remain on the other side of speech. On the far side of speech. Still, all the animals around us can be understood to interrupt our speaking, he says. To cut across it.

He has always thought of himself as awaiting the Word which will release him. It seems to him that it is this Word which resides with animals, on the side of animals.

The animal exists in a state of grace, of that he is sure. The animal is already in paradise.

— Lars Iyer, Wittgenstein Jr.



The hills are unaware that we are watching them, he says. The trees. The insects. This is what is marvellous.

No one is watching us, he says. Nothing sees us.

But at other times, it frightens him, this ‘no one is watching us’. It’s as though not-watching itself is watching; as though the sky, which sees nothing, sees everything in that seeing-nothing.

We can have no secrets from the sky, he says. We are read by the sky.

— Lars Iyer, Wittgenstein Jr. 

‘Only the hopeless can truly understand the everyday’

He can imagine me as a boy, W. says, cycling out through the new housing estates, and through what remained of the woodland – muddy tracks along field-edges, fenced-in bridleways and overgrown footpaths. —‘You were looking for something’, he says. ‘You knew something was missing.’

He sees it in his mind’s eye: I’m carrying my bike over the railway bridge. I’m cycling through glades of tree stumps in the forestry plantations. I’m following private roads past posh schools and riding academies. I’m looking for barrows and ley lines, W. says. I’m looking for Celtic gods and gods of any kind.

And what do I find as I wheel my bike across the golf course? What, in the carpark of an out-of-town retail park? What, on the bench outside the supermarket, eating my discounted sandwiches? The everyday, W. says, which is to say, the opposite of the gods.


Religion is about this world, about the ordinary, the everyday, W. says, over our pints at The Queen’s Oak. Why does no one understand that? W. says. Why will no one listen?

But when it comes to the everyday itself, I am the expert, not him, W. says. Only I understand what it means to reach the depths, which is to say the surface, of the everyday.

It has to be felt, the everyday, W. is convinced of that. It has to have defeated you. Humiliated you. A man who hasn’t been brought to his knees by the everyday can have no understanding of the everyday, says W., aphoristically.

I’ve certainly been brought to my knees, W. says, that much is clear. I’ve spent whole years on my knees.


‘We are ferociously religious’, says W., quoting Bataille. Are we? —‘Oh yes’, W. says, ‘especially you. Especially you!’ That’s why he hangs out with me, w. says, he’s sure of it: my immense religious instinct, of which I am entirely unaware.

It’s all to do with my intimate relationship with the everyday, W. says. It’s to do with my years of unemployment and menial work, he says.

When he thinks of religion, he immediately thinks of me working in my warehouse, he says. He thinks of me in the warehouse with no hope in my life.

Only the hopeless can truly understand the everyday, W. says. Only they can approach the everyday at its level. And only those who can approach the everyday in such a way are really religious, W. says.

— Lars Iyer, Dogma

A drop of the sea in the sea

W. dreams of a thought that would move with what it thinks, follow and respond to it, like a surfer his wave. A thought that would inhabit what was to be thought, like a fish the sea – no, a thought that would be only a drop of the sea in the sea, belonging to its object as water does to water.

— Lars Iyer, Dogma

A merciful supply of strength

Each time, the act of writing depends upon what Kafka has called ‘a merciful surplus of strength’ that returns the writer to the ‘I can’ that opens the world according to what is possible for a human being. Each time, strength lifts the writer from the quagmire, from those swamplike moods in which the self is not yet gathered together. Moods which, if not uncommon are too quickly forgotten, like the night mists that vanish with morning.


One writes for the disadjusted… that is to say, for one’s friends, and less for the friends one has than for the innumerable unknown people who have the same life as us, who roughly and crudely understand the same things, are able to accept or must refuse the same, and who are in the same state of powerlessness and official silence.

— Dionys Mascolo, via here

The Fall

How peaceful it had been, his college, when he first arrived! Colleagues greeted each other warmly. They sat out in the quadrangle, taking tea and discussing their scholarship. No one taught more than a couple of hours a week.

Then the fall began. Contact hours went up. Colleagues became busier; there was less time to talk. Scholars worked alone, with their office doors closed. But still they waved at one another across the quadrangle. Still they visited each other’s offices for tea.

Things fell still further. Colleagues worked in solitude, only in solitude. Some stayed home to work in their studies. Some fell ill in isolation. Some prayed in solitude in the college chapel.

And then? His colleagues have begun to scowl at one another, W. says. Colleagues snarl at each other in the college corridors. Who talks of their scholarship now? Who talks of ideas? Who reads now? Who writes?