Tag Archives: books

Not even for nothing*

leclezio4460

Triumph of pain – treachery of the eyes, the ears, the skin. One has to trudge through this desert all one’s life. To see and to hear. To hear and see. To eat. To laugh. To talk, smoke, drink. To feel. To procreate. To write. To breathe. To be in pain. To bleed, to tremble. To be angry. To suffer. To cry out, to sleep, to wait. Fatigue is everywhere. There is no way, really no way of avoiding it. One has to toil, to feel hot, to feel cold. To caress. To enjoy. To understand, to understand without pause. Every day. Like that, every day, without exception. To urinate. To taste. To let oneself be carried away by useless words. To adopt paces and habits. To seek for phrases, to stretch one’s ears and eyes, to stretch one’s skin. To pretend to love, to love really, perhaps. All that, not even for nothing; for it’s not even possible to resort to nothingness so as to determine one’s life; man is not alone; vulgar, garish things inhabit him, shape him. There’s no way of judging. There is no absurdity, for there is not even any separation between what is and what ought to be. God, if he exists, must be left in full control: never, no, never, shall we really know what a little worm man is.

*The text above is taken from the story “A day of old age” written by J.M.G. Le Clezio.

 

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Books, altars and faith

william t howell allchin open book and spectacles

Everything that I know, I am sure, I know not.
Everything that I have truly learned I have forgotten.
My own opinions I view with great suspicion.
Feeling that I am right I know that I am wrong.
Only in doubts I remain certain and assured.
Theories that I have proved I consider refuted.
Beliefs that I hold firmly I consider false.
Views with which I agree I regard as misguided.
I disregard the evidence that I have gathered.
My sight is blurred and my vision – myopic.
How could I cast the last stone?
How could I have the keys to every cave and alley?
My experiences are a spider’s web of prejudices and biases.
I abhor sentiments which reflect my own.
People that I regularly meet are strangers to me.
My brothers are ghosts and my sisters are shadows.
Books are the altars on which I sacrifice my hours
and all the letters in the world are the articles of my faith.

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A dance in a step and a song in a note

Valentin_de_Boulogne_-_Musician_and_Drinkers
I am a dance in a step
and a song in a note.
I am a book in a word
and a poem in a verse.
I am alphabet in a letter
and infinity in a number.
I am a machine in a ghost
and a shell in a pearl. Continue reading

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A great joy and happiness*

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It was in the autumn of 1826. I was in a dull state of nerves, such as everybody is occasionally liable to; unsusceptible to enjoyment or pleasurable excitement; one of those moods when what is pleasure at other times, becomes insipid or indifferent; the state, I should think, in which converts to Methodism usually are, when smitten by their first “conviction of sin.” In this frame of mind it occurred to me to put the question directly to myself: “Suppose that all your objects in life were realized; that all the changes in institutions and opinions which you are looking forward to, could be completely effected at this very instant: would this be a great joy and happiness to you?” And an irrepressible self-consciousness distinctly answered, “No!” At this my heart sank within me: the whole foundation on which my life was constructed fell down. All my happiness was to have been found in the continual pursuit of this end. The end had ceased to charm, and how could there ever again be any interest in the means? I seemed to have nothing left to live for.

*The passage above comes from the Autobiography of John Stuart Mill.

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Man is to me as the red spider is to the elephant*

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  • Men have nothing in common with me – there is no point of contact; they have foolish little feelings and foolish little vanities and impertinences and ambitions: their foolish little life is but a laugh, a sigh, and extinction; and they have no sense….I will show you what I mean. Here is a red spider, not so big as a pin’s head. Can you imagine an elephant being interested in him – caring whether he is happy or isn’t, or whether he is wealthy or poor, or whether his sweetheart returns his love or not, or whether his mother is sick or well, or whether he is looked up to in society or not, or whether his enemies will smite him or his friends desert him, or whether his hopes will suffer blight or his political ambitions fail, or whether he shall die in the bosom of his family or neglected and despised in a foreign land? These things can never be important to the elephant; they are nothing to him; he cannot shrink his sympathies to the microscopic size of them. Man is to me as the red spider is to the elephant.

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Such love as this

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Today I started reading Franklin Foer‘s book “How Soccer explains the World: An unlikely theory of globalization“. When I opened the front cover, I saw this…   Continue reading

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Who can I go and see? No one. Where can I go? Nowhere.

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Time passes, stands still, moves on again. Sleep is oblivion, annihilation. And even when I wake there are spaces of time that are blank to me. 

Who can I go and see? No one. Where can I go? Nowhere.

The days merge together more and more, each one like the other. You wake, rise, look for drink, fall asleep again, staring into darkness, seeing nothing, feeling nothing, hearing nothing. Time passes nonetheless.

Who can I go and see? No one. Where can I go? Nowhere.

Everybody’s talking as if they had something really important to say. All of us bursting with life. But in the mornings there is only sickness. Shit, piss, talk, laugh; the only thing I wanted to do was sleep.

Who can I go and see? No one. Where can I go? Nowhere.

Looks fade quickly. Hair turns grey, teeth fall out, wrinkles appear on top of wrinkles, sight fails, bodily functions fail, the mind deteriorates, memory goes, pity goes, to be replaced by aggression. 

Who can I go and see? No one. Where can I go? Nowhere.

Fear plays a large part, it compels us. Everyone and everything is full of tension. There are no tomorrows; tomorrows can’t be relied upon to come. 

Who can I go and see? No one. Where can I go? Nowhere.* Continue reading

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