Monthly Archives: November 2009

No one home

X tells me he’ll die if he gets up there. There’s no point, there’d be nothing for them to see, he’d be a shell, an empty shell. They’d suck the life out of him before he got up there, he says, they’ve already sucked the life out of him. It’s not their fault, whose fault is it, he’s already dead, he can’t think, there’s no one left, no one home.

Born grave

The grown-ups pursued me, the just, caught me, beat me, hounded me back into the round, the game, the jollity. For I was already in the toils of earnestness. That has been my disease. I was born grave as others syphilitic. And gravely I struggled to be grave no more, to live, to invent, I know what I mean. But at each fresh attempt I lost my head, fled to my shadows as to sanctuary, to his lap who can neither live nor suffer the sight of others living.

– Beckett, Malone Dies

If this continues

If this continues it is myself I shall lose and the thousand ways that lead there. And I shall resemble the wretches famed in fable, crushed beneath the weight of their wish come true. And I even feel a wish come over me, the desire to know what I am doing, and why. So I near the goal I set myself in my young days and which prevented me from living. And on the threshold of being no more I succeed in being another. Very pretty.

– Beckett, Malone Dies

Shoot me now

This is it, X tells me, for sure this is it, I woke up and I knew it at once. Just shoot me, he says, or bite my head off, pretend you’re the black dog at the end of Damnation and just bite my head off and eat it, ’cause it’s over, it’s done, I’m done, I know it and you know it, it’s not even funny anymore. Jerk my flesh off and growl at the other dogs, I won’t care, I’ll be gone. It’s all dead, he says, we live on a dying earth. No, a long-dead earth, dry and crusty, shoot me now, he says.

The desert trace

Your very something
must become nothing,
drive all something, all nothing away!
Leave place, leave time,
and images as well!
Go without way
On the narrow path,
Thus you will come to the desert trace.

– Master Eckhart (tr. W. Franke)

I could see the road ahead of me

I could see the road ahead of me. I was poor and I was going to stay poor. But I didn’t particularly want money. I didn’t know what I wanted. Yes, I did. I wanted someplace to hide out, someplace where one didn’t have to do anything. The thought of being something didn’t only appal me, it sickened me. The thought of being a lawyer or a councilman or an engineer, anything like that, seemed impossible to me. To get married, to have children. To get trapped in the family structure. To go someplace to work every day and return. It was impossible. To do things, simple things, to be part of family picnics, Christmas, the 4th of July, Labor Day, Mother’s Day… was a man born just to endure these things and then die? I would rather be a dishwasher, return alone to a tiny room and drink myself to sleep.

– Bukowski

Impossible moments

‘We experienced what we experienced, we’re still alive, all we can do is go on talking to you without talking to you, the anonymous, refusing but accepting our past. Life could go on, could end, or could go on ending. Impossible moments. The past returns, unfortunately. It could go on happening or it could go on ending in our words. We try to speak your words and wonder if it’s the end of the end or a new beginning.’

And we go on

‘Your words enter me and make me dizzy. You kill me and bring me to life: your words remove you from me and become my words, become you in me. Show yourself. Silence, the word silence shows itself. Is this some kind of test? I name you “you” and try to let you speak, to name me. This is impossible, and we go on.’

‘I ask you to speak to me, to give me a new voice. You tell me my question is a voice, my speech an interruption.’

Q. How did you get into philosophy in the first place?

A. Failure.

Simon Critchley