Monthly Archives: August 2010

Fragments

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

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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

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Under every deep, another deep opens.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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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)

Punishment

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

The state we're in

It was only when they gave me the pills that I was able to start dealing with you in the first place, I tell X, don’t forget that. It was only then that the mist cleared up enough for me to start talking about how bad it was, about the state we’re in. I don’t care, he says, I’m still in the same state. What are you going to do about it?

A binding force

This cavernous space in my head, where the slightest noise echoes and multiplies, alongside the noises X makes; but at least I’m familiar with those. This huge dark non-space I have to negotiate to talk to people coherently, even to order a sandwich! It takes exceptional powers of concentration to live in the world, but I don’t have exceptional powers of concentration. A binding force is what’s needed. I often wonder where others find it, how they have it. I turn to X for help but he’s no help, of course, so I turn to you.

The noonday demon

The noonday demon that slides up the stairs, under my door and into bed with me while I’m recovering from a hangover. That’s you, I tell X. I hate you, I tell him. More than you hate me. You can’t imagine how much I hate you. If not for you I’d have stayed a good boy, I’d have made the transition from childhood all right, I’d have come through all right. I’d have been wearing a suit now, had a girlfriend or even a wife, even children, even a car, even a mortgage, I’d have been in the world instead of hiding in here, in my bed with you, with a hangover. I’d have been transparent. I’d have been able to talk to people, be in a community and take the hard knocks that come with being in a community. You think I want to live like this, in this secrecy, in this distrust of myself? You drove me to it, I say, you made me cryptic. I had to protect myself from you, I had to live in spite of you, they made me do it.

Me and the devil

Walking beside X, side by side, like Robert Johnson with his devil, pushing each other in different directions. Along Brighton’s seafront, from Portslade to the Marina, listening to African music, listening to Kraftwerk, listening to Robert Johnson: Early this morning, when you knocked upon my door. And I said hello Satan, I believe it’s time to go.

The self-help guru

Who are you kidding? X tells me. You say you’re happy and pass yourself off as some kind of self-help guru, you dare to judge me, but look at you! Frowning and drinking and looking at your feet when you could be looking at the sea or the hot girls, isn’t that the kind of thing you’d tell me?  Hypocrite! he says.

Brighton seafront

Brighton seafront on a sunny bank holiday. What could be better? Conscience clean after a week of hard physical work. Pleasantly hungover, taking pictures of the ruined pier, listening to Morgan Geist, listening to Kelley Polar, listening to Michael Jackson. Remember moments like these, I tell X, these moments that approach joy, even ecstasy, they’re the ones you should be remembering, they’re the ones that almost make it worth it. As MJ rightly said, When the world is on your shoulder gotta straighten up your act and boogie down. If you can’t hang with the feeling then there ain’t no room for you in this town. Listen to MJ! I say. Straighten up your act and stop frowning for no reason, people don’t frown here, this is a happy town. This town can save us if we let it, I tell him, that’s why I brought you here, don’t you understand? He looks around gloomily, silent for once. Later he mutters, If we can’t be happy here we can’t be happy anywhere.