When I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
Walt Whitman - When I heard the learn’d astronomer
June 19, 1937
A strange thing happened to me today. I saw a big thundercloud move down over Half Dome, and it was so big and clear and brilliant that it made me see many things that were drifting around inside of me; things that related to those who are loved and those who are real friends.
For the first time I know what love is; what friends are; and what art should be.
Love is a seeking for a way of life; the way that cannot be followed alone; the resonance of all spiritual and physical things. Children are not only of flesh and blood — children may be ideas, thoughts, emotions. The person of the one who is loved is a form composed of a myriad mirrors reflecting and illuminating the powers and thoughts and the emotions that are within you, and flashing another kind of light from within. No words or deeds may encompass it.
Friendship is another form of love — more passive perhaps, but full of the transmitting and acceptance of things like thunderclouds and grass and the clean granite of reality.
Art is both love and friendship, and understanding; the desire to give. It is not charity, which is the giving of Things, it is more than kindness which is the giving of self. It is both the taking and giving of beauty, the turning out to the light the inner folds of the awareness of the spirit. It is the recreation on another plane of the realities of the world; the tragic and wonderful realities of earth and men, and of all the inter-relations of these.
I wish the thundercloud had moved up over Tahoe and let loose on you; I could wish you nothing finer.
Albert Camus - Love of Life
For what gives value to travel is fear. It breaks down a kind of inner structure we have. One can no longer cheat—hide behind the hours spent at the office or at the plant (those hours we protest so loudly, which protect us so well from the pain of being alone). I have always wanted to write novels in which my heroes would say: “What would I do without the office?” or again: “My wife has died, but fortunately I have all these orders to fill for tomorrow.” Travel robs us of such refuge. Far from our own people, our own language, stripped of all our props (one doesn’t know the fare on the streetcars, or anything else), we are completely on the surface of ourselves. But also, soul-sick, we restore to every being and every object its miraculous value. A woman dancing without a thought in her head, a bottle on a table, glimpsed behind a curtain: each image becomes a symbol. The whole of life seems reflected in it, insofar as it summarizes our own life at the moment. When we are aware of every gift, the contradictory intoxications we can enjoy (including that of lucidity) are indescribable.
Henry Miller - Tropic of Cancer
I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company.
Jorge Luis Borges
I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved; all the cities I have visited.
Paris não tem fim - Enrique Vila-Matas
Ontem voltei a revisar essa alternativa que o livro de Perec oferece entre viver em um lugar ou em muitos, entre ser sedentário ou viajante, entre ser nacionalista rançoso ou nômade de espírito.
"Ou então enraizar-se, encontrar ou dar forma às raízes, arrancar ao espaço o lugar que será o nosso, construir, plantar, apropriar-se milímetro a milímetro da própria casa; pertencer por inteiro ao nosso povoado, saber que alguém é da região de Cevennes ou de Poitou.
"Ou então não levar nada mais além do que se veste, não guardar nada, viver em um hotel e mudar sempre de hotel e de cidade e de país, falar, ler indiferentemente quatro ou cinco línguas; não sentir-se em casa em lugar nenhum, porém sentir-se bem quase em todos os lugares."
Ontem me diverti uma enormidade ao reencontrar essas linhas de Perec, que resumi deste modo numa cartilha:
"Em definitivo, ir com os netos recolher amoras pelos estreitos caminhos nacionalistas ou viajar e perder países, perdê-los todos viajando nos trens iluminados do mundo noturno, ser estrangeiro sempre."
maggie and milly and molly and may, E. E. Cummings
maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)
and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and
milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;
and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles: and
may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.
For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea
I don’t know why it grieves me so
to be without a plan or a place to go
Tao Te Ching - Laozi
(Te Ching, 56)
Those who know do not talk.
Those who talk do not know.
Keep your mouth closed.
Guard your senses.
Temper your sharpness.
Simplify your problems.
Mask your brightness.
Be at one with the dust of the Earth.
This is primal union.
He who has achieved this state
Is unconcerned with friends and enemies,
With good and harm,
with honor and disgrace.
This therefore is the highest state of man.
Jiddu Krishnamurti - Silence (Commentaries on Living)
The car stopped at the houses. The barking of the dog, the unpacking of the car and the general disturbances in no way affected this extraordinary silence. There was no disturbance, and the stillness went on. The wind was among the pines, the shadows were long, and a wildcat sneaked away among the bushes. In this silence there was movement, and the movement was not a distraction. There was no fixed attention from which to be distracted. There is distraction when the main interest shifts; but in this silence there was absence of interest, and so there was no wandering away. Movement was not away from the silence but was of it. It was the stillness, not of death, of decay, but of life in which there was a total absence of conflict. With most of us, the struggle of pain and pleasure, the urge of activity, gives us the sense of life; and if that urge were taken away, we should be lost and soon disintegrate. But this stillness and its movement was creation ever renewing itself. It was a movement that had no beginning and so had no ending; nor was it a continuity. Movement implies time; but here there was no time. Time is the more and the less, the near and the far, yesterday and tomorrow; but in this stillness all comparison ceased. It was not a silence that came to an end to begin again; there was no repetition. The many tricks of the cunning mind were wholly absent.
Derrick Jensen - A Language Older Than Words
What if the point of life has nothing to do with the creation of an ever-expanding region of control? What if the point is not to keep at bay all those people, beings, objects and emotions that we so needlessly fear? What if the point instead is to let go of that control? What if the point of life, the primary reason for existence, is to lie naked with your lover in a shady grove of trees? What if the point is to taste each other’s sweat and feel the delicate pressure of finger on chest, thigh on thigh, lip on cheek? What if the point is to stop, then, in your slow movements together, and listen to the birdsong, to watch the dragonflies hover, to look at your lover’s face, then up at the undersides of leaves moving together in the breeze? What if the point is to invite these others into your movement, to bring trees, wind, grass, dragonflies into your family and in so doing abandon any attempt to control them? What if the point all along has been to get along, to relate, to experience things on their own terms? What if the point is to feel joy when joyous, love when loving, anger when angry, thoughtful when full of thought? What if the point from the beginning has been to simply be?
I don’t mind failing in this world,
I don’t mind failing in this world,
Don’t mind wearing the ragged britches
'Cause those who succeed are the sons of bitches,
I don’t mind failing in this world.
Jiddu Krishnamurti - Aloness and Isolation (Commentaries on Living)
A few chattering villagers passed by on their bicycles, and once again there was deep silence and that peace which comes when all things are alone. This aloneness is not aching, fearsome loneliness. It is the aloneness of being; it is uncorrupted, rich, complete.