Wednesday, October 10, 2007

See you soon!

"The journey not the arrival matters."

T. S. Eliot

Why travel:

"The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land." G.K. Chesterton

"To get away from one's working environment is, in a sense, to get away from one's self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change." Charles Horton Cooley

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." Mark Twain

“Make voyages! Attempt them... there's nothing else.” Tennessee Williams

Getting ready:

"When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money." Susan Heller

"He who would travel happily must travel light." Antoine de St. Exupery


““Remember what Bilbo used to say: It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”” J.R.R. Tolkien

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." Lao Tzu

"For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move." Robert Louis Stevenson

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

"There is no moment of delight in any pilgrimage like the beginning of it." Charles Dudley Warner


"It is not down in any map; true places never are." Herman Melville

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." -- Helen Keller

"Traveling is almost like talking with men of other centuries." René Descartes

"Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living." –- Miriam Beard

"One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." Henry Miller

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." St. Augustine

"A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving." Lao Tzu

Traveler or tourist?

"The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes "sight-seeing."" Daniel J. Boorstin

"If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home." James Michener

"The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see." G.K. Chesterton

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost

The language barrier:

“Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.” Goethe


“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” Martin Buber

Lessons and memories:

"Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe." Anatole France

"Long voyages, great lies." Italian proverb

"To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries." Aldous Huxley

"Let your memory be your travel bag." Alexander Solzhenitsyn

"Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen." Benjamin Disraeli

"We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open." Jawaharal Nehru

“Experience, travel - these are as education in themselves.” Euripedes

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” Maya Angelou

“Travel teaches toleration.” Benjamin Disraeli

Home is where one starts from

Istanbul, Turkey, 2006

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

T. S. Eliot

Feels better already!

My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished 2 bags of M&M's and a chocolate cake. I feel better already.

Dave Barry 1947-


Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book.

Stephan Mallarme

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I am a King!

I only speak of the Sun
because the Sun is my Master
I worship even the dust at His feet.
I am not a night-lover and do not praise sleep
I am the messenger of the Sun!
Secretly I will ask Him and pass the answers to you.
Like the Sun I shine on those who are forsaken
I may look drunk and disheveled but I speak the Truth.
Tear off the mask, your face is glorious,
your heart may be cold as stone but
I will warm it with my raging fire.
No longer will I speak of sunsets or rising Moons,
I will bring you love's wine
for I am born of the Sun
I am a King!

Ghazal (Ode) 1621
Translated by Azima Melita Kolin
and Maryam Mafi
Rumi: Hidden Music
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2001

Walking in darkness

He whom love touches not walks in darkness.


Humor - Scientific Adages

Scientific Adages

1. All articles that coruscate with resplendence are not truly auriferous.

2. Sorting on the part of mendicants must be interdicted.

3. A revolving lithic conglomerate accumulates no congeries of small, green, biophytic plant.

4. Members of an avian species of identical plumage tend to congregate.

5. It is fruitless to become lachrymose of precipitately departed lacteal fluid.

6. It is fruitless to attempt to indoctrinate a super- annuated canine with innovative maneuvers.

7. Surveillance should precede saltation.

8. Individuals who make their abodes in vitreous edifices would be advised to refrain from catapulting petrious projectiles.

9. Where there are visible vapors having their provenance in ignited carbonaceous materials, there is conflagration.

Adages Translated to English

1. All that Glitters is not Gold.

2. Beggars cannot be choosers.

3. A Rolling Stone gathers no Moss.

4. Birds of a feather flock together.

5. Don't cry over Spilt Milk.

6. You can’t teach an Old Dog new Tricks.

7. Look before you leap.

8. Those who live Glass Houses should cast no stones.

9. Where there is smoke, there will be fire.

Practical Adages

People who live in glass houses should make love in the basement.

Never read the fine print. There ain't no way you're going to like it.

If you let a smile be your umbrella, then most likely your butt will get soaking wet.

The only two things we do with greater frequency in middle age are urinate and attend funerals.

The trouble with bucket seats is that not everybody has the same size bucket.

To err is human, to forgive - highly unlikely.

Do you realize that in about 40 years, we'll have thousands of old ladies running around with tattoos?

Money can't buy happiness -- but somehow it's more comfortable to cry in a Porsche than in a Hyundai.

Drinking makes some husbands see double and feel single.

Living in a nudist colony takes all the fun out of Halloween.

After a certain age, if you don't wake up aching in every joint, you are probably dead.



You can only be lost
If you are trying
To get somewhere.

Ram Tzu

Chuang Tzu

1. “All existing things are really one. We regard those that are beautiful and rare as valuable, and those that are ugly as foul and rotten The foul and rotten may come to be transformed into what is rare and valuable, and the rare and valuable into what is foul and rotten. Therefore it is said that one vital energy pervades the world. Consequently, the sage values Oneness.”
2. "Cherish that which is within you, and shut off that which is without; for too much knowledge is a curse.
3. “Death is not a beginning; death is not an end. Who knows when the end is reached? Death may be the beginning of life. How do I know that love of life is not a delusion after all? How do I know that he who dreads to die is as a child who has lost the way and cannot find his home? How do I know but that the dead repent of having previously clung to life?”
4. “Do not struggle.
Go with the flow of things,
And you will find yourself at one with
The mysterious unity of the Universe.”
5. ”Do the clouds make rain? Or is it the rain that makes the clouds? What makes it descend so copiously? Who is it that has the leisure to devote himself, with such abandoned glee, to making these things happen?"
6. "Do the heaven's revolve? Does the earth stand still? Do the sun and the moon contend for their positions? Who has the time to keep them all moving? Is there some mechanical device that keeps them going automatically? Or do they merely continue to revolve, inevitably, of their own inertia?“
7. "Easy is right. Begin right and you are easy. Continue easy and you are right. The right way to go easy Is to forget the right way And forget that the going is easy."
8. “Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.”
9. “Great knowledge sees all in one. Small knowledge breaks down into the many.”
10. ”Great knowledge is all-encompassing; small knowledge is limited. Great words are inspiring; small words are chatter. When we are asleep, we are in touch with our souls. When we are awake, our senses open. We get involved with our activities and our minds are distracted. Sometimes we are hesitant, sometimes underhanded, and sometimes secretive. Little fears cause anxiety, and great fears cause panic. Our words fly off like arrows, as though we knew what was right and wrong. We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. And yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away. We are caught in the current and cannot return. We are tied up in knots like an old clogged drain; we are getting closer to death with no way to regain our youth. Joy and anger, sorrow and happiness, hope and fear, indecision and strength, humility and willfulness, enthusiasm and insolence, like music sounding from an empty reed or mushrooms rising from the warm dark earth, continually appear before us day and night. No one knows whence they come. Don't worry about it! Let them be! How can we understand it all in one day?”
11. "Great wisdom is generous; petty wisdom is contentious. Great speech is impassioned, small speech is cantankerous."
12. “Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.”
13. “Heaven, Earth and I were created together, and all things and I are one.”
14. "He who knows he is a fool is not the biggest fool; He who knows he is confused is not in the worst confusion."
15. “He who regards all things as one is a companion of Nature.”
16. “In a river mist, if another boat knocks against yours, you might yell at the other fellow to stay clear. But if you notice then, that it's an empty boat, adrift with nobody aboard, you stop yelling. When you discover that all the others are drifting boats, there's no one to yell at. And when you find out you are an empty boat, there's no one to yell.”
17. “In the days when natural instincts prevailed, men moved quietly and gazed steadily. At that time, there were no roads over mountains, nor boats, nor bridges over water. All things were produced, each for its own proper sphere. Birds and beasts multiplied; trees and shrubs grew up. The former might be led by the hand; you could climb up and peep into a raven's nest. For then man dwelt with the birds and beasts, and all creation was one. There were no distinctions of good and bad men; being all equally without knowledge, their virtue could not go astray. Being all equally without evil desires, they were in a state of natural integrity, the perfection of human existence.”
18. “It receives but does not keep.”
19. “I want to tell you something else I have learned. In all human relations, if the two parties are living close to each other, they may form a bond through personal trust. But if they are far apart, they must use words to communicate the loyalty, and words must be transmitted by someone. To transmit words that are either pleasing to both parties or infuriating to both parties is one of the most difficult things in the world. Where both parties are pleased, there must be some exaggeration of the good points and where both parties are angered, there must be some exaggeration of the bad points. Anything that smacks of exaggeration is irresponsible. Where there is irresponsibility, no one will trust what is said, and when that happens, the man who is transmitting the words will be in danger. Therefore the aphorism says, "Transmit the established facts; do not transmit words of exaggeration." If you do that, you will probably come out all right.”
20. "Joy and anger, sorrow and happiness, worries and regrets, indecision and fears, come upon us by turns, with everchanging moods, like music from the hollows, or like mushrooms from damp. Day and night they alternate within us, but we cannot tell whence they spring. Alas! Alas! Could we for a moment lay our finger upon their very Cause? "But for these emotions I should not be. Yet but for me, there would be no one to feel them. So far we can go; but we do not know by whose order they come into play. It would seem there was a soul; {9} but the clue to its existence is wanting. That it functions is credible enough, though we cannot see its form. Perhaps it has inner reality without outward form.”
21. “Let everything be allowed to do what it naturally does, so its nature will be satisfied.”
22. “Look at this window: it is nothing but a hole in the wall, but because of it the whole room is full of light. So when the faculties are empty, the heart is full of light.”
23. “Love of colors bewilders the eye and it fails to see right.
Love of harmonies bewitches the ear, and it loses its true hearing.
Love of perfumes fills the head with dizziness.
Love of flavors ruins the taste.
Desires unsettle the heart until the original nature runs amok.”
24. "Once I, Chuang Tzu, dreamed I was a butterfly and was happy as a butterfly. I was conscious that I was quite pleased with myself, but I did not know that I was Tzu. Suddenly I awoke, and there was I, visibly Tzu. I do not know whether it was Tzu dreaming that he was a butterfly or the butterfly dreaming that he was Tzu. Between Tzu and the butterfly there must be some distinction. [But one may be the other.] This is called the transformation of things."
25. "The birth of a man is the birth of his sorrow. The longer he lives, the more stupid he becomes, because his anxiety to avoid unavoidable death becomes more and more acute. What bitterness! He lives for what is always out of reach! His thirst for survival in the future makes him incapable of living in the present."
26. ”These five are enemies of true life.
Yet these are what men of discernment claim to live for.
They are not what I live for.
If this is life, then pigeons in a cage have found happiness!”
27. “Make excursions in pure simplicity.
Identify yourself with non-distinction.
Follow the nature of things and admit no personal bias.
Then the world will be in peace.”
28. “Men honor what lies within the sphere of their knowledge, but do not realize how dependent they are on what lies beyond it.”
29. "Rewards and punishments are the lowest form of education."
30. ”The fish trap exists because of the fish. Once you've gotten the fish you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit. Once you've gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning. Once you've gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him?”
31. "The mind of the perfect man is like a mirror. It does not lean forward or backward in response to things. It responds to things but conceals nothing of its own. Therefore it is able to deal with things without injury to [its reality]."
32. “The perfect man uses his mind as a mirror. It grasps nothing. It regrets nothing. It receives but does not keep.”
33. "The sage has the sun and the moon by his side. He grasps the universe under his arm. He blends everything into a harmonious whole, casts aside whatever is confused or obscured, and regards the humble as honorable. While the multitude toil, he seems to be
stupid and non-discriminative. He blends the disparities of ten thousand years into one complete purity. All things are blended like this and mutually involve each other."
34. “The space under the sky is occupied by all things in their unity.”
35. “The universe and I exist together and all things and I are one.”
36. "The universe is the unity of all things. If one recognizes his identity with this unity, then the parts of his body mean no more to him than so much dirt, and death and life, end and beginning, disturb his tranquillity no more than the succession of day and night."
37. “To him everything was in process of destruction, everything was in process of construction. This is called tranquility in disturbance. Tranquility in disturbance means that it is especially in the midst of disturbance that [tranquility] becomes perfect.”
38. “To know when to stop,
to know when you can get no further by your own action,
this is the right beginning!”
39. “We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.”
40. “When the shoe fits, the foot is forgotten.
When the belt fits, the belly is forgotten.
When the heart is right, "for" and "against" are forgotten.
No drives, no compulsions, no needs, no attractions:
Then your affairs are under control.
You are a free man.”
“When water is still, it is like a mirror, reflecting the beard and the eyebrows. It gives the accuracy of the water-level, and the philosopher makes it his model. And if water thus derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind? The mind of the Sage being in repose becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.”
“Words are not just blown air. They have a meaning. If you are not sure what you are talking about, are you saying anything, or are you saying nothing?”
41. “... You never find happiness until you stop looking for it. My greatest happiness consists precisely in doing nothing whatever that is calculated to obtain happiness: and this, in the minds of most people, is the worst possible course...If you ask "what ought to be done" and "what ought not to be done" on earth in order to produce happiness, I answer that these questions do not have an answer. There is no way of determining such things. Yet at the same time, if I cease striving for happiness, the "right' and the "wrong" at once become apparent all by themselves. Contentment and well-being at once become possible the moment you cease to act with them in view, and if you practice non-doing (wu wei), you will have both happiness and well-being.”
42. “You train your eye and your vision lusts after color.
You train your ear, and you long for delightful sound.
You delight in doing good, and your natural kindness is blown out of shape.
You delight in righteousness, and you become righteous beyond all reason.
You overdo liturgy, and you turn into a ham actor.
Overdo your love of music, and you play corn.
Love of wisdom leads to wise contriving.
Love of knowledge leads to faultfinding.
If men would stay as they really are, taking or leaving these eight delights would make no difference.
But if they will not rest in their right state, the eight delights develop like malignant tumors.
The world falls into confusion.
Since men honour these delights, and lust after them, the world has gone stone-blind.
When the delight is over, they still will not let go of it... “

Don't say things

Don't say things. What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Universal grin

All Nature wears one universal grin.

Henry Fielding (1707-1754)
_Tom Thumb_ [1730]; Act I, Scene I

'Tis better

'Tis better to have loved and lost,
Than never to have loved at all.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
_In Memoriam_ [1850]; Canto 27, Stanza 4

Creeds must disagree

"Creeds must disagree: it is the whole fun of the thing. If I think the universe is triangular, and you think it is square, there cannot be room for two universes. We may argue politely, we may argue humanely, we may argue with great mutual benefit; but, obviously, we must argue. Modern toleration is really a tyranny. It is a tyranny because it is a silence. To say that I must not deny my opponent's faith is to say I must not discuss it . . . It is absurd to have a discussion on Comparative Religions if you don't compare them.

G.K. Chesterton

Monday, October 8, 2007

Embrace the light and let it guide you

First, lay down your head
then one by one
let go of all distractions.
Embrace the light and let it guide you
beyond the winds of desire.
There you will find a spring and
nourished by its sweet waters
like a tree you will bear fruit forever.


The easiest thing

"The easiest thing in the world to be is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position."

Leo Buscaglia

Life is

Life is, in fact, a battle. ... Evil is insolent and strong; beauty enchanting but rare; goodness very apt to be weak, folly very apt to be defiant; wickedness to carry the day; imbeciles to be in great places, people of sense in small, and mankind generally unhappy. But the world as it stands is no illusion, no phantasm, no evil dream of a night; we wake up to it again for ever and ever; we can neither forget it nor deny it nor dispense with it.

Henry James
North American Review (January 1874) p 355

Let me do my work

Let me do my work each day; and if the darkened hours of despair overcome me, may I not forget the strength that comforted me in the desolation of other times.

May I still remember the bright hours that found me walking over the silent hills of my childhood, or dreaming on the margin of a quiet river, when a light glowed within me, and I promised my early God to have courage amid the tempests of the changing years.

Spare me from bitterness and from the sharp passions of unguarded moments. May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit. Though the world knows me not, may my thoughts and actions be such as shall keep me friendly with myself.

Lift up my eyes from the earth, and let me not forget the uses of the stars. Forbid that I should judge others lest I condemn myself. Let me not follow the clamor of the world, but walk calmly in my path.

Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am; and keep ever burning before my vagrant steps the kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity overtake me, and I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams, teach me still to be thankful for life, and for time's olden memories that are good and sweet; and may the evening's twilight find me gentle still.

Max Ehrmann


"Many people would sooner die than think. In fact they do."

Bertrand Russell - Thinking About Thinking

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Lead me

Lead me from darkness to light
Lead me from death to immortality.

Invocation from the Upanishads


Change is the basis of life. Opposites are interconnected polarities, not irreconcil-
ables over which we have to make a choice.

Ramesh S. Balsekar

Camels and jets

My father rode a camel.
I drive a Rolls Royce.
My son flies a jet aircraft.
My grandson will ride a camel.

Saudi Arabian proverb.

Source: alt.quotations group


Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else.

Will Rogers

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Every life

Every life is a profession of faith, and exercises an inevitable and silent propaganda. As far as lies in its power, it tends to transform the universe and humanity into its own image. Thus we have all a cure of souls. Every man is the center of perpetual radiation like a luminous body; he is, as it were, a beacon which entices a ship upon the rocks if it does not guide it into port. Every man is a priest, even involuntarily; his conduct is an unspoken sermon, which is forever preaching to others.

Henri Amiel, in 'Intime Journal'

This is mine!

The first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying «This is mine», and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, «Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody». But there is great probability that things had then already come to such a pitch, that they could no longer continue as they were; for the idea of property depends on many prior ideas, which could only be acquired successively, and cannot have been formed all at once in the human mind. Mankind must have made very considerable progress, and acquired considerable knowledge and industry which they must also have transmitted and increased from age to age, before they arrived at this last point of the state of nature.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in 'Discourse on the Origin of Inequality'

The world is your kaleidoscope

The world is your kaleidoscope, and the varying combinations of colors which at every succeeding moment it presents to you are the exquisitely adjusted pictures of your ever-moving thoughts.

James Allen


A good indignation brings out all one's powers.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Observations in life

Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life.

Marcus Aurelius


Once you attempt legislation upon religious grounds, you open the way for every kind of intolerance and religious persecution.

William Butler Yeats, 1865-1939

Humor - Banned Children's Books

Banned Children's Books

Dad's New Wife Timothy

Pop! Goes the Hamster...and Other Great Microwave Games

How to Become the Dominant Military Power In Your Elementary School

Safe Sex and the Zip-Lock Bag

Testing Homemade Parachutes With Nothing At All But Your Household Pets

Egghead - and Other Things

Mrs. Dumpty Gave Humpty The Complete Set Of "Mother Got Goosed" Nursery Rhymes

Peter Rabbit's Frisky Adventures

The Hardy Boys, the Barbie Twins, and the Vice Squad

The Tickling Babysitter Babar Meets the Taxidermist

Controlling the Playground: Respect Through Fear

Curious George and the High-Voltage Fence

The Boy Who Died from Eating All His Vegetables

Start a Real-Estate Empire With the Change From Mom's Purse

The Pop-up Book of Human Anatomy

Things Rich Kids Have, But You Never Will

Let's Draw Betty and Veronica Without Their Clothes On

The Care Bears Maul Some Campers and Are Shot Dead

How to Insert Sharp Objects into Your Ear

When is Later?

The Beanie Babies and the Putrid Odor

Why Mommy and Daddy Are Bouncing on the Bed

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Get Kinky

Rin Tin Tin Guards the Herd of Sheep

How Far is Not Far?

Three Men in a Tub - The Untold Story

The Boy Who Cried "Fire!"

Things Rat Poison Looks Like

Why Uncle Bud Falls Down

Two Fingers in the Dike

Back To School! A Munitions Primer

Jack and Jill and Ted and Alice

Things That Are Really Sharp

How Dopey Got His Name

Spinach or Steroids - A Guide to Scholarships


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I am a rock, I am an island

I have my books and my poetry to protect me,
I am shielded in my armor;
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb,
I touch no one and no one touches me;
I am a rock, I am an island.

Simon and Garfunkel
_I Am A Rock_ [1966] (song)
(Lyrics by Paul Simon)


A life spent in making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful, than a life spent doing nothing.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
_The Doctor's Dilemma_ [1913]

Sweetest laughter

"Is not laughter at one's enemies the sweetest laughter?"


Jorge Luis Borges

1. ”A book is more than a verbal structure or series of verbal structures; it is the dialogue it establishes with its reader and the intonation it imposes upon his voice and the changing and durable images it leaves in his memory. A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships.”
2. "Almost instantly, I understood: 'The garden of forking paths' was the chaotic novel; the phrase 'the various futures (not to all)' suggested to me the forking in time, not in space. A broad rereading of the work confirmed the theory. In all fictional works, each time a man is confronted with several alternatives, he chooses one and eliminates the others; in the fiction of Ts'ui Pên, he chooses - simultaneously - all of them. He creates, in this way, diverse futures, diverse time which themselves also proliferate and fork."
3. “A man sets out to draw the world. As the years go by, he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and individuals. A short time before he dies, he discovers that the patient labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face.”
4. “And yet, and yet . . . Denying temporal succession, denying the self, denying the astronomical universe, are apparent desperations and secret consolations. Our destiny is not frightful by being unreal; it is frightful because it is irreversible and iron-clad. Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire. The world, unfortunately, is real; I, unfortunately, am Borges.”
5. “Any life, no matter how long and complex it may be, is made up of a single moment - the moment in which a man finds out, once and for all, who he is.”
6. “At the beginning of their careers many writers have a need to overwrite. They choose carefully turned-out phrases; they want to impress their readers with their large vocabularies. By the excesses of their language, these young men and women try to hide their sense of inexperience. With maturity the writer becomes more secure in his ideas. He finds his real tone and develops a simple and effective style.”
7. “A writer -- and, I believe, generally all persons -- must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art.”
8. "Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time."
9. “Besides, time, which despoils castles, enriches verses . . . Time broadens the scope of verses and I know of some which, like music, are everything for all men.”
10. “Democracy is an abuse of statistics.”
11. “Do you want to see what human eyes have never seen? Look at the moon. Do you want to hear what ears have never heard? Listen to the bird's cry. Do you want to touch what hands have never touched? Touch the earth. Verily I say that God is about to create the world.”
12. “Each thing implies the universe.”
13. "Events far-reaching enough to people all space, whose end is nonetheless tolled when one man dies, may cause us to wonder. But osmething, or an infinite number of things, dies in every death, unless the universe is possessed of a memory."
14. “Every novel is an ideal plane inserted into the realm of reality.”
15. “Every writer creates his own precursors.”
16. “Films are even stranger [than theater], for what we are seeing are not disguised people but photographs of disguised people, and yet we believe them while the film is being shown.”
17. ”Gibbon observes that in the Arabian book par excellence, in the Koran, there are no camels; I believe if there were any doubt as to the authenticity of the Koran, this absence of camels would be sufficient to prove it is an Arabian work.”
18. “I cannot think it unlikely that there is such a total book on some shelf in the universe. I pray to the unknown gods that some man -- even a single man, tens of centuries ago -- has perused and read this book. If the honor and wisdom and joy of such a reading are not to be my own, then let them be for others. Let heaven exist, though my own place may be in hell. Let me be tortured and battered and annihilated, but let there be one instant, one creature, wherein thy enormous Library may find its justification.”
19. ”I cannot walk through the suburbs in the solitude of the night without thinking that the night pleases us because it suppresses idle details, just as our memory does.”
20. “I foresee that man will resign himself each day to new abominations, and soon that only bandits and soldiers will be left.”
21. "I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library."
22. ”In the critic's vocabulary, the word "precursor" is indispensable, but it should be cleansed of all connotations of polemic or rivalry. The fact is that every writer creates his own precursors. His work modifies our conception of the past, as it will modify the future.”
23. "It's possible, but not interesting," Lönnrot answered. "You will reply that reality hasn't the slightest need to be of interest. And I'll answer you that reality may avoid the obligation to be interesting, but that hypothesis may not . . ."
24. ”It is often forgotten that [dictionaries] are artificial repositories, put together well after the languages they define. The roots of language are irrational and of a magical nature.”
25. ”It is venturesome to think that a coordination of words (philosophies are nothing more than that) can resemble the universe very much. It is also venturesome to think that of all these illustrious coordinations, one of them -- at least in an infinitesimal way -- does not resemble the universe a bit more than the others.”
26. “It may be that universal history is the history of the different intonations given a handful of metaphors.”
27. "Life itself is a quotation."
28. “Mirrors are not more wrapt in silences
nor the arriving dawn more secretive ;
you, in the moonlight, are that panther figure
which we can only spy at from a distance.
By the mysterious functioning of some
divine decree, we seek you out in vain ;
remoter than the Ganges or the sunset,
yours is the solitude, yours is the secret.
Your back allows the tentative caress
my hand extends. And you have condescended,
since that forever, now oblivion,
to take love from a flattering human hand.
you live in other time, lord of your realm -
a world as closed and separate as dream.”
29. “No one is anyone, one single immortal man is all men. Like Cornelius Agrippa, I am god, I am hero, I am philosopher, I am demon and I am world, which is a tedious way of saying that I do not exist.”
30. “Nowadays, one of the churches of Tlön maintains platonically that such and such a pain, such and such a greenish-yellow colour, such and such a temperature, such and such a sound, etc., make up the only reality there is. All men, in the climactic instant of coitus, are the same man. All men who repeat one line of Shakespeare are William Shakespeare.”
31. “One of the schools in Tlön has reached the point of denying time. It reasons that the present is undefined, that the future has no other reality than as present hope, that past is no more than present memory . . . Another maintains that the universe is comparable to those code systems in which not all the symbols have meaning, and in which only that which happens every three hundredth night is true.”
32. “Reality is not always probable, or likely.”
33. “The aesthetic event is something as evident, as immediate, as indefinable as love, the taste of fruit, of water. We feel poetry as we feel the closeness of a woman, or as we feel a mountain or a bay. If we feel it immediately, why dilute it with other words, which no doubt will be weaker than our feelings?”
34. “The composition of vast books is a laborious and impoverishing extravagance. To go on for five hundred pages developing an idea whose perfect oral exposition is possible in a few minutes! A better course of procedure is to pretend that these books already exist, and then to offer a resume, a commentary . . . More reasonable, more inept, more indolent, I have preferred to write notes upon imaginary books.”
35. “The exercise of letters is sometimes linked to the ambition to contruct an absolute book, a book of books that includes the others like a Platonic archetype, an object whose virtues are not diminished by the passage of time.”
36. “The fact is that poetry is not the books in the library . . . Poetry is the encounter of the reader with the book, the discovery of the book.”
37. “The original is unfaithful to the translation.”
38. ”There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite.”
39. ”These ambiguities, redundances, and deficiences recall those attributed by Dr. Franz Kuhn to a certain Chinese encyclopedia entitled Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge. On those remote pages it is written that animals are divided into (a) those that belong to the Emperor, (b) embalmed ones, (c) those that are trained, (d) suckling pigs, (e) mermaids, (f) fabulous ones, (g) stray dogs, (h) those that are included in this classification, (i) those that tremble as if they were mad, (j) innumerable ones, (k) those drawn with a very fine camel's hair brush, (l) others, (m) those that have just broken a flower vase, (n) those that resemble flies from a distance.”
40. “This felicitous supposition declared that there is only one Individual, and that this indivisible Individual is every one of the separate beings in the universe, and that these beings are the instruments and masks of divinity itself.”
41. "Through the years, a man peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, tools, stars, horses, and people. Shortly before his death, he discovers that the patient labyrinth of lines traces the image of his own face."
42. “Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.”
43. "To fall in love is to create a religion that has a fallible god."
44. ”To refute him is to become contaminated with unreality.”
45. “Villari took no notice of them because the idea of a coincidence between art and reality was alien to him. Unlike people who read novels, he never saw himself as a character in a work of art.”
46. "When the end draws near, there no longer remain any remembered images; only words remain. It is not strange that time should have confused the words that once represented me with those that were symbols of the fate of he who accompanied me for so many centuries. I have been Homer; shortly, I shall be On One, like Ulysses; shortly, I shall be all men; I shall be dead."
47. “Whosoever would undertake some atrocious enterprise should act as if it were already accomplished, should impose upon himself a future as irrevocable as the past.”
48. “Writing is nothing more than a guided dream.”

Monday, October 1, 2007


The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.

Albert Einstein

Wise enough

I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had.

Margaret Mead 1901-1978

Human force

Love, by its very nature, is unworldly, and it is for this reason rather than its rarity that it is not only apolitical but anti-political, perhaps the most powerful of all anti-political human forces.

Hannah Arendt
The Human Condition (1958)

Use it well

"It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well."

Rene Descartes

The original sin

The original sin is to limit the Is. Don't.

Richard Bach (1936- )