Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ministers of love

Athens, Greece - 2007

All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of Love,
And feed his sacred flame.

Samuel T. Coleridge

Smooth seas

A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner.

English proverb

It does sound like me!

I was a big reader--that's what I did. I just read
all the time. I learned to read before I went to
kindergarten, so that was sort of a problem.

I started off in a big public school, and I was
probably a pain in the ass because I was bored.
I loved to read, but my early years in school
weren't that great because of it.

I read anything I could get my hands on. I didn't
know there was such a thing as good books, so I read
all the children's classics. As I got older I would
read these big crappy novels--I didn't care . . . I
would just read anything. I would read the back of
a cereal box, it didn't matter.

Francine Prose (1947- )
_Reading Like A Writer_ [2006], "About The Author"


Not he who has little, but he who wishes more, is poor.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c. 4 BC-65 AD)

Once spoken

But words once spoke can never be recall'd.

Wentworth Dillon, Art of Poetry.


The only service a friend can really render is to keep up your courage by holding up to you a mirror in which you can see a noble image of yourself.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Irish Playwright

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A World with No Boundaries

Poros, Greece - 2007

"A World with No Boundaries"


With every breath the sound
of love surrounds us,
and we are bound for the depths
of space, without distraction.

We've been in orbit before
and know the angels there.
Let's go there again, Master,
for that is our land.

Yet we are beyond all of that
and more than angels.
Out beyond duality,
we have a home, and it is Majesty.
That pure substance is
different from this dusty world.
What kind of place is this?
We once came down; soon we'll return.
A new happiness befriends us
as we work at offering our lives.

Muhammad, the jewel of the world,
is our caravan's chosen guide.
The sweetness we breathe on the wind
is from the scent of his hair,
and the radiance of our thought
is from the light of his day.

His face once caused
the moon to split in two.
She couldn't endure the sight of him.
Yet how lucky she was,
she who humbly received him.
Look into your heart and see
the splitting moon within each breath.
Having seen that vision,
how can you still dream?

When the wave of "Am I not?" struck,
it wrecked the body's ship;
when the ship wrecks again,
it will be the time of union.

The Human Being, like a bird of the sea,
emerged from the ocean of the soul.
Earth is not the final place of rest
for a bird born from the sea.

No, we are pearls of that ocean;
all of us live in it;
and if it weren't so, why would
wave upon wave arrive?

This is the time of union,
the time of eternal beauty.
It is the time of luck and kindness;
it is the ocean of purity.
The wave of bestowal has come.

The roar of the sea is here.
The morning of happiness has dawned.
No, it is the light of God.

Whose face is pictured here?
Who is this shah or prince?
Who is this ancient intelligence?
They are all masks . . .
and the only remedy is
this boiling ecstasy of the soul.

A fountain of refreshment
is in the head and the eyes -
not this bodily head
but another pure spiritual one.

Many a pure head has been spilled
in the dust. Know the one from the other!
Our original head is hidden,
while this other is visible.
Beyond this world is a world
that has no boundaries.

Put your water skin away, brother,
and draw some wine from our cask!
The clay jug of perception
has such a narrow spout.
The sun appeared from the direction of Tabriz,
and I said, "This light is at once joined
with all things, and yet apart from everything."

Ghazal (Ode) 363
Version by Kabir Helminski
"Love is a Stranger"
Threshold Books, 1993

Be one!

Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Occam's Razor

Ellie Arroway:
Hey, I've got one for you.

Palmer Joss:
What've you got?

Ellie Arroway:
Occam's Razor--you ever heard of it?

Palmer Joss:
Hoccam's Razor? It sounds like some slasher movie.

Ellie Arroway:
No, Occam's razor. It's a basic scientific
principle, and it says: "All things being equal, the
simplest explanation tends to be the right one."

Palmer Joss:
It makes sense to me.

Dialogue between "Ellie Arroway" (Jodie Foster) and "Palmer Joss" (Matthew McConaughey) in the film _Contact_ [1997]; screenplay by James V. Hart and Michael Goldenberg

(From alt.quotations)

A lot, a little and none

You see, I divide men into three categories: those who have a lot of money, those who have none at all and those who have a little. The first want to keep what they have: their interest is to maintain order; the second want to take what they do not have: their interest is to destroy the existing order and to establish one which is profitable to them. They each are realist, people with whom one can agree. The third group want to overthrow the social order to take what they do not have, while still preserving it so that no one takes away what they have. Thus, they preserve in fact what they destroy in theory, or they destroy in fact what they seem to preserve. Those are the idealists.

Jean-Paul Sartre, in "The Devil and the Good Lord"


The long chains of simple and easy reasonings by means of which geometers are accustomed to reach the conclusions of their most difficult demonstrations, had led me to imagine that all things, to the knowledge of which man is competent, are mutually connected in the same way, and that there is nothing so far removed from us as to be beyond our reach, or so hidden that we cannot discover it, provided only we abstain from accepting the false for the true, and always preserve in our thoughts the order necessary for the deduction of one truth from another.

René Descartes, in 'Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason'

Real and romantic love

In real love you want the other person's good. In romantic love, you want the other person.

Margaret Anderson

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Climb every mountain...

Hydra, Greece - 2007

Climb mountains to see lowlands.

Chinese Proverb

Being shocked

We have lost the invaluable faculty of being shocked-- a faculty which has hitherto almost distinguished the Man or Woman from the beast or the child.

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)
_Present Concerns: Essays by C. S. Lewis_ [1986], "After Priggery--What?"

Some books

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
_Essays_ [1625], "Of Studies"

Heaven is being

"Chiang, this world isn't heaven at all, is it?"

The Elder smiled in the moonlight. "You are
learning again, Jonathan Seagull," he said.

"Well, what happens from here? Where are we going?
Is there no such place as heaven?"

"No, Jonathan, there is no such place. Heaven is
not a place, and it is not a time. Heaven is being
perfect." He was silent for a moment. "You are a
very fast flier, aren't you?"

"I . . . I enjoy speed," Jonathan said, taken aback
but proud that the Elder had noticed.

"You will begin to touch heaven, Jonathan, in the
moment that you touch perfect speed. And that isn't
flying a thousand miles an hour, or a million, or
flying at the speed of light. Because any number is
a limit, and perfection doesn't have limits.
Perfect speed, my son, is being there."

Without warning, Chiang vanished and appeared at the
water's edge fifty feet away, all in the flicker of
an instant. Then he vanished again and stood, in
the same millisecond, at Jonathan's shoulder.

"It's kind of fun," he said.

Richard Bach (1936- )
_Jonathan Livingston Seagull_ [1970]

Quantum Theory

Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory does not
understand it.

Niels Bohr (1885-1962)
(Quoted in Michael Crichton's _Timeline_ [1999], "Corazon")

Nobody understands quantum theory.

Richard Phillips Feynman (1918-1988)
(Quoted in Michael Crichton's _Timeline_ [1999], "Corazon")


The man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears.

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, Essays.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The harmonies of the Spheres

Hydra, Greece - 2007

Listen within yourself and look into the infinitude of Space and Time. There can be heard the songs of the Constellations, the voices of the Numbers, and the harmonies of the Spheres.

The Divine Pymander


The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.

Voltaire (1694-1778)
_Sept Discours en Vers sur l'Homme_ [1738]

Wherever I am

Paradise is where I am.
Voltaire (1694-1778)
_Le Mondain_ [1736]


Sometimes Creativity disappears completely or wanders around the back alleys for weeks at a time. She has a strong need to be occasionally anonymous. If you run into her at the post office line during one of these periods, you will probably
not recognize her. She is in a different place. It is almost as if her blood has slowed down.

When the blank period is over, Creativity brings her free self home with her. Her skin is new. She is ready to work. More than anyone else, Creativity understands the secret meanings of the months when nothing seems to get done.

J. Ruth Gendler
_The Book of Qualities_ [1984], "Creativity"


A man in armor is his armor's slave.

Robert Browning (1812-1889)
_Herakles_ [1871]

A new story

To lock myself up in a room to write a new history-- a new story with allegories, obscurities, silences, and never-heard sounds--is, of course, better. . . . To embark on such a journey there is no need to know exactly where you are going; it is enough to know where you do not wish to be.

Orhan Pamuk (1952- )
_Other Colors: Essays and a Story_ [2007]


There is a notion
that we left paradise
a long time ago.

But this
secret garden
was the Heart,
always here,
just waiting
for our return.

Pamela Wilson

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Aegina, Greece - 2007

We are no longer happy as soon as we wish to be happier.

Walter Savage Landor

Too much rest

Too much rest itself becomes a pain.

Homer, 'Odyssey'

Old nonsense

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Which matters more?

Fame or self: Which matters more?
Self or wealth: Which is more precious?
Gain or loss: Which is more painful?

He who is attached to things will suffer much.
He who saves will suffer heavy loss.
A contented man is never disappointed.
He who knows when to stop does not find himself in trouble.
He will stay forever safe.


One in twenty

There is not one wise man in twenty that will praise himself.

William Shakespeare

As You Like It

As You Like It
William Shakespeare

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly.
Then heigh-ho! the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
That dost not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend remember'd not.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly.
Then heigh-ho! the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Volver a los 17

Olímpia, Grécia - 2007

Volver A Los 17
Mercedes Sosa

Volver a los diecisiete después de vivir un siglo
es como descifrar signos sin ser sabio competente,
volver a ser de repente tan frágil como un segundo
volver a sentir profundo como un niño frente a Dios
eso es lo que siento yo en este instante fecundo.

Se va enredando, enredando
como en el muro la hiedra
y va brotando, brotando
como el musguito en la piedra
como el musguito en la piedra, ay si, si, si.

Mi paso retrocedido cuando el de usted es avance
el arca de las alianzas ha penetrado en mi nido
con todo su colorido se ha paseado por mis venas
y hasta la dura cadena con que nos ata el destino
es como un diamante fino que alumbra mi alma serena.

Se va enredando, enredando
como en el muro la hiedra
y va brotando, brotando
como el musguito en la piedra
como el musguito en la piedra, ay si, si, si.

Lo que puede el sentimiento no lo ha podido el saber
ni el más claro proceder, ni el más ancho pensamiento
todo lo cambia al momento cual mago condescendiente
nos aleja dulcemente de rencores y violencias
solo el amor con su ciencia nos vuelve tan inocentes.

Se va enredando, enredando
como en el muro la hiedra
y va brotando, brotando
como el musguito en la piedra
como el musguito en la piedra, ay si, si, si.

El amor es torbellino de pureza original
hasta el feroz animal susurra su dulce trino
detiene a los peregrinos, libera a los prisioneros,
el amor con sus esmeros al viejo lo vuelve niño
y al malo sólo el cariño lo vuelve puro y sincero.

Se va enredando, enredando
como en el muro la hiedra
y va brotando, brotando
como el musguito en la piedra
como el musguito en la piedra, ay si, si, si.

De par en par la ventana se abrió como por encanto
entró el amor con su manto como una tibia mañana
al son de su bella diana hizo brotar el jazmín
colando cual serafín al cielo le puso aretes
mis años en diecisiete los convirtió el querubín.

No Frontiers

Olympia, Greece - 2007

No Frontiers

The Corrs
Lyrics & Music By: Jimmy McCarthy

If life is a river and your heart is a boat
And just like a water baby, born to float,
And if life is a wild wind that blows way on high,
And your heart is Amelia dying to fly,
Heaven knows no frontiers and I've seen heaven in your eyes

And if life is a bar room in which we must wait,
'round the man with his fingers on the ivory gates,
Where we sing until dawn of our fears and our fates,
And we stack all the dead men in self addressed crates,
In your eyes faint as the singing of a lark,
That somehow this black night,
Feels warmer for the spark,
Warmer for the spark,
To hold us 'til the day,
When fear will lose its grip,
And heaven has its way,
Heaven knows no frontiers,
And I've seen heaven in your eyes

If your life is a rough bed of brambles and nails,
And your spirit's a slave to man's whips and man's jails,
Where you thirst and you hunger for justice and right,
And your heart is a pure flame of man's constant night,
In your eyes faint as the singing of a lark,
That somehow this black night,
Feels warmer for the spark,
Warmer for the spark,
To hold us 'til the day when fear will lose its grip,
And heaven has its way,
And heaven has its way,
When all will harmonise,
And know what's in our hearts,
The dream will realise

Heaven knows no frontiers,
And I've seen heaven in your eyes,
Heaven knows no frontiers,
And I've seen heaven in your eyes

A drop of water

A drop of water has the tastes of the water of the seven seas: there is no need to experience all the ways of worldly life. The reflections of the moon on one thousand rivers are from the same moon: the mind must be full of light.

Hung Tzu-ch'eng


When the gods wish to punish us, they make us believe our own advertising.

Daniel Boorstin (1914-2004)

The cosmos and the ego

One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego; the self is more distant than any star.

G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)
_Orthodoxy_ [1908], "The Logic of Elfland"

To know, yet to know nothing

To know, yet to know nothing, is the highest; not to know, yet to pretend to knowledge, is a distemper. Painful is this distemper; therefore we shun it.

Lao Tzu, The Tao Te Ching
Translated by Aleister Crowley

Social conventions

The most curious social convention of the great age in which we live is the one to the effect that religious opinions should be respected.

H. L. Mencken

In front of your nose

To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle.

George Orwell 1903-50, 'In Front of Your Nose'(1946)
God hides things by putting them near us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
(In "The Method of Nature" address at Waterville College, Maine; August 11, 1841)

Family tree

Jules Verne was may father.
H. G. Wells was my wise uncle.
Edgar Allan Poe was the batwinged cousin we kept high in the back attic room.
Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers were my brothers and friends.
There you have my ancestry.
Adding, of course, the fact that in all probability Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, author of _Frankenstein_, was my mother.

Ray Bradbury, introduction to _S Is for Space_ (1966)


There is nothing as deceptive as an obvious fact.

Arthur Conan Doyle, Sr. 1859-1930

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The beautiful

Delphi, Greece - 2007

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


The tender word forgotten,
The letter you did not write;
The flower you might have sent, dear,
Are your haunting ghosts tonight.

Margaret Elizabeth Sangster (1838-1912)
_At Sunset_, "The Sin of Omission)

Silence is golden

Speech is silver, silence is golden;
speech is human, silence is divine.

German Proverb

To dare or not to dare

To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.

Soren Kierkegaard 1813-1855

What are you good at?

Every man loves what he is good at.

Thomas Shadwell (1642-1692)
_A True Widow_ [1679], Act V, Scene I

Monday, November 19, 2007

No need for lametation

Sanctuary of Apollo - Delphi, Greece - 2007

All created beings are unmanifest in their beginning, manifest in their interim state, and unmanifest again when they are annihilated. So what need is there for

Bhagavad Gita

Wedlock of minds

The wedlock of minds will be greater than that of bodies.

Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466-1536)
_Procus et Puella_


Amongst the learned, the lawyers claim first place, the most self-satisfied class of people, as they roll their rock of Sisyphus and string together six hundred laws in the same breath, no matter whether relevant or not, piling up opinion on opinion and gloss on gloss to make their profession seem the most difficult of all. Anything which causes trouble has special merit in their eyes.

Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466-1536)
_The Praise of Folly_ [1509], Chapter 5


Man's mind is so formed that it is far more susceptible to falsehood than to truth.

Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466-1536)
_The Praise of Folly_ [1509], Chapter 45

Hunger for the irrational

"The fact that logic cannot satisfy us awakens an almost insatiable hunger for the irrational."

A. N. Wilson

The meaning of life

The meaning of life is intimately linked with happiness, as are all great novels. . . . In the end a wondrous novel becomes an integral part of our lives and the world around us, bringing us closer to the meaning of life.

Orhan Pamuk (1952- )
Other Colors: Essays and a Story_ [2007]

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Meteora, Greece - 2007

Men would never be superstitious, if they could govern all their circumstances by set rules, or if they were always favoured by fortune: but being frequently driven into straits where rules are useless, and being often kept fluctuating pitiably between hope and fear by the uncertainty of fortune’s greedily coveted favours, they are consequently for the most part, very prone to credulity.

Baruch Espinoza, in 'Theological-Political Treatise'

A natural need

Meteora, Greece - 2007

To be alone is a natural need, just like drinking and eating; otherwise, with this communism forced on him, man comes to hate mankind. The company of men becomes poison and contamination, and it was this unbearable scourge that made me suffer most of all during those four years. There were moments when I hated every man I met, wheter innocent or guilty, and I regarded all of them as thieves who were stealing my life from me with impunity. There is no misfortune more abhorrent than when you yourself become unjust, evil, and wicked; you may realize it, even reproach yourself for it, but you are powerless to do anything about it. I have experienced that.

Fiodor Dostoievski, in 'Selected Letters of Fyodor Dostoievski'

Books experience

Vienna, Austria - 2007
Books, we find, are like new acquaintances. To begin with, we are highly delighted if we find an area of general agreement, if we feel a friendly response concerning some important aspect of our life. It is only on closer acquaintance that differences begin to emerge, at which point the great thing is not immediately to recoil, as may happen at a more youthful age, but to cling very firmly to areas of agreement and fully to clarify our differences without on that account aiming at identity in our views.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, in "Maxims and Thoughts"

Mad with horror

A considerable percentage of the people we meet on the street are people who are empty inside, that is, they are actually already dead. It is fortunate for us that we do not see and do not know it. If we knew what a number of people are actually dead and what a number of these dead people govern our lives, we should go mad with horror.

George Gurdjieff (c. 1877-1949)
(In P.D. Ouspensky's _In Search Of The Miraculous_ [1949], Chapter 8)

5 great enemies

Five great enemies to peace inhabit with us: vice, avarice, ambition, envy, anger, and pride. If those enemies were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace.

Francesco Petrarch


The life that is unexamined is not worth living.


The world's largest collection

"I have the world's largest collection of seashells. I keep it scattered around the beaches of the world ... Perhaps you've seen it.

Steven Wright

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

All that is gold does not glitter

Villach, Austria - 2007

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;

J.R.R. Tolkien, chapter 10, "Strider," in "The Fellowship of the
Ring," as part of a letter from Gandalf to Frodo:

Wisdom or folly

Sometimes one likes foolish people for their folly, better than wise people for their wisdom.

Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865)
_Wives and Daughters_ [1866], Chapter 54

Machiavellian words

And here comes in the question whether it is better to be loved rather than feared, or feared rather than loved. It might be answered that we should wish to be both; but since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)
_The Prince_ [1513], Chapter 8

The pleasure of all reading

1. "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."

- Richard Steele (1672-1729), Irish writer

2. "No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so

- Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762), British author/critic

3. "The pleasure of all reading is doubled when one lives with another
who shares the same books."

- Katherine Mansfield (1888 - 1923), short story writer and poet

4. "However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what
good will they do you if you do not act upon them?"

- Buddha (563-483 BC), founder of Buddhism

5. "Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read
them at all."

- Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862), essayist

6. "A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and
once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning
light, at noon and by moonlight."

- Robertson Davies (1913-1995), Canadian novelist

7. "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few
to be chewed and digested."

- Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English essayist

8. "I would rather be poor in a cottage full of books than a king
without the desire to read."

- Thomas B. Macaulay (1800-1859), historian

9. "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be
thrown with great force."

- Dorothy Parker (1893 - 1967), screenwriter

10. "A book should serve as the ax for the frozen sea within us."

- Franz Kafka (1883-1924), novelist

11. "There is a great deal of difference between the eager man who
wants to read a book and the tired man who wants a book to read."

- G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), English essayist and novelist

12. "Any book that helps a child to form the habit of reading, to make
reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him."

- Maya Angelou (1928-), American poet

From alt.quotations


Never cut what you can untie.

Joseph Joubert

Rain In Childhood

Rain In Childhood
Eric Ormsby

This was the feeling that the dark rain gave
on school days when the windows of the bus
dimmed with all our breath and we pressed close
in jostling slickers, knowing the pleasure of
being a body with other bodies, we children
a flotilla of little ducks, paddling together
on the wet ride to the schoolhouse door.
Once there, we peered outside appraisingly,
beyond the windows and the balustrades
to where the rain came down outrageously
and made the trees and signposts and the light
at the intersection swoop and toss
and fizz with gritty torrents to the curb.

That steamy, tar-damp smell of morning rain,
its secret smokiness upon our mouths,
surprised us with some sorrow of nostalgia.
Our past already had such distances!
Already in that fragrance we could sense
the end of childhood, where remembrance stands.

And when thunder pummeled the embrittled clouds —
concussive ricochets that made the teacher
hover with the chalk held in her hand —
we saw the lighting lace the school's facade
with instantaneous traceries and hairline fires,
like a road map glimpsed by flashlight in a car.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Never Give All The Heart

Villach, Austria - 2007

Never Give All The Heart
William Butler Yeats

Never give all the heart, for love
Will hardly seem worth thinking of
To passionate women if it seem
Certain, and they never dream
That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that’s lovely is
But a brief, dreamy. Kind delight.
O never give the heart outright,
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost,
For he gave all his heart and lost.

Reading novels

Salsburg, Austria - 2007

It is by reading novels, stories, and myths that we come to understand the ideas that govern the world in which we live; it is fiction that gives us access to the truths kept veiled by our families, our schools, and our society; it is the art of the novel that allows us to ask who we really are.

Orhan Pamuk (1952- )
_Other Colors: Essays and a Story_ [2007],
"In Kars and Frankfurt"

Whispers of the Gods

Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Die Gedanken sind frei

The thoughts are free, who can ever guess them?
They just fly by like nocturnal shadows.
No man can know them, no hunter can shoot them,
with powder and lead: The thoughts are free!

I think what I want, and what makes me happy,
but always discreetly, and as it is suitable.
My wish and desire, no one can deny me
and so it will always be: The thoughts are free!

And if I am thrown into the darkest dungeon,
all this would be effortless work,
because my thoughts tear all gates
and walls apart. The thoughts are free!

So I will renounce my sorrows forever,
and never again will torture myself with some fancy ideas.
In one's heart, one can always laugh and joke
and think at the same time: The thoughts are free!

I love the wine, and my girl even more,
Only I like her best of all.
I'm not alone with my glass of wine,
my girl is with me: The thoughts are free!

Ferdinand Freiligrath
Die Gedanken sind frei


"Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength."

Eric Hoffer

A Poet to his Beloved

Salzburg, Austria - 2007

A Poet to his Beloved
W.B. Yeats

I BRING you with reverent hands
The books of my numberless dreams;
White woman that passion has worn
As the tide wears the dove-gray sands,
And with heart more old than the horn
That is brimmed from the pale fire of time:
White woman with numberless dreams
I bring you my passionate rhyme.


View from Nonnberg Abbey - Salzburg, Austria - 2007

Alfred Lord Tennyson

The woods decay, the woods decay and fall,
The vapours weep their burthen to the ground,
Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath,
And after many a summer dies the swan.
Me only cruel immortality
Consumes; I wither slowly in thine arms,
Here at the quiet limit of the world,
A white-hair'd shadow roaming like a dream
The ever-silent spaces of the East,
Far-folded mists, and gleaming halls of morn.
Alas! for this gray shadow, once a man--
So glorious in his beauty and thy choice,
Who madest him thy chosen, that he seem'd
To his great heart none other than a God!
I ask'd thee, "Give me immortality."
Then didst thou grant mine asking with a smile,
Like wealthy men who care not how they give.
But thy strong Hours indignant work'd their wills,
And beat me down and marr'd and wasted me,
And tho' they could not end me, left me maim'd
To dwell in presence of immortal youth,
Immortal age beside immortal youth,
And all I was in ashes. Can thy love
Thy beauty, make amends, tho' even now,
Close over us, the silver star, thy guide,
Shines in those tremulous eyes that fill with tears
To hear me? Let me go: take back thy gift:
Why should a man desire in any way
To vary from the kindly race of men,
Or pass beyond the goal of ordinance
Where all should pause, as is most meet for all?
A soft air fans the cloud apart; there comes
A glimpse of that dark world where I was born.
Once more the old mysterious glimmer steals
From any pure brows, and from thy shoulders pure,
And bosom beating with a heart renew'd.
Thy cheek begins to redden thro' the gloom,
Thy sweet eyes brighten slowly close to mine,
Ere yet they blind the stars, and the wild team
Which love thee, yearning for thy yoke, arise,
And shake the darkness from their loosen'd manes,
And beat the twilight into flakes of fire.
Lo! ever thus thou growest beautiful
In silence, then before thine answer given
Departest, and thy tears are on my cheek.

Why wilt thou ever scare me with thy tears,
And make me tremble lest a saying learnt,
In days far-off, on that dark earth, be true?
"The Gods themselves cannot recall their gifts."

Ay me! ay me! with what another heart
In days far-off, and with what other eyes
I used to watch ‹ if I be he that watch'd ‹
The lucid outline forming round thee; saw
The dim curls kindle into sunny rings;
Changed with thy mystic change, and felt my blood
Glow with the glow that slowly crimson'd all
Thy presence and thy portals, while I lay,
Mouth, forehead, eyelids, growing dewy-warm
With kisses balmier than half-opening buds
Of April, and could hear the lips that kiss'd
Whispering I knew not what of wild and sweet,
Like that strange song I heard Apollo sing,
While Ilion like a mist rose into towers.

Yet hold me not for ever in thine East;
How can my nature longer mix with thine?
Coldly thy rosy shadows bathe me, cold
Are all thy lights, and cold my wrinkled feet
Upon thy glimmering thresholds, when the steam
Floats up from those dim fields about the homes
Of happy men that have the power to die,
And grassy barrows of the happier dead.
Release me, and restore me to the ground;
Thou seest all things, thou wilt see my grave:
Thou wilt renew thy beauty morn by morn;
I earth in earth forget these empty courts,
And thee returning on thy silver wheels.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I was the first one caught

Nonnberg Abbey - Salzburg, Austria - 2007

"The Still-Point of Ecstasy"

On the Night of Creation I was awake,
Busy at work while everyone slept.
I was there to see the first wink
and hear the first tale told.
I was the first one caught
in the hair of the Great Imposter.

Whirling around the still-point of esctasy
I spun like the wheel of heaven.

How can I describe this to you?
you were born later.

I was a companion of that Ancient Lover;
Like a bowl with a broken rim
I endured his tyranny.
Why shouldn't I be as lustrous as the King's cup?
I have lived in the room of treasures.
Why shouldn't this bubble become the sea?
I am the secret that lies at its bottom . . .

Sh . . . no more words
Hear only the voice within.
Remember, the first thing He said was:
"We are beyond words."

Ghazal (Ode) 1529

More nothing than something

1. There is vastly more nothing than something.
Roughly 74 percent of the universe is "nothing,"
or what physicists call dark energy; 22 percent
is dark matter, particles we cannot see. Only 4
percent is baryonic matter, the stuff we call

2. And even something is mostly nothing. Atoms
overwhelmingly consist of empty space. Matter's
solidity is an illusion caused by the electric
fields created by subatomic particles.

3. There is more and more nothing every second. In
1998 astronomers measuring the expansion of the
universe determined that dark energy is pushing
apart the universe at an ever-accelerating speed.
The discovery of nothing--and its ability to
influence the fate of the cosmos-is considered
the most important astronomical finding of the
past decade.

LeeAundra Temescu
_Discover Magazine_ [June 2007],
"20 Things You Didn't Know About Nothing"

From alt.quotations

Oranges and lemons

"Oranges and lemons", say the bells of St. Clement's
"You owe me five farthings", say the bells of St. Martin's
"When will you pay me?" say the bells of Old Bailey
"When I grow rich", say the bells of Shoreditch
"When will that be?" say the bells of Stepney
"I do not know", says the great bell of Bow
Here comes a candle to light you to bed
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!
Chip chop chip chop - The last man's dead.

English nursery rhyme

Friday, November 9, 2007

What you do not have

Mirabel Gardens - Salzburg, Austria - 2007

Instead of searching for what you do not have, find out what it is that you have never lost. That which is there before the beginning and after the ending of everything; that to which there is no birth, nor death. That immovable state, which is not affected by the birth and death of a body or a mind, that state you must perceive.

Nisargadatta Maharaj

Man becomes that of which he thinks

Let a man strive to purify his thoughts. What a man
thinketh, that is he; this is the eternal mystery.
Dwelling within himself with thoughts serene,
he will obtain imperishable happiness.
Man becomes that of which he thinks.


Powerful beauty

...the most powerful of all beauty is that which reveals itself after sympathy and not before it. There is a charm of eye and lip which comes with every little phrase that certifies delicate perception or fine judgment, with every unostentatious word or smile that shows a heart awake to others; and no sweep of garment or turn of figure is more satisfying than that which enters as a restoration of confidence that one person is present on whom no intention will be lost. What dignity of meaning goes on gathering in frowns and laughs which are never observed in the wrong place; what suffused adorableness in a human frame where there is a mind that can flash out comprehension and hands that can execute finely! The more obvious beauty, also adorable sometimes - one may say it without blasphemy - begins by being an apology for folly, and ends like other apologies in becoming tiresome by iteration;...

George Eliot, Daniel Deronda, 1876


Under the hive-like dome the stooping haunted readers
Go up and down the alleys, tap the cells of knowledge -
Honey and wax, the accumulation of years -
Some on commission, some for the love of learning,
Some because they have nothing better to do
Or because they hope these walls of books will deaden
The drumming of the demon in their ears.

Louis MacNeice 1907-63, The British Museum Reading Room

Soul and nature

It is the marriage of the soul with Nature that makes the intellect fruitful, and gives birth to imagination.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
_Journal_ [August 21, 1851]

This marriage

This marriage be wine with halvah, honey dissolving in milk.
This marriage be the leaves and fruit of a date tree.
This marraige be women laughing together for days on end.
This marriage, a sign for us to study.
This marriage, beauty.
This marriage, a moon in a light-blue sky.
This marriage, this silence fully mixed with spirit.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

This world is a dream

Salzburg, Austria - 2007

This world is a dream—don't be deluded; if in a dream a hand is lost, it's no harm. In dreams, no real damage is done if the body is maimed or torn in two hundred pieces. The Prophet said of this apparently substantial world that it is but the sleeper's dream. You've accepted this as an idea, but the spiritual traveler has beheld this truth with an open eye. You are asleep in the daytime; don't say this is
not sleep.


Good tales, fairy tales

Things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.
J.R.R. Tolkien, _The Hobbit_ (1937)

Escape is one of the main functions of fairy-stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which "Escape" is now so often used: a tone for which the uses of the word outside literary criticism give no warrant at all. In what the misusers are fond of calling Real Life, Escape is evidently as a rule very practical, and may even be heroic. In real life it is difficult to blame it, unless it fails; in criticism it would seem to be the worse the better it succeeds. Evidently we are faced by a misuse of
words, and also by a confusion of thought. Why should a man be scorned, if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls?

J.R.R. Tolkien, "On Fairy-Stories" (1947)

Your story is impossible, ridiculous, fantastic, mad, and obviously the ravings of a disordered mind," Hermann said. "And I believe every word of it."

Kieth Laumer, _The Other Side of Time_ (1965)

People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it's the other way around.

Terry Pratchett, _Witches Abroad_ (1991)

Source of the above quotations:


It may be that the old astrologers had the truth exactly reversed, whenthey believed that the stars controlled the destinies of men.The time may come when stars control the destinies of stars.
Arthur C. Clarke, "Epilogue: Beyond Apollo" (1969)


Facts are ventriloquist's dummies. Sitting on a wise man's knee they may be made to utter wisdom; elsewhere, they say nothing, or talk nonsense, or indulge in sheer diabolism.

Aldous Huxley, _Time Must Have a Stop_ (1944)

Principle study

Let the great book of the world be your principle study.

Earl of Chesterfield

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

If you make them think...

Salzburg, Austria - 2007

If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think, they'll hate you.

Don Marquis (1878-1937)
_New York Sun_, "The Sun Dial"


"In some crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin, and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose."

J. Robert Oppenheimer, 1945

A friend´s success

Anyone can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend's success.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
Irish Dramatist and Poet

Goodness without wisdom

Goodness alone is _never_ enough. A hard, cold wisdom is required for goodness to accomplish good. Goodness without wisdom always accomplishes evil.

Robert A. Heinlein, _Stranger in a Strange Land_ (1961)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I am back!

Velden am Wörthersee - Austria - 2007

I am resuming my posts in this blog, starting today.




Through enthusiasm you enter into full alignment with the outgoing creativeprinciple of the universe but without identifying with its creations, thatis to say, without the ego. Where there is no identification, there is noattachment—one of the great sources of suffering. Once a wave of creativeenergy has passed, structural tension diminishes and the joy in what you aredoing remains. Nobody can live in enthusiasm all the time. A new wave ofenergy may come later and lead to renewed enthusiasm.

Eckhart Tolle

Invariable rule

There is no rule more invariable than that we are paidfor our suspicions by finding what we suspect.

Henry David Thoreau

Fairy Tales

FAIRY-TALES do not give a child his first idea of bogy. What fairy-tales
give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogy.
The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an
imagination. What the fairy-tale provides for him is a St. George to
kill the dragon.
Exactly what the fairy-tale does is this: it accustoms him by a
series of clear pictures to the idea that these limitless terrors have a
limit, that these shapeless enemies have enemies, that these infinite
enemies of man have enemies in the knights of God, that there is
something in the universe more mystical than darkness, and stronger than
strong fear. When I was a child I have stared at the darkness until the
whole black bulk of it turned into one negro giant taller than heaven.
If there was one star in the sky it only made him a Cyclops. But
fairy-tales restored my mental health. For next day I read an authentic
account of how a negro giant with one eye, of quite equal dimensions,
had been baffled by a little boy like myself (of similar inexperience
and even lower social status) by means of a sword, some bad riddles, and
a brave heart.

G. K. Chesterton (Tremendous Trifles)

Can you not see that fairy tales in their essence are quite solid and
straightforward; but that this everlasting fiction about modern life is
in its nature essentially incredible? Folk-lore means that the soul is
sane, but that the universe is wild and full of marvels. Realism means
that the world is dull and full of routine, but that the soul is sick
and screaming.The problem of the fairy tale is--what will a healthy man
do with a fantastic world? The problem of the modern novel is--what
will a madman do with a dull world? In the fairy tales the cosmos goes
mad; but the hero does not go mad. In modern novels the hero is mad
before the book begins, and suffers from the harsh steadiness and cruel
sanity of the cosmos.

G.K. Chesterton, 'The Dragon's Grandmother.'"


Men must be taught as if you taught them not,
And things unknown propos'd as things forgot.

Alexander Pope

Don´t worry!

Don't worry, smile and dance
You just can't work life out.
Don't let them moods entrance you
Take the wine and shout

Pete Townshend, "Empty Glass"

Mystical experiences

All mystical experience is coincidence; and vice versa, of course.

Tom Stoppard.