Thursday, January 31, 2008

Naguib Mahfouz

Vienna, Austria - 2007

1. “A being without limits to his power: he may show himself to be a flower or he may bring about an earthquake.”
2. “Advance and retreat is time´s costum.
Among mankind no single state persists. (…)”
3. “After deliberation he said, “The truth is that I am ever on the move and my heart is never still – the brightness of day and the darkness of night contend for me.””
4. “An unprecedented event demands of us even more wisdom.”
5. “Despite her hidden sorrow, she said smiling. “The fact that stories repeat themselves is an indication of their truth, Your Majesty.” “Yes, yes – the secrets of existence are splendid and more delicious than wine.””
6. “Existence itself is the most inscrutable thing in existence.”
7. “He is also as inscrutable as a dream.”
8. “Her stories are white magic,” he said delightedly. “They open up words that invite reflection.”
9. “He who does good is not troubled by the consequences.”
10. “He who is the master of dreams is master of tomorrow.”
11. “If you are called upon to do good, you claim you are incapable; and if you´re called to do evil, you set about it in the name of duty.”
12. “It is through the intellect that we come to know the limits of the intellect.”
13. “It was a dream that did no harm, except that it did not come true.”
14. “Knowledge is not gained by numerous narratives but through following knowledge and using it.”
15. “Let there be darkness so that I may observe the effusion of the light.”
16. "Life and death, dreaming and wakefulness; stations for the perplexed soul. It traverses them stage by stage, taking signs and hints from things, grouping about the sea of darkness, clinging stubbornly to a hope that smilingly and mysteriously renews itself. Traveler, what are you searching for? What emotions rage in your heart? How will you govern your natural impulses and capricious thoughts? Why do you guffaw with laughter like a cavalier? Why do you shed tears like a child?"
17. “Love believes only in love.”
18. “My friend, the only trouble with you is that you overdo your submission to the intellect.”
19. “My night is resplendent with your face
with darkness in force among people.
While people are in the depths of darkness,
we are in the brightness of daylight.”
20. “”Nothing destroys a man like his own self,” he said to Master Sahloul. “And no one can save him like his own self,” said Sahloul enigmatically.”
21. “Nothing is more remarkable in the lives of men than dreams (…)”
22. “Over there is another life: the river joins up with the sea and the sea penetrates deeply into the unknown, and the unknown brings forth islands and mountains, living creatures and angels and devils. It is a magical call that cannot be resisted. I said to myself, “Try your luck, Sindbad, and throw yourself into the arms of the invisible.””
23. “Shahrzad has taught me to believe what man´s logic gives the lie to,” said Shahriyar as though communing with himself, “and to plunge into the sea of contradictions. Whenever night comes it seems to me that I am a poor man.””
24. “The stupidity of those who claim they are intelligent.”
25. “The worst affliction a man can suffer is to be under the delusion he is a god.”
26. “We have been taken unawares by wondrous and inscrutable happenings,” said the sultan, scowling. “The days and nights have taught us to pay attention to such wonders, and to knock at the door of the inscrutable so that it may open wide and reveal light. This wondrous happening, disguised as a dream, has invaded my very home.””
27. “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.”
28. “Your people are skilled at memorizing, quoting, and hypocrisy and in proportion to your knowledge must be your reckoning, so woe to you!”


To live in a vast and proud tranquility; always beyond... To have, or not to have, one's emotions, one's For and Against, according to choice; to lower oneself to them for hours; to seat oneself on them as upon horses, and often as upon asses: for one must know how to make use of their stupidity as well as of their fire. To conserve one's three hundred foregrounds; also one's black spectacles: for there are circumstances when nobody must look into our eyes, still less into our "motives." And to choose for company that roguish and cheerful vice, politeness. And to remain master of one's four virtues, courage, insight, sympathy, and solitude. For solitude is a virtue with us, as a sublime bent and bias to purity, which divines that in the contact of man and man - "in society" - it must be unavoidably impure. All society makes one somehow, somewhere, or sometime - "commonplace".

Friedrich Nietzsche, in 'Beyond Good and Evil'

Everybody lies

It is as if he had educated me. He says, "We do not need to lie to each other." Always the same wish, not to have to lie, but we will, of course, at the first sign of danger, of vulnerability, of jealousy, of withdrawal; we will lie to make an illusory relationship, a perfect one, without wounds.

Anais Nin (1903-1977)_The Diary of Anais Nin_, Volume I [1966], "May 1933"

The greatest obstacle

The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -- it is the illusion of knowledge.

Daniel J. Boorstin


When the state is most corrupt, then the laws are most multiplied.



Great doubts
deep wisdom...
Small doubts
little wisdom.

Chinese Proverb

An Invite to Eternity

Vienna, Austria - 2007

An Invite to Eternity
John Clare c.1847

Wilt thou go with me sweet maid
Say maiden wilt thou go with me
Through the valley-depths of shade
Of night and dark obscurity
Where the path has lost its way
Where the sun forgets the day
Where there's nor life nor light to see
Sweet maiden, wilt thou go with me

Where stones will turn to flooding streams
Where plains will rise like ocean waves
Where life will fade like visioned dreams
And mountains darken into caves
Say, maiden, wilt thou go with me
Through this sad non-identity
Where parents live and are forgot
And sisters live and know us not

Say maiden wilt thou go with me
In this strange death of life to be
To live in death and be the same
Without this life or home or name
At once to be, & not to be
That was and is not -yet to see
Things pass like shadows - and the sky
Above, below, around us lie

The land of shadows wilt thou trace
And look - nor know each others face
The present mixed with reasons gone
And past, and present all as one
Say maiden can thy life be led
To join the living with the dead
Then trace thy footstepts on with me
We're wed to one eternity

Winter Song

Villach, Austria - 2007

Winter Song

Aaron Kramer

Under a willow
close by a brook
her lap for a pillow
her eyes for a book

she like a drummer
practiced her art
all spring and all summer—
the drum was my heart.

Hear how the willow sighs to the sun:
It is over and done with, over and done!
Hear the cold brook, that can hardly run:
It is over and done with, over and done!

Under what maple
close by what lake
will she lie next April?
Whose heart will she break?


To get to heaven we must take it with us.

Henry Drummond

The deepest principle

"The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated."

William James


Life is a great tapestry. The individual is only an insignificant thread in an immense and miraculous pattern.

A.Einstein - from interview with G. S. Viereck, "What Life Means to Einstein," Saturday Evening Post, 10/26/1929


Every reminiscence is colored by the way things are today, and therefore by a delusive point of view.

A.Einstein -- from Autobiographical Notes, in Schilpp, Albert Einstein:
Philosopher-Scientist, 3

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Garden

Villach, Austria - 2007

'The Garden'

Andrew Marvell

How vainly men themselves amaze
To win the palm, the oak, or bays,
And their uncessant labors see
Crowned from some single herb or tree,
Whose short and narrow-vergèd shade
Does prudently their toils upbraid;
While all the flowers and trees do close
To weave the garlands of repose.

Fair Quiet, have I found thee here,
And Innocence, thy sister dear!
Mistaken long, I sought you then
In busy companies of men:
Your sacred plants, if here below,
Only among the plants will grow;
Society is all but rude,
To this delicious solitude.

No white nor red was ever seen
So amorous as this lovely green;
Fond lovers, cruel as their flame,
Cut in these trees their mistress' name.
Little, alas, they know or heed,
How far these beauties hers exceed!
Fair trees! wheresoe'er your barks I wound
No name shall but your own be found.

When we have run our passion's heat,
Love hither makes his best retreat:
The gods who mortal beauty chase,
Still in a tree did end their race.
Apollo hunted Daphne so,
Only that she might laurel grow,
And Pan did after Syrinx speed,
Not as a nymph, but for a reed.

What wondrous life is this I lead!
Ripe apples drop about my head;
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine;
The nectarine and curious peach
Into my hands themselves do reach;
Stumbling on melons as I pass,
Insnared with flowers, I fall on grass.

Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less,
Withdraws into its happiness:
The mind, that ocean where each kind
Does straight its own resemblance find;
Yet it creates, transcending these,
Far other worlds, and other seas;
Annihilating all that's made
To a green thought in a green shade.

Here at the fountain's sliding foot,
Or at some fruit-tree's mossy root,
Casting the body's vest aside,
My soul into the boughs does glide:
There like a bird it sits and sings,
Then whets and combs its silver wings;
And, till prepared for longer flight,
Waves in its plumes the various light.

Such was that happy garden-state,
While man there walked without a mate:
After a place so pure and sweet,
What other help could yet be meet!
But 'twas beyond a mortal's share
To wander solitary there:
Two paradises 'twere in one
To live in Paradise alone.

How well the skillful gardener drew
Of flowers and herbs this dial new;
Where from above the milder sun
Does through a fragrant zodiac run;
And, as it works, the industrious bee
Computes its time as well as we.
How could such sweet and wholesome hours
Be reckoned but with herbs and flowers!

Edmund Husserl

Villach, Austria - 2007

1. “But truly senseless speech would be no speech at all: it would be like the rattle of machinery. This we of course meet with in the case of verses or prayers learned by rote and repeated unthinkingly.”
2. “Merely fact-minded sciences make merely fact-minded people.”
3. "The mind and only the mind is a being in itself and for itself; it is autonomous and capable of being handled in a rational, genuinely and thoroughly scientific way... Thus the science of nature presupposes the science of the mind."

We are the music-makers

Villach, Austria - 2007

Arthur O'Shaughnessy

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.

With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world's great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire's glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song's measure
Can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o'erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world's worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.

Days of endless doubt

Like to an hermit poor in place obscure,
I mean to spend my days of endless doubt;
To wail such woes as time cannot recure,
Where none but Love shall ever find me out.

Sir Walter Raleigh (c. 1552-1668)
_The Phoenix Nest_ [1593], "Sonnet

The first condition to love

Sometimes we find satisfaction in self-pity. The reason is that it is our nature to find satisfaction in love; and when we are confined to ourselves we being to love ourselves, and then self-pity arises because we feel our limitation. But the love of self always brings dissatisfaction, for the self is not made to be loved; the self is made to love. The first condition to love is to forget oneself.

Hazrat Inayat Khan

My secret

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

A lyre with seven chords

Conversation may be compared to a lyre with seven chords - philosophy, art, poetry, love, scandal, and the weather.

Anna Brownell Jameson

A cable

Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it each day, and at last we cannot break it.

Horace Mann

Wear a smile

Wear a smile and have friends; wear a scowl and have wrinkles. What do we live for if not to make the world less difficult for each other?

George Eliot


As rain breaks through an ill-thatched house,
passion will break through an unreflecting mind.
As rain does not break through a well-thatched house,
passion will not break through a well-reflecting mind.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams

Villach, Austria - 2007

“Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with the golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams beneath your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams...“

W.B. Yeats

Henri Matisse

Villach, Austria - 2007

1. “An artist must never be a prisoner. Prisoner? An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success, etc.”
2. “An artist must possess Nature. He must identify himself with her rhythm, by efforts that will prepare the mastery which will later enable him to express himself in his own language.”
3. “Creativity takes courage.”
4. “Cutting into color reminds me of the direct carving of the sculptor.”
5. ”Derive happiness in oneself from a good day's work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us.”
6. “Drawing is putting a line (a)round an idea.”
7. “Exactitude is not truth.”
8. ”I don't know whether I believe in God or not. I think, really, I'm some sort of Buddhist. But the essential thing is to put oneself in a frame of mind which is close to that of prayer.”
9. “I do not literally paint that table, but the emotion it produces upon me.”
10. “I don't paint things. I only paint the difference between things.”
11. “I have always tried to hide my efforts and wished my works to have a light joyousness of springtime which never lets anyone suspect the labors it has cost me.”
12. “I have been no more than a medium, as it were.”
13. "In art, truth and reality begin when one no longer understands what one is doing or what one knows, and when there remains an energy that is all the stronger for being constrained, controlled and compressed."
14. "In the beginning you must subject yourself to the influence of nature. You must be able to walk firmly on the ground before you start walking of a tightrope."
15. “It has bothered me all my life that I do not paint like everybody else.”
16. “It is only after years of preparation that the young artist should touch color - not color used descriptively, that is, but as a means of personal expression.”
17. “I would like to recapture that freshness of vision which is characteristic of extreme youth when all the world is new to it.”
18. “Surely the vogue of those twisted and contorted human figures must be as short as it is artificial.”
19. “There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”
20. “There is an inherent truth which must be disengaged from the outward appearance of the object to be represented. This is the only truth that matters.”
21. “There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter than to paint a rose, because before he can do so he has first to forget all the roses that were ever painted.”
22. “The use of expressive colors is felt to be one of the basic elements of the modern mentality, an historical necessity, beyond choice.”
23. "Time extracts various values from a painter's work. When these values are exhausted the pictures are forgotten, and the more a picture has to give, the greater it is."
24. “What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter - a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.”
25. “When I paint green, it doesn't mean grass; when I paint blue, it doesn't mean sky.”
26. “With color one obtains an energy that seems to stem from witchcraft.”
27. “Work cures everything.”
28. “You study, you learn, but you guard the original naivete. It has to be within you, as desire for drink is within the drunkard or love is within the lover.”

The death of intelligence

Belief is the death of intelligence. As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence.

[Robert Anton Wilson]

Destruction and creation

When a tailor cuts the cloth for a garment piece by piece,
does anyone strike him,
saying, "Why have you torn this choice satin?"
Whenever the builders repair an old building,
don't they first ruin the old one?
Likewise the carpenter, the blacksmith, and the butcher—
with them too there is destruction before restoration.
The pounding of the myrobalan
becomes the means of restoring the body to health.
Unless you crush the wheat in the mill,
how will there be bread on your table?


A sorry lot

If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.

(Albert Einstein)

Warning to Children

Villach, Austria - 2007

Warning to Children
Robert Graves

Children, if you dare to think
Of the greatness, rareness, muchness
Fewness of this precious only
Endless world in which you say
You live, you think of things like this:
Blocks of slate enclosing dappled
Red and green, enclosing tawny
Yellow nets, enclosing white
And black acres of dominoes,
Where a neat brown paper parcel
Tempts you to untie the string.
In the parcel a small island,
On the island a large tree,
On the tree a husky fruit.
Strip the husk and pare the rind off:
In the kernel you will see
Blocks of slate enclosed by dappled
Red and green, enclosed by tawny
Yellow nets, enclosed by white
And black acres of dominoes,
Where the same brown paper parcel —
Children, leave the string alone!
For who dares undo the parcel
Finds himself at once inside it,
On the island, in the fruit,
Blocks of slate about his head,
Finds himself enclosed by dappled
Green and red, enclosed by yellow
Tawny nets, enclosed by black
And white acres of dominoes,
With the same brown paper parcel
Still untied upon his knee.
And, if he then should dare to think
Of the fewness, muchness, rareness,
Greatness of this endless only
Precious world in which he says
he lives — he then unties the string.

Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done, and Everybody was sure Somebody would do it.

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job.

Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

Denis Waitley

Monday, January 28, 2008

Star of my life

Villach, Austria - 2007

Star of my life, to the stars your face is turned;
Would I were the heavens, looking back at you with ten thousand eyes.


Pure and good

“Books, we know,
Are a substantial world, both pure and good:
Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood,
Our pastime and our happiness will grow.”

W. Wordsworth

Imaginary things

"This isn't about what is. It's about what people *think* is. That's why it's important. People only fight over imaginary things."

Neil Gaiman - "American Gods"


The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.

Hannah Arendt

Not yet

O Lord, help me to be pure, but not yet.

Saint Augustine

A secret

Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.

Franz Kafka


That day which you fear as being the end of all things is the birthday of your eternity.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Life is a lying dream

Life is a lying dream, he only wakes
Who casts the World aside.

Seami Motokiyo

A foolish consistency

There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction
that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself
for better for worse as his portion . . .

It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what
is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after
the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the
great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness
the independence of solitude.

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds . . .

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Standing water

The man who never alters his opinion
is like standing water,
and breeds reptiles of the mind.

William Blake

He that loveth a book

He that loveth a book will never want for a faithful friend, a wholesome counselor, a cheerful companion, an effectual comforter.

Isaac Barrow

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Plato thought

Villach, Austria - 2007

“Plato thought nature but a spume that plays
Upon a ghostly paradigm of things;
Solider Aristotle played the taws
Upon the bottom of a king of kings;
World-famous golden-thighed Pythagoras
Fingered upon a fiddle-stick or strings
What a star sang and careless Muses heard:
Old clothes upon old sticks to scare a bird.”

W.B. Yeats

Careless with the truth

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.

Albert Einstein

Never as high

A cathedral, a wave of a storm, a dancer's leap, never turn out to be as high as we had hoped.

Marcel Proust (1871-1922)

What you do does...

People know what they do;
they frequently know why they do what they do;
but what they don't know
is what they do does.

Michel Foucault, The Order of Things

He that loveth a book

He that loveth a book will never want for a faithful friend, a wholesome counselor, a cheerful companion, an effectual comforter.

Isaac Barrow


Music is the harmonious voice of creation; an echo of the invisible world...

Giuseppe Mazzini

Fernando Pessoa

Villach, Austria - 2007

1. “How many masks wear we, and undermasks, / Upon our countenance of soul, and when, / If for self-sport the soul itself unmasks, / Knows it the last mask off and the face plain? / “The true mask feels no inside to the mask / But looks out of the mask by co-masked eyes. / Whatever consciousness begins the task / The task’s accepted use to sleepness ties / Like a child freighted by its mirrored faces, / Our souls, that children are, being thought-losing, / Foist otherness upon their seen grimaces / And get a whole world on their forgot causing; / And, when a thought would unmask our soul’s masking / Itself goes not unmasked to the unmasking.”
2. “I am nothing / I shall always be nothing / I can only want to be nothing / Apart from this, I have in me all the dreams in the world.”
3. ”I am the escaped one,
After I was born
They locked me up inside me
But I left.
My soul seeks me,
Through hills and valley,
I hope my soul
Never finds me.”
4. “If that apparentt part of life's delight / Our tingled flesh-sense circumscribes were seen / By aught save reflex and co-carnal sight, / Joy, flesh and life might prove but a gross screen. / Haply Truth's body is no eyable being, / Is the choked vision of blindfolded eyes. / Wherefrom what comes to thought's sense of life? Nought. / All is either the irrational world we see / Or some aught-else whose being-unknown doth rot / Its use for our thought's use. Whence taketh me / A qualm-like ache of life, a body-deep / Soul-hate of what we seek and what we weep.”
5. “Look, there's no metaphysics on earth like chocolates.”
6. "…Since I was a child I have the tendency for creating around me a fictitious world, and makes myself surrounded by friends and people who never existed. (I don't know, may it be clear, whether they did not exist in fact or whether that is me, myself, who does not exist. For matters like these, and for all the others, we should not assume a dogmatic view.) Since I realize that I am something that I call Self , I care to work out carefully in figure, movements, character and history these multiple unreal figures that are so visibly clear to me and so mine as all the things coming from whatever we use call, perhaps abusevely, real life. This tendency, which happens everytime I realize that I am a Self, has always been with me, changing the kind of music by which it keeps me delighted, but never changing its way for delighting."
7. “We generally give to our ideas about the unknown the color of our notions about what we do know: If we call death a sleep it's because it has the appearance of sleep; if we call death a new life, it's because it seems different from life. We build our beliefs and hopes out of these small misunderstandings with reality and live off husks of bread we call cakes, the way poor children play at being happy. But that's how all life is; at least that's how the particular way of life generally known as civilization is. Civilization consists in giving an innapropriate name to something and then dreaming what results from that. And in fact the false name and the true dream do create a new reality. The object really does become other, because we have made it so. We manufacture realities. We use the raw materials we always used but the form lent it by art effectively prevents it from remaining the same. A table made out of pinewood is a pinetree but it is also a table. We sit down at the table not at the pinetree. “
8. ”What grieves me is not
What lies within the heart,
But those things of beauty
Which never can be . . .

They are the shapeless shapes
Which pass, though sorrow
Cannot know them
Nor love dream them.

They are as though sadness
Were a tree and, one by one,
Its leaves were to fall
Half outlined in the mist.”
9. ”When my gaze is clear
I think and write
the way flowers wear color,
yet less perfectly is
my mode of expression
for I lack the divine simplicity
of being entirely myself
and nothing more.

When I look
I am moved--
and I am nature--
the breeze rising lightly--
a wind going by.

I do not bother with rhymes.
I have no philosophy.
If I talk of nature, that is not because
I know what nature is
but because I love it.
My village creek is
great because it's free.

The best mysticism is simple
and does not think.
It lives on the top of a hill
in a lonely whitewashed house
and sings to the rivers.

The flying bird leaves no trace
nor marks the earth with her track.
She flies by the mystery of things.

And as for the sun each morning--

It rises on time.”
10. “Whether we write or speak or do but look / We are ever unapparent. What we are / Cannot be transfused into word or book, / Our soul from us is infinitely far. / However much we give our thoughts the will / To be our soul and gesture it abroad, / Our hearts are incommunicable still. / In what we show ourselves we are ignored. / The abyss from soul to soul cannot be bridged / By any skill of thought or trick of seeming. / Unto our very selves we are abridged / When we would utter to our thought our being. / We are our dreams of ourselves souls by gleams, / And each to each other dreams of others' dreams.”

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A tale in everything

Villach, Austria - 2007

”Oh Reader! had you in your mind
Such stores as silent thought can bring,
Oh gentle Reader! you would find
A tale in everything.”

W. Wordsworth

The World is too much with us

“The World is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours
And are up-gather'd now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.-Great God! I'd rather be
A pagan suckled in a creed outworn,-
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.”

W. Wordsworth

Street-corner physics

Whether we know it or not, we're all street-corner psychics. Without the ability to divine others' thoughts and feelings, we couldn't handle the simplest social situations--or achieve true intimacy
with others.

Annie Murphy Paul
_Psychology Today Magazine_ [Sep/Oct 2007], "Mindreading"


How we treasure (and admire) the people who acknowledge us! -

Julie Morgenstern, O Magazine, Belatedly Yours, January 2004


The only thing that sustains one through life is the consciousness of the immense inferiority of everybody else, and this is a feeling that I have always cultivated.

Oscar Wilde, "The Remarkable Rocket"

Cause and effect

The present contains nothing more than the past, and what is found in the effect was already in the cause.

Henri Louis Bergson, L'Evolution Creatrice (Creative Evolution), 1907, ch. 1.


He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.

Edmund Burke


Love is energy of life.

Robert Browning

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dreamer of worlds

Salzburg, Austria - 2007

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the word begin to move around. Stressed accents begin to invert. The word abandons its meaning like an overload which is too heavy and prevents dreaming. Then words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young. And the words wander away, looking in the nooks and crannies of vocabulary for new company, bad company.

Gaston Bachelard. 1960. The Poetics of Reverie.


Everyone takes the limits of his own vision for the limits of the world.

Arthur Schopenhauer

Not guilty

Every snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty.

Stanislaus Lec


Light is the first of painters. There is no object so foul that intense light will not make it beautiful.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

When We Two Parted

When We Two Parted

When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sunk chill on my brow—
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame;
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o'er me—
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well:—
Long, long shall I rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met—
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?
With silence and tears.

Patrick Kavanagh

1. ‘All the mouthpieces of public opinion are controlled by men whose only qualification is their inability to think.´
2. “A man is original when he speaks the truth that has always been known to all good men.”
3. ‘A peasant is all that mass of mankind which lives below a certain level of consciousness. They live in the dark cave of the unconscious and they scream when they see the light.’
4. “It is impossible to read the daily press without being diverted from reality. You are full of enthusiasm for the eternal verities--life is worth living, and then out of sinful curiosity you open a newspaper. You are disillusioned and wrecked.”
5. “Malice is only another name for mediocrity.”
6. ‘Our hope is to create in a few thousand people the power to think critically before it is too late. In life there needs to be a constant battle to recover losses. Evern to hold your place you have to fight. Hence what looks like destructiveness is merely the critical mind […].’
7. ‘The artist may hate his subject with that kind of furious enthusiastic hate which is a form of love, and which equally with love is a giver of life in literature.’
8. ‘There is only one muse, the Comic Muse. In Tragedy there is always something of a lie. Great poetry is always comic in the profound sense. Comedy is abundance of life. All true poets are gay, fanatastically humorous.’
9. “What appears in newspapers is often new but seldom true.”
10. ‘What seems of public importance is never of any importance. Stupid poets and artists think that by taking subjects of public importance it will help their works to survive. There is nothing as dead and damned as an important thing. The things that really matter are casual, insiginficant little things, things you would be ashamed to talk of publicly. You are ashamed and them after years someone blabs and you find that you are in the secret majority. Such is fame.’

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Look! This is love...

Villach, Austria - 2007

Look! This is love ---– to fly toward the heavens,
To tear a hundred veils in ev'ry wink,
To tear a hundred veils at the beginning,
To travel in the end without a foot,
And to regard this world as something hidden
And not to see with one's own seeing eye!
I said: "O heart, may it for you be blessed
To enter in the circle of the lovers,
To look from far beyond the range of eyesight,
To wander in the corners of the bosom!
O soul, from where has come to you this new breath?
O heart, from where has come this heavy throbbing?
O bird, speak now the language of the birds
Because I know to understand your secret!"
The soul replied: "Know, I was in God's workshop
While He still baked the 'house of clay and water.'
I fled from yonder workshop at a moment
Before the workshop was made and created.
I could resist no more. They dragged me hither
And they began to shape me like a ball!"


Love and laughter

"Without love and laughter there is no joy; live amid love and laughter."


Old and young

"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether this happens at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps on learning not only remains young, but becomes constantly more valuable regardless of physical capacity."

Harvey Ullman

Stronger and wiser

Thou mayest as well expect to grow stronger by always eating, as wiser by always reading. Too much overcharges Nature, and turns more into disease than nourishment. 'Tis thought and digestion which make books serviceable, and give health and vigor to the mind.

Thomas Fuller 1608-1661

What's In My Journal

Villach, Austria - 2007

What's In My Journal
William Stafford

Odd things, like a button drawer. Mean
Thing, fishhooks, barbs in your hand.
But marbles too. A genius for being agreeable.
Junkyard crucifixes, voluptuous
discards. Space for knickknacks, and for
Alaska. Evidence to hang me, or to beatify.
Clues that lead nowhere, that never connected
anyway. Deliberate obfuscation, the kind
that takes genius. Chasms in character.
Loud omissions. Mornings that yawn above
a new grave. Pages you know exist
but you can't find them. Someone's terribly
inevitable life story, maybe mine.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The only trouble

Villach, Austria - 2007

As the lotus does not touch the water, so do not let the world enter your heart. Being busy in the world is no trouble unless you are troubled being busy. Then the only trouble is the trouble.



"Read not to contradict and confute, not to believe and take for granted, not to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider."

Sir Francis Bacon

Family skeletons

If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.

George Bernard Shaw


Whoever is most impertinent has the best chance.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The vessel

Thought is the wind, knowledge the sail, and mankind the vessel.

Augustus William Hare, Guesses At Truth, 1827.

Do not go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

Beginning today

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness, and understanding you can muster, and do it without any thought of reward. Your life will never be the same again.

Og Mandino

The sky is whole and clear

These things from ancient times arise from one:
The sky is whole and clear.
The earth is whole and firm.
The spirit is whole and strong.
The valley is whole and full.
The ten thousand things are whole and alive.
Kings and lords are whole, and the country is upright.
All these are in virtue of wholeness.

The clarity of the sky prevents its falling.
The firmness of the earth prevents its splitting.
The strength of the spirit prevents its being used up.
The fullness of the valley prevents its running dry.
The growth of the ten thousand things prevents their dying out.
The leadership of kings and lords prevents the downfall of the country.

Therefore the humble is the root of the noble.
The low is the foundation of the high.
Princes and lords consider themselves "orphaned,""widowed," and
Do they not depend on being humble?

Too much success is not an advantage.
Do not tinkle like jade
Or clatter like stone chimes.