Friday, May 30, 2008


Santorini, Greece - 2006

1. “A good deed in the wrong place is like an evil deed.”
2. "A room without books is like a body without a soul."
3. "A letter does not blush."
4. "All men have a feeling, that they would rather you told them a civil lie than give them a point blank refusal... If you make a promise, the thing is still uncertain, depends on a future day, and concerns but few people; but if you refuse you alienate people to a certainty and at once, and many people to."
5. “An unjust peace is better than a just war.”
6. “Be sure that it is not you that is mortal, but only your body. For that man whom your outward form reveals is not yourself; the spirit is the true self, not that physical figure which and be pointed out by your finger.”
7. “Brevity is the best recommendation of speech, whether in a senator or an orator.”
8. “By doubting we come at truth.”
9. “Cultivation to the mind is as necessary as food to the body.”
10. “Every evil in the bud is easily crushed: as it grows older, it becomes stronger.”
11. “Excessive liberty leads both nations and individuals into excessive slavery.”
12. “For as the law is set over the magistrate, even so are the magistrates set over the people. And therefore, it may be truly said, "that the magistrate is a speaking law, and the law is a silent magistrate."”
13. “For the laws are dumb in the midst of arms.”
14. “[Freedom is] the power to live as you will. Who then lives as he wills?”’
15. ”Hatred is inveterate anger.”
16. “He is his own worst enemy.”
17. “I criticize by creation, not by finding fault.”
18. “If a man could mount to heaven and survey the mighty universe, his admiration of its beauties would be much diminished unless he had some one to share in his pleasure.”
19. ”If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”
20. “If you pursue good with labour, the labour passes away but the good remains; if you pursue evil with pleasure, the pleasure passes away and the evil remains.”
21. “If we are not ashamed to think it, we should not be ashamed to say it.”
22. “I have no regret at having lived, for I have so conducted my life that I do not feel that I was born to no purpose. I cheerfully quit from life as if it were an inn, not a home; for Nature has given us a hostelry in which to sojourn, not to abide.”
23. “In everything satiety closely follows the greatest pleasures.”
24. "In everything truth surpasses the imitation and copy."
25. “In honourable dealing you should consider what you intended, not what you said or thought.”
26. “In the very books in which philosophers bid us scorn fame, they inscribe their names.”
27. "I prefer the most unfair peace to the most righteous war."
28. “I prefer tongue-tied knowledge to ignorant loquacity.”
29. “I remind you, sir, that extreme patriotism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice no virtue.”
30. “I swear I would rather be wrong with Plato than see the truth with men like these.”
31. "It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment; in these qualities old age is usually not only not poorer, but is even richer."
32. “It was ordained at the beginning of the world that certain signs should prefigure certain events.”
33. “Justice consists in doing no injury to men; decency in giving them no offense.”
34. ”Justice shines by its own light.”
35. “Laws are dumb in time of war.”
36. "Let the punishment match the offense."
37. ”Liberty consists in the power of doing that which is permitted by the law.”
38. "Like associates with like."
39. "Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things."
40. ”Morals today are corrupted by our worship of riches.”
41. “My precept to all who build, is, that the owner should be an ornament to the house, and not the house to the owner.”
42. ”Natural ability without education has more often attained to glory and virtue than education without natural ability.”
43. ”Nature abhors annihilation.”
44. "Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself."
45. ”No man can be brave who thinks pain the greatest evil; nor temperate, who considers pleasure the highest good.”
46. ”No one was ever great without some portion of divine inspiration.”
47. ”Nor has he spent his life badly who has passed it in privacy.”
48. ”No sensible man ever imputes inconsistency to another for changing his mind.”
49. ”Nothing quite new is perfect.”
50. “Nothing so absurd can be said, that some philosopher has not said it.”
51. “Not to know what happened before one was born is always to be a child.”
52. "Not to know what has been transacted in former times is to be always a child. If no use is made of the labors of past ages, the world must remain always in the infancy of knowledge."
53. “Philosophy, rightly defined, is simply the love of wisdom.”
54. ”That last day does not bring extinction to us, but change of place.”
55. “The beginnings of all things are small.”
56. ”The countenance is the portrait of the mind, the eyes are its informers.”
57. “The cultivation of the mind is a kind of food supplied for the soul of man.”
58. “The foundation of justice is good faith.”
59. “The foundations of justice are that on one shall suffer wrong; then, that the public good be promoted.”
60. “The good of the people is the chief law.”
61. “The harvest of old age is the recollection and abundance of blessing previously secured.”
62. “The higher we are placed, the more humbly we should walk.”
63. “The life given us by nature is short; but the memory of a well-spent life is eternal.”
64. ”The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.”
65. “The mind of each man is the man himself.”
66. “The more laws, the less justice.”
67. ”The nobler a man, the harder it is for him to suspect inferiority in others.”
68. ”The only excuse for war is that we may live in peace unharmed.”
69. “There is no statement so absurd that no philosopher will make it.”
70. ”The safety of the people shall be the highest law.”
71. “The spirit is the true self.”
72. “These studies are a spur to the young, a delight to the old; an ornament in prosperity, a consoling refuge in adversity; they are pleasure for us at home, and no burden abroad; they stay up with us at night, they accompany us when we travel, they are with us in our country visits.”
73. ”The thirst of desire is never filled, nor fully satisfied.”
74. "The wise are instructed by reason, average minds by experience, the stupid by necessity and the brute by instinct."
75. “They condemn what they do not understand.”
76. “Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book.”
77. “To add a library to a house is to give that house a soul.”
78. “To be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man's lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?”
79. ”To disregard what the world thinks of us is not only arrogant but utterly shameless.”
80. “To live is to think.”
81. “To live long, it is necessary to live slowly.”
82. “To think is to live.”
83. ”True glory takes root, and even spreads; all false pretences, like flowers, fall to the ground; nor can any counterfeit last long.”
84. ”Virtue is a habit of the mind, consistent with nature and moderation and reason.”
85. “We are motivated by a keen desire for praise, and the better a man is the more he is inspired by glory. The very philosophers themselves, even in those books which they write in contempt of glory, inscribe their names.”
86. ”We are slaves of the laws in order that we may be able to be free.”
87. "We should not be so taken up in the search for truth, as to neglect the needful duties of active life; for it is only action that gives a true value and commendation to virtue."
88. ”We think a happy life consists in tranquillity of mind.”
89. “Whatever that be which thinks, understands, wills, and acts. it is something celestial and divine."
90. “What is so beneficial to the people as liberty, which we see not only to be greedily sought after by men, but also by beasts, and to be preferred to all things.”
91. ”Whatever you do, do with all your might.”
92. "When you wish to instruct, be brief; that men's minds take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it faithfully. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind."
93. “Whom they fear they hate”

Nothing but words

”Occasionally, if I am lucky, I leave myself behind and become nothing but words.”

Larry Gross

A little season

“A little season of love and laughter,
Of light and life, and pleasure and pain,
And a horror of outer darkness after,
And the dust returneth to dust again.
Then the lesser life shall be as the greater,
And the lover of life shall join the hater,
And the one thing cometh, sooner or later,
And no one knoweth the loss or gain.”

Adam Gordon

Mind and matter

“We can make ourselves matter because we mind.”

Rebecca Goldstein

Inner moonlight

“Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness.”

Allen Ginsberg

The whole wide world

“I love her doubting and anguish;
I love the love she withholds,
I love my love that loveth her,
And anew her being moulds.”

“Not from the whole wide world I chose thee,
Sweetheart, light of the land and the sea!
The wide, wide world could not inclose thee,
For thou art the whole wide world to me.”

Richard Watson Gilder


"Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first."

Charles de Gaulle


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

Elizabeth Gaskell

I hate love

“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up these defenses, you build this whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life. You give them a piece of you. They didn't ask for it. They do something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own any more. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darknes, so working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a body-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.”

Neil Gaiman

The innermost core

Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality.

Victor Frankl

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Santorini, Greece - 2006

1. "All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire."
2. “All men by nature desire to know.”
3. “Anyone can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not easy.”
4. "A person who cannot live in society, or does not need to because he is self-sufficient, is either a beast or a god."
5. "A plausible impossibility is always preferable to an unconvincing possibility."
6. ”Art is identical with a state of capacity to make, involving a true course of reasoning. All art is concerned with coming into being ... for art is concerned neither with things that are, or come into being, by necessity, nor with things that do so in accordance with nature.”
7. “A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.”
8. “A whole is that which has a beginning, a middle and an end.”
9. “Different men seek after happiness in different ways and by different means, and so make for themselves different modes of life and forms of government.”
10. “Educated men are as much superior to uneducated men as the living are to the dead.”
11. “Education is an ornament in prosperity, and a refuge in adversity.”
12. "Every rascal is not a thief, but every thief is a rascal."
13. "Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."
14. “Fear is pain arising from the anticipation of evil.”
15. "For what is the best choice, for each individual is the highest it is possible for him to achieve."
16. “Generally, about all perception, we can say that a sense is what has the power of receiving into itself the sensible forms of things without the matter, in the way in which a piece of wax takes on the impress of a signet ring without the iron or gold.”
17. “Good has two meanings: it means both that which is good absolutely and that which is good for somebody.”
18. "Happiness is activity."
19. “Hope is a waking dream.”
20. “Humor is the only test of gravity, and gravity of humor; for a subject which will not bear raillery is suspicious, and a jest which will not bear serious examination is false wit.”
21. "I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self."
22. “If things do not turn out as we wish, we should wish for them as they turn out.”
23. “I have gained this by philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law.”
24. “In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”
25. "Inferiors agitate in order that they may be equal and equals that they may be superior. Such is the state of mind which creates party strife."
26. “It is just that we should be grateful, not only to those with whose views we may agree, but also to those who have expressed more superficial views; for these also contributed something, by developing before us the powers of thought.”
27. ”It is not once nor twice but times without number that the same ideas make their appearance in the world.”
28. “It is not the possessions but the desires of mankind which require to be equalised.”
29. “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
30. “It is the mark of an educated mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject admits and not to seek exactness where only an approximation is possible.”
31. "Liars when they speak the truth are not believed."
32. “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”
33. “Melancholy men, of all others, are the most witty.”
34. “Memory is the scribe of the soul."
35. “Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions.”
36. “Nature does nothing without purpose or uselessly.”
37. “No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness.”
38. “No one loves the man whom he fears.”
39. "Obstinate people may be subdivided into the opinionated, the ignorant and the boorish."
40. "Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work."
41. “Poetry is more philosophical and of higher value than history; for poetry tends to express the universal, history the particular.”
42. “Poetry is something more philosophical and more worthy of serious attention than history.”
43. "Probable impossibilities are to be preferred to improbable possibilities."
44. “That in the soul which is called the mind is, before it thinks, not actually any real thing.”
45. “The actuality of thought is life.”
46. “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”
47. “The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.”
48. “The beauty of the soul shines out when a man bears with composure one heavy mischance after another, not because he does not feel them, but because he is a man of high and heroic temper.
49. “The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living from the dead.”
50. "The energy of the mind is the essence of life."
51. “The gods too are fond of a joke.”
52. "The good has been well said to be that at which all things aim."
53. “The generality of men are naturally apt to be swayed by fear rather than reverence, and to refrain from evil rather because of the punishment that it brings than because of its own foulness.”
54. “The greatest virtues are those which are most useful to other persons.”
55. “The high-minded man must care more for the truth than for what people think."
56. "The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold."
57. "The life of the intellect is the best and pleasantest for man, because the intellect more than anything else is the man. Thus it will be the happiest life as well."
58. "The mathematical sciences particularly exhibit order, symmetry, and limitation; and these are the greatest forms of the beautiful."
59. “The moral virtues, then, are produced in us neither by nature nor against nature. Nature, indeed, prepares in us the ground for their reception, but their complete formation is the product of habit.”
60. "Therefore, even the lover of myth is in a sense a philosopher; for myth is composed of wonders."
61. “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.”
62. “The secret to humor is surprise."
63. “The soul never thinks without a picture.”
64. “There is a cropping-time in the races of men, as in the fruits of the field; and sometimes, if the stock be good, there springs up for a time a succession of splendid men; and then comes a period of barrenness.”
65. "There was never a genius without a tincture of madness."
66. "The soul never thinks without a picture."
67. ”The whole is more than the sum of its parts.”
68. “The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.”
69. “Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.”
70. “Tragedy is an imitation not only of a complete action, but of events inspiring fear and pity. Such an effect is best produced when the events come on us by surprise; and the effect is heightened when, at the same time, they follow as cause and effect. The tragic wonder will then be great than if they happened of themselves or by accident; for even coincidences are most striking when they have an air of design.”
71. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”
72. “We give up leisure in order that we may have leisure, just as we go to war in order that we may have peace.”
73. “Well begun is half done."
74. "We must no more ask whether the soul and body are one than ask whether the wax and the figure impressed on it are one."
75. “We should behave to our friends as we would wish our friends to behave to us.”
76. “What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.”
77. "What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do."
78. ”What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing.”
79. “Wicked men obey from fear; good men, from love.”
80. "Wit is educated insolence."
81. “Young people are in a condition like permanent intoxication, because youth is sweet and they are growing.”

Keep me from going to sleep too soon

”Keep me from going to sleep too soon
Or if I go to sleep too soon
Come wake me up. Come any hour
Of night. Come whistling up the road.
Stomp on the porch. Bang on the door.
Make me get out of bed and come
And let you in and light a light.
Tell me the northern lights are on
And make me look. Or tell me clouds
Are doing something to the moon
They never did before, and show me.
See that I see. Talk to me till
I'm half as wide awake as you
And start to dress wondering why
I ever went to bed at all.
Tell me the walking is superb.
Not only tell me but persuade me.
You know I'm not too hard persuaded.”

Robert Francis


"There are more ideas on earth than intellectuals imagine. And these ideas are more active, stronger, more resistant, more passionate than ''politicians'' think. We have to be there at the birth of ideas, the bursting outward of their force: not in books expressing them, but in events manifesting this force, in struggles carried on around ideas, for or against them. Ideas do not rule the world. But it is because the world has ideas... that it is not passively ruled by those who are its leaders or those who would like to teach it, once and for all, what it must think."

Michel Foucault

At our fingertips

“We have at our fingertips .... books by the zillion; CDs and movies and TV by the ton; the Internet; also the opportunity to move around ... But in time the sheer richness of this complexity can sand bag you. You long for simplicity, for the yin to that yang. You yearn --- though you may not openly know it --- to take a respite from your eternal wrestling with the abstract ... you begin, sooner or later, to dream of truly wild places.”

Colin Fletcher


“Any color, so long as it's red,
Is the color that suits me best,
Though I will allow there is much to be said
For yellow and green and the rest.”

Eugene Field

Old maid

“Being an old maid is like death by drowning, a really delightful sensation after you cease to struggle.”

Edna Ferber


“There's two possible outcomes: if the result confirms the hypothesis, then you've made a discovery. If the result is contrary to the hypothesis, then you've made a discovery.”

Enrico Fermi

A certain kind of child

“There is a certain kind of child who awakens from a book as from an abyssal sleep, swimming heavily up through layers of consciousness toward a reality that seems less real than the dream-state that has been left behind. I was such a child.”

Anne Fadiman

Let stories happen

"I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom."

Estes, Clarissa Pinkola.

Love and hate

“There are forces in nature called Love and Hate. The force of Love causes elements to be attracted to each other and to be built up into some particular form or person, and the force of Hate causes the decomposition of things.”


All my life

“All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naïve. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself.”

Ralph Ellison


“It is frequently the tragedy of the great artist, as it is of the great scientist, that he frightens the ordinary man. If he is more than a popular story-teller it may take humanity a generation to absorb and grow accustomed to the new geography with which the scientist or artist presents us. Even then, perhaps only the more imaginative and literate may accept him. Subconsciously the genius is feared as an image breaker; frequently he does not accept the opinions of the mass, or man's opinion of himself.”

Loren Eiseley

In the name of good

“Much less evil would be done on earth if evil could not be done in the name of good.”

von Ebner-Eschenbach, Marie.

No alternative

“History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.”

Abba Eban


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

Lucius Annaeus Seneca


The greatest weariness comes from work not done.

Eric Hoffer


She was supposed to be very clever. All young ladies are either very pretty or very clever or very sweet; they may take their choice as to which category they will go in for, but go in for one of the three they must. It was hopeless to try and pass Charlotte off as either pretty or sweet. So she became clever as the only remaining alternative.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902)
English novelist, essayist, and critic.
_The Way of All Flesh_ [1903]


What is now proved was once only imagined.

William Blake (1757-1827)

To find a pearl

To find a pearl dive deep into the ocean
don't look in fountains.
To find a pearl you must
emerge from the water of life always thirsty.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

This was love at first sight

"This was love at first sight, love everlasting: a feeling unknown, unhoped for, unexpected--in so far as it could be a matter of conscious awareness; it took entire possession of him, and he understood, with joyous amazement, that this was for life."

Thomas Mann

Alan Watts

Santorini Greece - 2006

1. “...all dualities and opposites are not disjointed but polar; they do not encounter and confront one another from afar; they exfoliate from a common center. Ordinary thinking conceals polarity and relativity because it employs terms, the terminals or ends, the poles, neglecting what lies between them. The difference of front and back, to be and not to be, hides their unity and mutuality.”
2. “And it came to pass that in the hands of the ignorant, the words of the Bible were used to beat plowshares into swords.”
3. “As the retina enables us to see countless pulses of energy as a single light, so the mystical experience shows us innumerable individuals as a single Self.”
4. “But my dear man, reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know.”
5. “I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.”
6. “How can the cortex observe and control the cortex? Perhaps there will come a day when the human brain will fold back on itself again and develop a higher cortex, but until then the only feedback which the cortex has about its own states comes through other people. (I am speaking here of the cortex as a whole. One can of course remember remembering.) Thus the ego which observes and controls the cortex is a complex of social information relayed back into the cortex - Mead's 'generalized other.' But this is social misinformation when it is made to appear that the information of which the ego consists is something other than states of the cortex itself, and therefore ought to be controlling the cortex. The ego is the unconscious pretense that the organism contains a higher system than the cortex; it is the confusion of a system of interpersonal information with a new, imaginary, fold in the brain - or with something quite other than a neural pattern, a mind, soul, self. When, therefore, I feel that 'I' am knowing or controlling myself - my cortex - I should recognize that I am actually being controlled by other people's words and gestures masquerading as my inner or better self. Not to see this brings about utter confusion, as when I try to force myself to stop feeling in ways that are socially unacceptable. If all this is true, it becomes obvious that the ego feeling is pure hypnosis. Society is persuading the individual to do what it wants by making it appear that its commands are the individual's inmost self. What we want is what you want. And this is a double-bind, as when a mother says to her child, who is longing to slush around in a mud puddle, 'Now darling, you don't want to get into that mud!' This is misinformation, and this - if anything - is the 'Great Social Lie.' Let us suppose, then, that the false reflex of 'I seeing my sights' or 'I feeling my feelings' is stopped.... It is hardly too much to say that such a change of perception would give far better ground for social solidarity than the normal trick of misinformation and hypnosis.”
7. "How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself anything less than a god."
8. "In the strictest sense, we cannot actually think about life and reality at all, because this would have to include thinking about thinking, thinking about thinking about thinking, and so *ad infinitum*. One can only attempt a rational, descriptive philosophy of the universe on the assumption that one is totally separate from it. But if you and your thoughts are part of this universe, you cannot stand outside them to describe them. This is why all philosophical and theological systems must ultimately fall apart. To 'know' reality you cannot stand outside and define it; you must enter into it, be it, and feel it.”
9. “Just as the highest and the lowest notes are equally inaudible, so perhaps, is the greatest sense and the
greatest nonsense equally unintelligible.”
10. “Lack of awareness of the basic unity of organism and environment is a serious and dangerous hallucination.”
11. “Myth is only “revelation” so long as it is a message from heaven – that is, from the timeless and non-historical world – expressing not what was true once, but what is true always.”
12. "No one imagines that a symphony
is supposed to improve in quality
as it goes along,
or that the whole object
of playing it is to reach the finale.
The point of music is discovered
in every moment of playing
and listening to it.

It is the same, I feel,
with the greater part of our lives,
and if we are unduly absorbed
in improving them -
we may forget altogether
to live them."
13. “No one is more dangerously insane than one who is sane all the time....”
14. “...psychedelic experience is only a glimpse of genuine mystical insight, but a glimpse which can be matured and deepened by the various ways of meditation in which drugs are no longer necessary or useful. When you get the message, hang up the phone.”
15. "Some believe all that parents, tutors, and kindred believe. They take their principles by inheritance, and defend them as they would their estates, because they are born heirs to them."
16. “The configuration of my nervous system, like the configuration of the stars, happens of itself, and this "itself" is the real "myself." From this standpoint -- and here language reveals its limitations with a vengeance -- I find that I cannot help doing and experiencing, quite freely, what is always "right," in the sense that the stars are always in their "right" places.”
17. “The eyes are our most sensitive organ, and when you look and look and look into another person's eyes you are looking at the most beautiful jewels in the universe. And if you look down beyond that surface beauty, it's the most beautiful jewel in the universe, because that's the universe looking at you. We are the eyes of the cosmos. So that in a way, when you look deeply into somebody's eyes, you are looking deeply into yourself, and the other person is looking deeply into the same self, which many-eyed, as the mask of Vishnu is many-faced, is looking out everywhere, one energy playing myriads of different parts.”
18. "The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance."
19. “Things are as they are. Looking out into it the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations."
20. “This then, is the human problem; there is a price to be paid for every increase in consciousness. We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being
more sensitive to pain.”
21. “To be angry about trifles is mean and childish; to rage and be furious is brutish; and to maintain perpetual wrath is akin to the practice and temper of devils; but to prevent and suppress rising resentment is wise and glorious, is manly and divine.”
22. “To understand music, you must listen to it. But so long as you are thinking, "I am listening to this music," you are not listening. To understand joy or fear, you must be wholly and undividedly aware of it. So long as you are calling it names and saying, "I am happy," or "I am afraid," you are not being aware of it. Fear, pain, sorrow, and boredom must remain problems if we do not understand them, but understanding requires a single and undivided mind. This, surely, is the meaning of that strange saying, "If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”
23. “Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.”
24. "We are sick with fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas. Meditation is therefore the art of suspending verbal and symbolic thinking for a time, somewhat as a courteous audience will stop talking when a concert is about to begin."
25. ”We can never, never describe all features of the total situation, not only because every situation is infinitely complex, but also because the total situation is the universe. Fortunately, we do not have to describe any situation exhaustively, because some of its features appear to be much more important than others for understanding the behavior of the various organisms within it. We never get more than a sketch of the situation, yet this is enough to show that actions (or processes) must be understood, or explained, in terms of situations just as words must be understood in the context of sentences, paragraphs, chapters, books, libraries, and . . . life itself. To sum up: just as no thing or organism exists on its own, it does not act on its own. Furthermore, every organism is a process: thus the organism is not other than its actions. To put it clumsily: it is what it does. More precisely, the organism, including its behavior, is a process which is to be understood only in relation to the larger and longer process of its environment. For what we mean by "understanding" or "comprehension" is seeing how parts fit into a whole, and then realizing that they don't compose the whole, as one assembles a jigsaw puzzle, but that the whole is a pattern, a complex wiggliness, which has no separate parts. Parts are fictions of language, of the calculus of looking at the world through a net which seems to chop it up into bits. Parts exist only for purposes of figuring and describing, and as we figure the world out we become confused if we do not remember this all the time.”
26. “Western science is now delineating a new concept of man, not as a solitary ego within a wall of flesh, but as an organism which is what it is by virtue of its inseparability from the rest of the world. But with the rarest exceptions even scientists do not feel themselves to exist in this way. They, and almost all of us, retain a sense of personality which is independent, isolated, insular, and estranged from the cosmos that surrounds it. Somehow this gap must be closed, and among the varied means whereby the closure may be initiated or achieved are medicines which science itself has discovered, and which may prove to be the sacraments of its religion.”


“The work of the world is done on hate. All work done well is well done only when persons hate work done shoddily. Justice can exist only when injustice is hated, laws only when lawlessness is hated, and education only when ignorance is hated. Every improvement this world has ever known was brought about because someone hated intolerable conditions.”

Jane Dunlap


“Whenever you write about what you think is the most embarrassing thing about you, the darkest secret, the one thing you fear other people may find out and laugh at you about; whenever you write about that aspect of yourself, then you will reach millions. You will find out it is the same for them, and in saying it of yourself you will say it for them, and they will respond and recognize it and they will be grateful to you and love you for saying what they were afraid to say and thought they must bear alone.”

Mark van Doren

The secret of life

“The secret of life is simply you...
your magnificence, your divinity.
Love is the medium through which
the divinity manifests.
The medium is the message.
Love is the message.
When you love, you are carrying the message...
You are manifesting your magnificence,
your divinity.
When you feel love, you feel good.
When you feel good, you feel love.
When you feel good, you feel god.
When you feel god, you feel good.
Love is your creation.
Your natural state is
the ecstatic experience of Love.
It is simply the conscious experience
of our aliveness, made manifest.shared.
Love does not "happen" to us.
We happen it.
We happen it by removing that which blocks it.
Living a life is simply the process of removing
those barriers to experiencing Love.”

Joe Dominguez

Golden volumes

“Golden volumes! richest treasures,
Objects of delicious pleasures!
You my eyes rejoicing please,
You my hand in rapture seize!
Brilliant wits and musing sages,
Lights who beam'd through many ages!
Left to your conscious leaves their story,
And dared to trust you with their glory;
And now their hope of fame achiev'd,
Dear volumes! you have not deceived!”

Isaax D´Israeli

The Prince of the garden

“I AM beloved of the Prince of the garden of pleasure,
I am beloved;
I am his pearl, and his dove, and his heart’s hidden treasure,
I am approved;
To-day he has given his love, oh! his love without measure,
Which can never be moved.”

Ella Dietz


“Minds are like parachutes - they only function when open.”

Thomas Dewar

Easy to deceive

“Nothing is so easy as to deceive one's self, for what we wish to believe, we readily believe, but such expectations are often inconsistent with the real state of things. Nothing is so easy as to deceive one's self, for what we wish to believe, we readily believe, but such expectations are often inconsistent with the real state of things.”



"And of all plagues with which mankind are curst, Ecclesiastic tyranny's the worst."

Daniel Defoe

The proper villain

“Every maiden's weak and willin'
When she meets the proper villain.”

Clarence Day

In a jasper cup

“That minister of ministers
Imagination, gathers up
The undiscovered Universe
Like jewels in a jasper cup.”

John Davidson

If you can't believe

"If you can't believe a little in what you see on the screen, it's not worth wasting your time on cinema."

Serge Daney

Monday, May 26, 2008

Gore Vidal

Santorini, Greece - 2006

1. "A good deed never goes unpunished."
2. “A narcissist is someone better looking than you are.”
3. “As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by desatroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.”
4. “If most men and women were forced to rely upon physical charm to attract lovers, their sexual lives would be not only meager, but in a youth-worshiping country like America, painfully brief.”
5. "If the splitter of hairs has a sharp enough knife, the fact of life itself can be chopped into nothing."
6. "I have always found men quite fathomable. They look entirely to their own interest."
7. "I have found that there is no attitude so bizarre that one will not encounter it sooner or later if one travels far enough."
8. ”I never miss a chance to have sex or appear on television.”
9. "I suppose that one is always tempted to challenge those who think that they and they alone possess the truth or the way or the key to the mystery."
10. “It is the spirit of the age to believe that any fact, no matter how suspect, is superior to any imaginative exercise, no matter how true.”
11. "It is vice to go to bed with someone you are not married to or have someone of your own sex or to get money for having sex with someone who does not appeal to you - incidentally, the basis of half the marriages of my generation."
12. “Laughing at someone else is an excellent way of learning how to laugh at oneself; and questioning what seem to be the absurd beliefs of another group is a good way of recognizing the potential absurdity of many of one's own cherished beliefs.”
13. "Least said, soonest mended."
14. "Nothing is true except from a single point of view."
15. "One's neighbor is always the enemy. That is the nature of things."
16. “One way to restore humility is to read the help-wanted ads. You'd be surprised how many positions there are which you are too ignorant, too unattractive, or too old to fill.”
17. "Our lives are dominated by symbols of our own making. Once we had invented time by differentiating one year from another, we became in thrall to the notion of the decade, the century, the millennium. Every twenty years the middle-aged celebrate the decade of their youth."
18. “Realism has always been called cynicism.”
19. ”Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn.”
20. "Since no one can ever know for certain whether or not his own view of life is the correct one, it is absolutely impossible for him to know if someone else's is the wrong one."
21. "There is no such thing as a true account of anything."
22. “Think of the earth as a living organism that is being attacked by billions of bacteria whose numbers double every forty years. Either the host dies, or the virus dies, or both die.”
23. ”Today's public figures can no longer write their own speeches or books, and there is some evidence that they can't read them either.”
24. "To learn and not think over what you have learned is perfectly useless. To think without having learned is dangerous."
25. "True wisdom is to know the extent of what you don't know quite as well as you know what you do know."
26. “Whether you have an abortion, what you put in your own body, with whom you have sex - these are not the affairs of the state. A government does not exist to control the citizens. When it does, it is a tyranny, and must be fought. The tree of liberty, Jefferson warned us, must be refreshed with the blood of tyrants and patriots.”

Dreamer, dream no more!

"I walked beside the evening sea
And dreamed a dream that could not be;
The waves that plunged along the shore
Said only: "Dreamer, dream no more!"

William George Curtis

Not a shrine

“The library is not a shrine for the worship of books. It is not a temple where literary incense must be burned or where one's devotion to the bound book is expressed in ritual. A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas - a place where history comes to life.”

Norman Cousins

This most beautiful temple

“In this most beautiful temple, who would place this lamp in another or better position than that from which it can light up everything at the same time? For the sun is not inappropriately called by some people the lantern of the universe, its mind by others, and its ruler by still others.”


The voice of the sea

"The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace."

Kate Chopin

Six things

”Women desire six things: They want their husbands to be brave, wise, rich, generous, obedient to wife, and lively in bed.”

Geoffrey Chaucer

What you deserve

“Nature gives you the face you have at twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But at fifty you get the face you deserve.”

Gabrielle Chanel

Rainbow of chaos

"We live in a rainbow of Chaos."

Paul Cézanne

Deep peace

”Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.”

Celtic Blessing

How many lives

“How many lives we live in one,
And how much less than one, in all.”

Alice Cary

So thin a veil divides

“SO thin a veil divides
Us from such joy, past words,
Walking in daily life—the business of the hour, each detail seen to;
Yet carried, rapt away, on what sweet floods of other Being:
Swift streams of music flowing, light far back through all Creation shining,
Loved faces looking—
Ah! from the true, the mortal self
So thin a veil divides!”

Edward Carpenter


”During [these] periods of relaxation after concentrated intellectual activity, the intuitive mind seems to take over and can produce the sudden clarifying insights which give so much joy and delight.”

Fritjof Capra

Field of flowers

“Ye field flowers! the gardens eclipse you 'tis true:
Yet wildings of nature, I dote upon you,
For ye waft me to summers of old,
When the earth teem'd around me with fairy delight,
And when daisies and buttercups gladden'd my sight,
Like treasures of silver and gold.”

Thomas Campbell

In the mountains

”My body lives in the city,
But my essence dwells in the mountains.
The affairs of a puppet play
Are not to be taken too seriously.
When the polar mountain fits into a mustard seed,
All the words in the universe may as well be erased.”

Wu Cailuam

I am Caesar

“Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded with patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader, and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.”

Julius Caesar

Pitfals and traps

"Kindness and intelligence don't always deliver us from the pitfalls and traps: there are always failures of love, of will, of imagination. There is no way to take the danger out of human relationships."

Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

A common sea

We are all islands - in a common sea.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Holding hands

The ultimate test of a relationship is to disagree but hold hands.

Alexander Penny

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Santorini, Greece - 2006

1. “Accursed be he who plays with the devil.”
2. “Against stupidity the very gods
Themselves contend in vain.”
3. “Ah, to that far distant strand
Bridge there was not to convey,
Not a bark was near at hand,
Yet true love soon found the way.”
4. “All the arts of pleasure grow when suckled by freedom.”
5. “An imitative creature is man; whoever is foremost, leads the herd.”
6. “As soon as I have begun to fear I have ceased to fear.”
7. “Eternity gives nothing back of what one leaves out of the minutes.”
8. “Far must thy reseaches go
Wouldst thou learn the world to know;
Thou must tempt the dark abyss
Wouldst thou prove what Being is;
Naught but firmness gains the prize,
Naught but fullness makes us wise,
Buried deep truth e'er lies.”
9. “Great souls suffer in silence.”
10. “His saying was: live and let live.”
11. “I feel that I am a man of destiny.”
12. “If you want to know yourself,
Just look how others do it;
If you want to understand others,
Look into your own heart.”
13. “I have enjoyed earthly happiness,
I have lived and loved.”
14. “I know that oft we tremble at an empty terror, but the false phantasm brings a real misery.”
15. “In the smallest cot there is room enough for a loving pair.” “It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.”
16. “I've lived and loved.”
17. “Keep true to the dreams of your youth.”
18. ”Life is not the supreme good, but the supreme evil is to realize one's guilt.”
19. “Life is only error,
And death is knowledge.”
20. “O jealousy! thou magnifier of trifles.”
21. “The game of life looks cheerful when one carries a treasure safe in his heart.”
22. “The heart's impulse is the voice of fate.”
23. “The lamp of genius burns quicker than the lamp of life.”
24. “The man who fears nothing is not less powerful than he who is feared by every one.”
25. “There is no such thing as chance; and what seem to us merest accident springs from the deepest source of destiny.”
26. “The universe is one of God's thoughts.”
27. “The very curse of an evil deed is that it must always continue to engender evil.”
28. “Thus Arm in Arm with thee I dare defy my century into the lists.”
29. “Time is man's angel.”
30. “'Tis not the mere stage of life but the part we play thereon that gives the value.”
31. “Whatever is not forbidden is permitted.”
32. "What is life without the radiance of love?"
33. “When the wine goes in, strange things come out.”
34. “Wouldst thou wisely, and with pleasure,
Pass the days of life's short measure,
From the slow one counsel take,
But a tool of him ne'er make;
Ne'er as friend the swift one know,
Nor the constant one as foe.”
35. “Would you know others? Read yourself -- and learn!”

All true histories

“All true histories contain instruction, though in some the treasure may be hard to find, and when found so trivial in quantity that the dry, shrivelled kernel scarcely compensates for the trouble of cracking the nut. Whether this be the case with my history or not, I am hardly competent to judge. I sometimes think it might prove useful to some, and entertaining to others; but the world may judge for itself. Shielded by my own obscurity, and bye the lapse of years, and a few fictitious names, I do not fear to venture, and will candidly lay before the public what I would not disclose to the most intimate friend.”

Anne Bronté

Dear imagination

“But it is true that one could not go very far. It is not just a matter of distance. Threats accumulate; one yields and abandons part of the terrain to be conquered. An imagination that accepted no bounds will be allowed to function only according to the laws of arbitrary utility. Unable to bear this inferior role for long, around his twentieth year it generally prefers to abandon a man to his sombre fate.

Though here and there he may later try to pull himself together, having felt that he is gradually losing all reason for living, incapable as he has become of rising to an exceptional situation such as love...he will hardly succeed. This is because from now on he belongs body and soul to an imperative practical necessity that he will not be allowed to lose sight of. All of his acts will lack scope, all of his ideas depth. From what happens to him and might happen to him, he will not only be able to imagine what links that event to a multitude of events like it, events he did not take part in, abortive events. That is, he will judge them in relation to one of these events, one with an outcome that is more reassuring than the others. On no account will he see in them his salvation.

Dear imagination, what I like about you most of all is that you are unforgiving.”

André Breton

What is passion?

”What is passion? It is surely the becoming of a person. Are we not, for the most of our lives, marking time? Most of our being is at rest, unlived. In passion, the body and the spirit seek expression outside of self. Passion is all that is other from self. Sex is only interesting when it releases passion. The more extreme and the more expressed that passion is, the more unbearable does life seem without it. It reminds us that if passion dies or is denied, we are partly dead and that soon, come what may, we will be wholly so.”

John Boorman

The night has a thousand eyes

“The night has a thousand eyes,
And the day but one;
Yet the light of the bright world dies
With the dying sun.
The mind has a thousand eyes,
And the heart but one:
Yet the light of a whole life dies
When love is done.”

Francis William Bourdilon

It is you and I

“Remember the long ago when we lay together
In a pain of tenderness and counted
Our dreams: long summer afternoons
When the whistling-thrush released
A deep sweet secret on the trembling air;
Blackbird on the wing, bird of the forest shadows,
Black rose in the long ago summer,
This was your song:
It isn't time that's passing by,
It is you and I.”

Ruskin Bond

Where you look

"You have to choose where you look, and in making that choice you eliminate entire worlds."

Barbara Bloom

Frogs and princes

“We are born princes and the civilizing process makes us frogs.”

Eric Berne


“No mind, however loving, could bear to see plainly into all the recesses of another mind.”

Arnold Bennett


“If your story is painful to write, it's also necessary to write.”

Michelle Barnett

The best stories

“But all the best stories...can be constantly retold. That's what we mean by classics....Not just updated, but retold so we can hear again and recycle, apply again to our lives with fresh eyes and ears, the essential insights and power that that tradition holds.”

Russell Banks

Soft sleep

“When to soft Sleep we give ourselves away,
And in a dream as in a fairy bark
Drift on and on through the enchanted dark
To purple daybreak--little thought we pay
To that sweet bitter world we know by day.”

Thomas Bailey

Half believed

“Who never doubted, never half believed.
Where doubt there truth is--'tis her shadow.”

Philip James Bailey


"Ah! How sweet coffee tastes! Lovelier than a thousand kisses, sweeter far than muscatel wine! I must have coffee..."

Johann Sebastian Bach


Believe in magnetism, not needles.


I might...

I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.

Bertrand Russell


"The important thing is not to stop questioning."

Albert Einstein

Friday, May 23, 2008

Paul Gauguin

Santorini, Greece - 2006

1. “A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes that he has got the biggest piece.”
2. ”Art is either plagiarism or revolution.”
3. "Art requires philosophy, just as philosophy requires art. Otherwise, what would become of beauty?"
4. “Civilization is paralysis.”
5. ”Civilization is what makes you sick.”
6. “Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge.”
7. “In art, all who have done something other than their predecessors have merited the epithet of revolutionary; and it is they alone who are masters.”
8. "Instrumental music as well as numbers are based on a unit. The entire musical system derives from this principle, and the ear has become used to all these divisions. The unit is established through the means of an instrument, yet you may choose some other basis and the tones, half-tones, and quarter-tones will follow each other. Outside of these you will have dissonance. The eye is used less than the ear to perceive these dissonances, but then divisions [of color] are more numerous, and for further complication there are several units.”
9. "In that respect the feeling of the colorist is exactly the natural harmony. Like singers, painters sometimes are out of tune, their eye has no harmony. Later there will be, through study, an entire method of harmony, unless people neglect it, as is done in the academies and most of the time also in studios. Indeed, the study of painting has been divided into two categories. One learns to draw first and then to paint, which means that one applies color within a pre-established contour, not unlike a statue that is painted after it is finished. I must admit that until now I have understood only one thing about this practice, namely that color is nothing but an accessory. I 'Sir, you must draw properly before painting"-this is said in a pedantic manner; but then, all great stupidities are said that way.”
10. "I shut my eyes in order to see."
11. "It takes intelligence and knowledge in order to judge a book. To judge painting and music requires special sensations of nature besides intelligence and artistic science; in a word, one has to be a born artist, and few are chosen among all those who are called. Any idea can be formulated, but not so the sensation of the heart. What efforts are not needed to master fear or a moment of enthusiasm! Is not love often instantaneous and nearly always blind? And to say that thought is called spirit, whereas the instincts, the nerves, and the heart are part of matter. What irony!”
12. ”It is the eye of ignorance that assigns a fixed and unchangeable color to every object; beware of this stumbling block.”
13. "I would like to write the way I do my paintings, that is, as fantasy takes me, as the moon dictates, and come up with a title long after."
14. “Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge.”
15. “Life has no meaning unless one lives it with a will, at least to the limit of one's will. Virtue, good, evil are nothing but words, unless one takes them apart in order to build something with them; they do not win their true meaning until one knows how to apply them.”
16. "Life is hardly more than a fraction of a second. Such a little time to prepare oneself for eternity!"
17. "Like literature, the art of painting tells whatever it wishes, with the advantage that the reader immediately knows the prelude, the setting, and the ending. Literature and music require an effort of memory for the appreciation of the whole; the last named is the most incomplete and the least powerful of arts.”
18. "On an instrument, you start from one tone. In painting you start from several. Thus, you begin with black and divide up to white-the first unit, the easiest and the most frequently used one, hence the best understood. But take as many units as there are colors in the rainbow, add those made up by composite colors, and you will reach a rather respectable number of units. What an accumulation of numbers, truly a Chinese puzzle! No wonder then that the colorist's science has been so little investigated by the painters and is so little understood by the public. Yet what richness of means to attain an intimate relationship with nature!”
19. "One must listen to them judging all human works. God has created man after his own image which, obviously, is flattering for man. "This work pleases me and is done exactly the way I should have conceived it." All art criticism is like that: to agree with the public, to seek a work after one's own image. Yes, gentlemen of letters, you are incapable of criticizing a work of art, be it even a book. Because you are already corrupt judges; you have beforehand a ready-made idea-that of the man of letters-and have too high an opinion of your own thoughts to examine those of others. You do not like blue, therefore you condemn all blue paintings. If you are a sensitive and melancholy poet, you want all compositions to be in a minor key. -Such a one likes graciousness and must have everything that way. Another one likes gaiety and does not understand a sonata.”
20. "Painting is the most beautiful of all arts. In it, all sensations are condensed; contemplating it, everyone can create a story at the will of his imagination and-with a single glance-have his soul invaded by the most profound recollections; no effort of memory, everything is summed up in one instant. -A complete art which sums up all the others and completes them. -Like music, it acts on the soul through the intermediary of the senses: harmonious colors correspond to the harmonies of sounds. But in painting a unity is obtained which is not possible in music, where the accords follow one another, so that the judgment experiences a continuous fatigue if it wants to reunite the end with the beginning. The ear is actually a sense inferior to the eye. The hearing can only grasp a single sound at a time, whereas the sight takes in everything and simultaneously simplifies it at will.”
21. "The combinations are unlimited. The mixture of colors produces a dirty tone. Any color alone is a crudity and does not exist in nature. Colors exist only in an apparent rainbow, but how well rich nature took care to show them to you side by side in an established and unalterable order, as if each color was born out of another!”
22. "The vaguest, the most undefinable, the most varied is precisely matter. Thought is a slave of sensations.”
23. "They reprove our colors which we put [unmixed] side by side. In this domain we are perforce victorious, since we are powerfully helped by nature which does not proceed otherwise. A green next to a red does not produce a reddish brown, like the mixture [of pigments], but two vibrating tones. If you put chrome yellow next to this red, you have three tones complementing each other and augmenting the intensity of the first tone: the green. Replace the yellow by a blue, you will find three different tones, though still vibrating through one another. If instead of the blue you apply a violet, the result will be a single tone, but a composite one, belonging to the reds.”
24. "We never really know what stupidity is until we have experimented on ourselves."
25. "You can dream freely when you listen to music as well as when looking at a painting. When you read a book, you are a slave of the author's thought. The author is obliged to address himself to the mind before he can impress the heart, and God knows how little power a reasoned sensation has. Sight alone produced an instantaneous impulse. But then, the men of letters alone are art-critics; they alone defend themselves before the public. Their introductions are always a justification of their work, as if really good work does not defend itself on its own.”
26. "You may describe a tempest with talent-you will never succeed in conveying to me the sensation of it.”


“By words the mind is winged.”


Philosophers and poets

"Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder."

St Thomas Aquinas

The world I create

“The world I create in writing compensates for what the real world does not give me.”

Gloria Anzaldua


“Blush, happy maiden, when you feel
The lips which press love's glowing seal;
But as the slow years darklier roll,
Grown wiser, the experienced soul
Will own as dearer far than they
The lips which kiss the tears away.”

Elizabeth Akers Allen


“A gray eye is a sly eye,
And roguish is a brown one;
Turn full upon me thy eye,--
Ah, how its wavelets drown one!
A blue eye is a true eye;
Mysterious is a dark one,
Which flashes like a spark-sun!
A black eye is the best one.”

William B. Alger


“In view of the fact that God limited the intelligence of man, it seems unfair that he did not also limit his stupidity.”

Dean Acheson


”Every word is there for a reason; every sentence builds the scene.”

Elfrieda Abbe


”Every great decision creates ripples--like a huge boulder dropped in a lake. The ripples merge, rebound off the banks in unforeseeable ways. The heavier the decision, the larger the waves, the more uncertain the consequences.”

Ben Aaronbvitch

Magic vase

Life is a magic vase filled to the brim; so made that you cannot dip into it nor draw from it; but it overflows into the hand that drops treasures into it - drop in malice and it overflows hate; drop in charity and it overflows love.

John Ruskin

Just in case

"Love your enemies just in case your friends turn out to be a bunch of bastards."

R.A. Dickson


The one thing your friends will never forgive you is your happiness.

Albert Camus

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thomas Merton

Santorini, Greece - 2006

1. “All nature is meant to make us think of paradise. Woods, fields, valleys, hills, the rivers and the sea, the clouds traveling across the sky, light and darkness, sun and stars, remind us that the world was first created as a paradise for the first Adam, and that in spite of his sin and ours, it will once again become a paradise when we are all risen from death in the second Adam. Heaven is even now mirrored in created things.”
2. “Anxiety is the mark of spiritual insecurity.”
3. “A purely mental life may be destructive if it leads us to substitute thought for life and ideas for actions. The activity proper to man is not purely mental because man is not just a disembodied mind. Our destiny is to live out what we think, because unless we live what we know, we do not even know it. It is only by making our knowledge part of ourselves, through action, that we enter into the reality that is signified by our concepts.”
4. “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”
5. " fires like jewels germinate deep in the stone heart of a Kaffir mountain, so now our gravity, our new-created deep desire burns in our life's mine like an undiscovered diamond..."
6. ”Avoid three kinds of Master:
Those who esteem only themselves, for their self-esteem is blindness;
Those who esteem only innovations, for their opinions are aimless, without meaning;
Those who esteem only what is established; their minds are little cells of ice.”
7. “Desert and void. The Uncreated is waste and emptiness to the creature. Not even sand. Not even stone. Not even darkness and night. A burning wilderness would at least be "something." It burns and is wild. But the Uncreated is no something. Waste. Emptiness, Total poverty of the Creator : yet from this poverty springs everything. The waste is inexhaustible. Infinite Zero. Everything comes from this desert. Nothing. Everything wants to return to it and cannot. For who can return "nowhere?" But for each of us there is a point of nowhereness in the middle of movement, a point of nothingness in the midst of being :the incomparable point of nothingness in the midst of being: the incomparable point, not to be discovered by insight. If you seek it you do not find it. If you stop seeking, it is there. But you must not turn to it. Once you become aware of yourself as seeker, you are lost. But if you are content to be lost you will be found without knowing it, precisely because you are lost, for you are, at last, nowhere.”
8. “Do not look for rest in any pleasure, because you were not created for pleasure: you were created for Joy. And if you do not know the difference between pleasure and joy you have not yet begun to live.”
9. “Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony. A daydream is an evasion.”
10. “How did it ever happen that, when the dregs of the world had collected inWestern Europe, when the Goths and the Franks and the Normans and the Lombards had mingled with the rot of old Rome to form a patchwork of hybrid races, all notable for ferocity, hatred, stupidity, craftiness, lust and brutality — how did it happen that from all this, there should come the Gregorian chant, cathedrals, the poems of Prudentius, the commentaries and histories of Bede, St. Augustine's _City of God_?”
11. “I can depend less and less on my own power and sense of direction...It is so strange to advance backwards and get where you are going in a totally unexpected way.”
12. “If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask what I am living for, in detail, and ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.”
13. “In the age when life on earth was full, no one paid any special attention to worthy men, nor did they single out the man of ability. Rulers were simply the highest branches on the tree, and the people were like deer in the woods. They were honest and righteous without realizing that they were "doing their duty." They loved each other and did not know that this was "love of neighbor." They deceived no one yet they did not know that they were "men to be trusted." They were reliable and did not know that this was "good faith." They live freely together giving and taking, and did not know that they were generous. For this reason their deeds have not been narrated. They made no history.”
14. “May God prevent us from becoming “right-thinking men;” That is to say men who agree perfectly with their own police.”
15. “Our real journey in life is interior;
It is a matter of growth, deepening,
and of an ever greater surrender
to the creative action of love and grace in our hearts.
Never was it more necessary to respond to that action.”
16. “Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.”
17. "Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present, and unless you look for it in the present you will never find it."
18. “The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”
19. “The biggest human temptation is. . . to settle for too little.”
20. “The logic of worldly success rests on a fallacy: the strange error that our perfection depends on the thoughts and opinions and applause of other men.”
21. “The most dangerous man in the world is the contemplative who is guided by nobody. He trusts his own visions. He obeys the attractions of an interior voice, but will not listen to other men. He identifies the will of God with anything that makes him feel, within his own heart, a big, warm, sweet interior glow. The sweeter and warmer the feeling, the more he is convinced of his own infallibility. And if the sheer force of his own self-confidence communicates itself to other people and gives them the impression that he really is a saint, such a man can wreck a whole city or a religious order or even a nation. The world is covered with scars that have been left in its flesh by visionaries like these.”
22. “The only way to make a man worthy of love is by loving him.”
23. “The purpose of a fish trap is to catch fish,
and when the fish are caught, the trap is forgotten.
The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits.
When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten.
The purpose of words is to convey ideas.
When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten.
Where can I find a man who has forgotten words?
He is the one I would like to talk to.”
24. “The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt.”
25. “We are too much like Pilate. We are always asking, "What is truth?" and then crucifying the truth that stands before our eyes.”
26. “We do not exist for ourselves...”
27. “We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest.”
28. “What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.”
29. ”When we are alone on a starlit night, when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children, when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet, Basho, we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash - at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the "newness," the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, all these provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.”


”What one approves,
another scorns,
and thus
his nature each discloses.
You find the rosebush
full of thorns,
I find the
thornbush full of roses.”

Arthur Guiterman


“Even bad books are books and therefore sacred.”

Günther Grass

The mind-body problem

“The mind-body problem was the obsession of most philosophers before this century’s crop discovered that it is, like all metaphysical questions, either meaningless or trivial. But I’ll never be convinced of that. It’s the essential problem of metaphysics, about both the world out there and the world in here. In fact, the dichotomy between the two worlds – the outer public place of bodies and the inner private one of minds – is exactly what it’s all about. Are both these realms real, and if so how do they fit together? Can one of them be absorbed into the other? The answer a philosopher gives determines the entire shape of metaphysics. Idealists reduce in the direction of mind, materialists in the direction of body, and dualist heroically assert the separate and equal reality of both. One after another of the great philosophical systems have attempted to untie the world-knot, pulling out some threads but leaving others impossibly entangled. What is the world? What am I? This is the mind-body problem.”

Rebecca Goldstein

A dream in my eyes

"I wake up in the morning with a dream in my eyes."

Allen Ginsberg

Setting up the stage

“We set up stage
for an amorous encounter
to enchant and be enchanted
hopping and jumping around
to catch the eye of the beloved
like birds mating
And we call it love
The beloved waits mystified
by all this hoopla ever so compassionate,
knowing his children, even on detour,
respond to his magnetic call home.”

Arnie Gerstein

Two elements

"The two elements the traveler first captures in the big city are extra human architecture and furious rhythm. Geometry and anguish. At first glance, the rhythm may be confused with gaiety, but when you look more closely at the mechanism of social life and the painful slavery of both men and machines, you see that it is nothing but a kind of typical, empty anguish that makes even crime and gangs forgivable means of escape."

Federico Garcia Lorca

A great poem

Re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem.

Walt Whitman

I shall keep singing!

"I shall keep singing!"
Emily Dickinson.

I shall keep singing!
Birds will pass me
On their way to Yellower Climes—
Each-with a Robin's expectation—
I—with my Redbreast—
And my Rhymes—
Late—when I take my place in summer—
But—I shall bring a fuller tune—
Vespers—are sweeter than Matins-Signor—
Morning—only the seed of Noon—


"I suppose every old scholar has had the experience of reading something in a book which was significant to him, but which he could never find again. Sure he is that he read it there, but no one else ever read it, nor can he find it again, though he buy the book and ransack every page."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Marcus Aurelius

"A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man aspires."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Adapt yourself to the things among which your lot has been cast and love sincerely the fellow creatures with whom destiny has ordained that you shall live."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Anything in any way beautiful derives its beauty from itself and asks nothing beyond itself. Praise is no part of it, for nothing is made worse or better by praise."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Because your own strength is unequal to the task, do not assume that it is beyond the powers of man; but if anything is within the powers and province of man, believe that it is within your own compass also."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Begin--to begin is half the work, let half still remain; again begin this, and thou wilt have finished."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things which exist; observe too the continuous spinning of the thread and the contexture of the web."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Death is a release from the impressions of the senses, and from desires that make us their puppets, and from the vagaries of the mind, and from the hard service of the flesh."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Despise not death, but welcome it, for nature wills it like all else."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Everything that exists is in a manner the seed of that which will be."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Everything that happens happens as it should, and if you observe carefully, you will find this to be so."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Execute every act of thy life as though it were thy last."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Forward, as occasion offers. Never look round to see whether any shall note it... Be satisfied with success in even the smallest matter, and think that even such a result is no trifle."
- Marcus Aurelius

"He who fears death either fears the loss of sensation or a different kind of sensation. But if thou shalt have no sensation, neither wilt thou feel any harm; and if thou shalt acquire another kind of sensation, thou wilt be a different kind of living being and thou wilt not cease to live."
- Marcus Aurelius

"It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Let it be your constant method to look into the design of people's actions, and see what they would be at, as often as it is practicable; and to make this custom the more significant, practice it first upon yourself."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Let men see, let them know, a real man, who lives as he was meant to live."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature's delight."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Natural ability without education has more often raised a man to glory and virtue than education without natural ability."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Nothing happens to any man that he is not formed by nature to bear."
- Marcus Aurelius

"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

"Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Observe constantly that all things take place by change, and accustom thyself to consider that the nature of the Universe loves nothing so much as to change the things which are, and to make new things like them."
- Marcus Aurelius

"Perhaps there are none more lazy, or more truly ignorant, than your everlasting readers."
- Marcus Aurelius


Jessamyn West

Santorini, Greece - 2006

1. “A broken bone can heal, but the wound a word opens can fester forever.”
2. “A rattlesnake that doesn't bite teaches you nothing.”
3. “A religious awakening which does not awaken the sleeper to love has roused him in vain.”
4. "A taste for irony has kept more hearts from breaking than a sense of humor, for it takes irony to appreciate the joke which is on oneself."
5. ”Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.”
6. “Groan and forget it.”
7. “If you like a book, maybe you'd better not meet the writer because she's only what's left over; most of her has gone into the book.”
8. “If you want a baby, have a new one. Don't baby the old one.”
9. “Irony in writing is a technique for increasing reader self-approval.”
10. “I seem to be the only person in the world who doesn't mind being pitied. If you love me, pity me.”
11. "It is very easy to forgive others their mistakes; it takes more grit and gumption to forgive them for having witnessed your own."
12. “I've done more harm by the falseness of trying to please than by the honesty of trying to hurt.”
13. “Memory is a magnet. It will pull to it and hold only material nature has designed it to attract.”
14. “Solitude, like a drug, can be addictive. The more you have it, the more you want it.”
15. “The conversation of two people remembering, if the memory is enjoyable to both, rocks on like music or lovemaking. There is a rhythm and a predictability to it that each anticipates and relishes.”
16. “The past is really almost as much a work of the imagination as the future.”
17. ”There is no royal path to good writing; and such paths as do exist do not lead through neat critical gardens, various as they are, but through the jungles of self, the world, and of craft.”
18. "To meet at all, one must open ones eyes to another; and there is no true conversation no matter how many words are spoken, unless the eye, unveiled and listening, opens itself to the other."
19. “We are each of us angels with only one wing, to fly we need only embrace each other.”
20. “We have all had the experience of finding that our reactions and perhaps even our deeds have denied beliefs we thought were ours.”
21. “We want the facts to fit the preconceptions. When they don't, it is easier to ignore the facts than to change the preconceptions.”
22. “What voice can equal the voices of solitude?”
23. “Writing fiction is an almost certain way of making a fool of yourself.”
24. “Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.”
25. “Writing is so difficult that I often feel that writers having had their hell on earth, will escape punishment hereafter.”
26. “Writing of the past is a resurrection; the past then lives in your words and you are free.”


“The butterfly’s attractiveness derives not only from colors and symmetry: deeper motives contribute to it. We would not think them so beautiful if they did not fly, or if they flew straight and briskly like bees, or if they stung, or above all if they did not enact the perturbing mystery of metamorphosis: the latter assumes in our eyes the value of a badly decoded message, a symbol, a sign.”

Primo Levi

Lex and lux

”Ex Occidente, lex
Ex Oriente, lux”

(From the West, law
From the East, light)

Latin Proverb


“Nothing, like something, happens anywhere.”

Phillip Larkin

Dark secrets

“LIFE has dark secrets; and the hearts are few
That treasure not some sorrow from the world--
A sorrow silent, gloomy, and unknown,
Yet colouring the future from the past.
We see the eye subdued, the practised smile,
The word well weighed before it pass the lip,
And know not of the misery within:
Yet there it works incessantly, and fears
The time to come; for time is terrible,
Avenging, and betraying.”

Elizabeth Letitia Landon

Whatever your name

“Whatever your name, Shiva, Vishnu, the genius who inspired Scherazade, savior of the Jains, the pure Buddha, lotus-born God, I am sick. The world is my disease, and You are the cure, You, you, you, you, you, you, you.”


A vague idea

"We know only that we are living in these bodies and have a vague idea, because we have heard it, and because our faith tells us so, that we possess souls. As to what good qualities there may be in our souls, or who dwells within them, or how precious they are, those are things which seldom consider and so we trouble little about carefully preserving the soul's beauty."

St Teresa of Avila

Within a dream

“They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.”

Ernest Dowson

With every goodbye you learn

“After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open,
With a the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And learn to build all your roads
On today because tomorrow's ground
Is too uncertain for plans, and futures have
A way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn that even sunshine
Burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate
Your own soul, instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure...
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth.
And you learn and learn...
With every goodbye you learn.”

Melissa Dent

Give me a book

“Give me a book that does my soul embrace
And makes simplicity a grace--
Language freely flowing, thoughts as free--
Such pleasing books more taketh me
Than all the modern works of art
That please mine eyes and not my heart.”

Margaret Denbo

Monday, May 19, 2008

Camille Paglia

Santorini, Greece - 2006

1. "All objects, all phases of culture are alive. They have voices. They speak of their history and interrelatedness. And they are all talking at once!"
2. "A woman simply is, but a man must become. Masculinity is risky and elusive. It is achieved by a revolt from woman, and it is confirmed only by other men. Manhood coerced into sensitivity is no manhood at all."
3. "Beauty is our weapon against nature; by it we make objects, giving them limit, symmetry, proportion. Beauty halts and freezes the melting flux of nature."
4. "Cats are autocrats of naked self-interest. They are both amoral and immoral, consciously breaking rules. Their ''evil'' look at such times is no human projection: the cat may be the only animal who savors the perverse or reflects upon it."
5. "Despite crime's omnipresence, things work in society, because biology compels it. Order eventually restores itself, by psychic equilibrium."
6. "I believe that history has shape, order, and meaning: that exceptional men, as much as economic forces, produce change; and that passé abstractions like beauty, nobility, and greatness have a shifting but continuing validity."
7. "In the theory of gender I began from zero. There is no masculine power or privilege I did not covet. But slowly, step by step, decade by decade, I was forced to acknowledge that even a woman of abnormal will cannot escape her hormonal identity."
8. "My thinking tends to be libertarian. That is, I oppose intrusions of the state into the private realm -- as in abortion, sodomy, prostitution, pornography, drug use, or suicide, all of which I would strongly defend as matters of free choice in a representative democracy."
9. "Out with stereotypes, feminism proclaims. But stereotypes are the west's stunning sexual personae, the vehicles of art's assault against nature. The moment there is imagination, there is myth."
10. "Popular culture is the new Babylon, into which so much art and intellect now flow. It is our imperial sex theater, supreme temple of the western eye. We live in the age of idols. The pagan past, never dead, flames again in our mystic hierarchies of stardom."
11. "Pornography is human imagination in tense theatrical action; its violations are a protest against the violations of our freedom by nature."
12. "Television is actually closer to reality than anything in books. The madness of TV is the madness of human life."
13. "There are no accidents, only nature throwing her weight around. Even the bomb merely releases energy that nature has put there. Nuclear war would be just a spark in the grandeur of space. Nor can radiation ''alter'' nature: she will absorb it all. After the bomb, nature will pick up the cards we have spilled, shuffle them, and begin her game again."
14. “There is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper.”
15. "There is no true expertise in the humanities without knowing all of the humanities. Art is a vast, ancient interconnected web-work, a fabricated tradition. Over-concentration on any one point is a distortion."
16. "The trauma of the Sixties persuaded me that my generation's egalitarianism was a sentimental error. I now see the hierarchical as both beautiful and necessary. Efficiency liberates; egalitarianism tangles, delays, blocks, deadens."
17. "You have to accept the fact that part of the sizzle of sex comes from the danger of sex. You can be overpowered."

You shall...

Santorini, Greece - 2006

"I. You shall love beauty, which is the shadow of God over the Universe.

II.There is no godless art. Although you love not the Creator, you shall bear witness to Him creating His likeness.

III.You shall create beauty not to excite the senses but to give sustenance to the soul.

IV. You shall never use beauty as a pretext for luxury and vanity but as a spiritual devotion.

V. You shall not seek beauty at carnival or fair or offer your work there, for beauty is virginal and is not to be found at carnival or fair.

VI. Beauty shall rise from your heart in song, and you shall be the first to be purified.

VII.The beauty you create shall be known as compassion and shall console the hearts of men.

VIII.You shall bring forth your work as a mother brings forth her child: out of the blood of your heart.

IX. Beauty shall not be an opiate that puts you to sleep but a strong wine that fires you to action, for if you fail to be a true man or a true woman, you will fail to be an artist.

X. Each act of creation shall leave you humble, for it is never as great as your dream and always inferior to that most marvelous dream of God which is Nature."

Gabriela Mistral


"Adventure was here. Adventure was there. Adventure was in picking up a posy dropped by a lady and offering it to an old gentleman who patted her head and gave her two-pence. Adventure was in gazing into pawnbrokers' windows, in riding in wagons when the carter smiled, in scuffling with apprentice boys, in hovering outside the bookshops, and when the bookseller was inside, tearing out the middle pages to read at home, for prospective purchasers never looked at anything but the beginning and the end."

Daphne du Maurier


“The earth speaks in magic, the magic of rainbows and waterfalls and frogs. It is the magic of interacting sunlight and air and water and soil creating a constantly shifting kaleidoscope of wondrous riches on our turning planet…”

Steve van Matre

The mind I love

“The mind I love must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody's fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.”

Katherine Mansfield

A steady light

“Is love a light for me? A steady light,
A lamp within whose pallid pool I dream
Over old love-books? Or is it a gleam,
A lantern coming towards me from afar
Down a dark mountain? Is my love a star?
Ah me!- so high above so coldly bright!
The fire dances. Is my love a fire
Leaping down the twilight muddy and bold?
Nay, I'd be frightened of him. I'm too cold
For quick and eager loving. There's a gold
Sheen on these flower petals as they fold
More truly mine, more like to my desire.
The flower petals fold. They are by the sun
Forgotten. In a shadowy wood they grow
Where the dark trees keep up a to-and-fro
Shadowy waving. Who will watch them shine
When I have dreamed my dream? Ah, darling mine,
Find them, gather them for me one by one.”

Katherine Mansfield

Don´t rain on my parade!

“Never allow anyone to rain on your parade and thus cast a pall of gloom and defeat on the entire day. Remember that no talent, no self-denial, no brains, no character, are required to set up in the fault-finding business. Nothing external can have any power over you unless you permit it. Your time is too precious to be sacrificed in wasted days combating the menial forces of hate, jealously, and envy. Guard your fragile life carefully. Only God can shape a flower, but any foolish child can pull it to pieces.”

Og Mandino

The world outside is a mirror

“The world outside is a mirror,
reflecting the

good & bad
joy & sorrow
laughter & tears

within me...

Some people are
difficult mirrors
to look into,

but you...

I look at you
and I see
all the beauty
inside of me.”

McWilliams, Peter

Feeling a thought

"Words make you think a thought.
Music makes you feel a feeling.
A song makes you feel a thought."

E.Y. Harbug (1898 - 1981)

A crammed drawer

"A safe but sometimes chilly way of recalling the past is to force open a crammed drawer. If you are searching for anything in particular you don't find it, but something falls out at the back that is often more interesting."

James Matthew Barrie

A symphony

No one imagines that a symphony is supposed to improve in quality as it goes along, or that the whole object of playing it is to reach the finale. The point of music is discovered in every moment of playing and listening to it. It is the same, I feel, with the greater part of our lives, and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them we may forget altogether to live them.

Alan Watts

Saturday, May 17, 2008


“Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the world we live in. when we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world." Dom Miguel Ruiz

“There are things which happen and leave no discernible trace, are not spoken or written of, though it would be very wrong to say that subsequent events go on indifferently, all the same, as though such things had never been.” A.S. Byatt, in Possession, Postscript

“It is possible, for a writer, to make, or remake at least, for a reader, the primary pleasures of eating,, or drinking, or looking on, or sex. Novels have their obligatory tour-de-force, the green-flecked gold omelette aux fines herbes, melting into buttery formlessness and tasting of summer, or the creamy human haunch, firm and warm, curved back to reveal a hot hollow, a crisping hair or two, the glimpsed sex. They do not habitually elaborate on the equally intense pleasure of reading. There are obvious reasons for this, the most obvious being the regressive nature of the pleasure, a mise-en-abîme even, where words draw attention to the power and delight of words, and so ad infinitum, thus making the imagination experience something papery and dry, narcissistic and yet disagreeably distanced, without the immediacy of sexual moisture or the scented garnet glow of good burgundy. And yet, nature such as Roland´s are at their most alert and heady when reading is violently yet steadily alive. (What amazing word “heady” is, en passant, suggesting both accute sensuous alertness and its opposite, the pleasure of the brain as opposed to the viscera – though each is implicated in the other, as we know very well, with both, when they are working.)


There are readings – of the same text – that are dutiful, readings that map and dissect, readings that hear a hustling of unheard sounds, that count grey pronouns for pleasure and instruction and for a time do not hear golden or apples. There are personal readings, that snatch for personal meanings, I am full of love, or disgust, or fear, I scan for love, or disgust, or fear. There are – believe it – impersonal readings – where the mind´s eye sees the lines move onwards and the mind´s ear hears them sing and sing.

Now and then there are readings which make the hairs on the neck, the non-existent pelt, stand on end and tremble, when every word burns and shines hard and clear and infinite and exact, like stones of fire, like points of stars in the dark – readings when the knowledge that we shall know the writing differently or better or satisfactorily, runs ahead of any capacity to say what we know, or how. In these readings, a sense that the text has appeared to be wholly new, never before seen, is followed, almost immediately, by the sense that it was always there, that we the readers, knew it was already there, and have always known it was as it was, though we have now for the first time recognized, become fully cognizant of, our knowledge.” A.S. Byatt, in Possession, Chapter 26.

“(…) Seven plays from Aeschylus, seven from Sophocles, nineteen from Euripedes, my lady! You should no more grieve for the rest than for a buckle lost from your first shoe, or for your lesson book which will be lost when you are old. We shed as we pick up, like travellers who must carry everything in their arms, and what we let fall will be picked up by those behind. The procession is very long and life is very short. We die on the march. But there is nothing outside the march so nothing can be lost to it. The missing plays of Sophocles will turn up piece by piece, or be written again in another language. Ancient cures for diseases will reveal themselves once more. Mathematical discoveries glimpsed and lost to view will have their time again. You do not suppose, my lady, that if all of Archimedes had been hiding in the great library of Alexandria, we would be at a loss for a corkscrew? I have no doubt that the improved steam-driven heat-engine which puts Mr. Noakes into an ecstasy that he and it and the modern age should all coincide, was described on papyrus. Steam and brass were not invented in Glasgow.” Tom Stoppard, in Arcadia.

“All the old stories, my cousin, will bear telling and telling again and again in different ways.” A.S. Byatt, in Possession, Chapter 19.

“Do you never have the sense that our metaphors eat up our world? I mean of course everything connects and connects – all the time – and I suppose one studies – I study – literature because all these connections seem both endlessly exciting and then in some sense dangerously powerful – as though we held a clue to the true nature of things?” A.S. Byatt, in Possession.