Thursday, July 31, 2008

the incertitude of the void ...

“Why would a recurrent frustration the more depress him?

Because at the critical turningpoint of human existence he desired to amend many social conditions, the product of inequality and avarice and international animosity.

He believed then that human life was infinitely perfectible, eliminating these conditions?

There remained the generic conditions imposed by natural, as distinct from human law, as integral parts of the human whole: the necessity of destruction to procure alimentary sustenance: the painful character of the ultimate functions of separate existence, the agonies of birth and death: the monotonous menstruation of simian and (particularly) human females extending from the age of puberty to the menopause: inevitable accidents at sea, in mines and factories: certain very painful maladies and their resultant surgical operations, innate lunacy and congenital criminality, decimating epidemics: catastrophic cataclysms which make terror the basis of human mentality: seismic upheavals the epicentres of which are located in densely populated regions: the fact of vital growth, through convulsions of metamorphosis from infancy through maturity to decay.

Why did he desist from speculation?

Because it was a task for a superior intelligence to substitute other more acceptable phenomena in place of the less acceptable phenomena to be removed.

Did Stephen participate in his dejection?

He affirmed his significance as a conscious rational animal proceeding syllogistically from the known to the unknown and a conscious rational reagent between a micro- and a macrocosm ineluctably constructed upon the incertitude of the void.

Was this affirmation apprehended by Bloom?

Not verbally. Substantially.

What comforted his misapprehension?

That as a competent keyless citizen he had proceeded energetically from the unknown to the known through the incertitude of the void.”

(James Joyce, Ulysses.)


“His (Bloom's) logical conclusion, having weighed the matter and allowing for possible error?

... That it was a Utopia, there being no known method from the known to the unknown: an infinity, renderable equally finite by the suppositions probable apposition of one or more bodies equally of the same and of different magnitudes: a mobility of illusory forms immobilised in space, remobilised in air: a past which possibly had ceased to exist as a present before its future spectators had entered actual present existence.”

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

the grand Spider & the broken hieroglyphics of the stars

“Everything around us becomes part of us, infiltrates us in our carnal or vital sensation, and the web of the grand Spider subtly ties us to whatever is at hand, binding us in a light bed of slow death, where we rock in the wind. Everything is ourselves and we are everything, but of what use is it, if everything is nothing? A ray of sunlight, a cloud that a sudden shadow says is passing, a breeze that rises, the silence that continues when the breeze stops, one face or another, sometimes the unintentional laughter among women talking, and later the night where the broken hieroglyphics of the stars appear without any meaning.” (p. 49)

(Bernardo Soares / Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet. Trans. Alfred Mac Adam)

slave to freedom ...

“Slavery is the law of life, and there is no other law, because this law must be obeyed. No revolt is possible, nor is any refuge to be found from it. Some are born slaves, others become slaves, and to others slavery is given. Our cowardly love of freedom – which, if we did have it, would frighten us because of its strangeness and cause us to repudiate it – is the true sign of the weight of our slavery.” (p. 48)

(Bernardo Soares / Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet. Trans. Alfred Mac Adam)

the monotony of everything ...

“I’m having a day in which the monotony of everything weighs on me like going to jail. The monotony of everything is, nevertheless, nothing more than the monotony in me. Every face, even if it’s one we saw yesterday, is different today, since today is not yesterday. Every day is the day it is, and there was never another exactly the same in the world. Identity exists only in our soul – identity felt even if it is false with itself – for which reason everything resembles everything and becomes simple.” (p. 48)

(Bernardo Soares / Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet. Trans. Alfred Mac Adam)

on genius and wisdom ...

“The principal error of the literary imagination is to suppose that other people are like us and that they should feel as we do. But happily for humanity, every person is only who he is. To genius alone has been given the ability to be others.”

“If he had real wisdom, a man could enjoy the spectacle of the entire world from an easy chair, without knowing how to read, without speaking with anyone, not knowing how to be sad, merely by using his senses and his soul.” (p. 42)

(Bernardo Soares / Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet. Trans. Alfred Mac Adam)

Friday, July 25, 2008

(too) much learning ...

"Much learning means frequent exhaustion.
That's not so good as holding on to the mean."

(Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 5. Trans. Robert G Henricks)