The Immense Journey

«
We teach the past, we see farther backward into time than any race before us, but we stop at the present, or, at best, we project far into the future idealized versions of ourselves. All that long way behind us we see, perhaps inevitably, through human eyes alone. We see ourselves as the culmination and the end, and if we do indeed consider our passing, we think that sunlight will go with us and the earth be dark. We are the end. For us continents rose and fell, for us the waters and the air were mastered, for us the great living web has pulsated and grown more intricate.
To deny this, a man once told me, is to deny God. This puzzled me. I went back along the pathway to the marsh. I went, not in the past, not by the bones of dead things, not down the lost roadway of the Snout. I went instead in daylight, in the Now, to see if the door was still there, and to see what things passed through.
I found that the same experiments were brewing, that up out of that ancient well, fins were still scrambling toward the sunlight. They were small things, and which of them presaged the future I could not say. I was only that they were many and that they had solved the oxygen death in many marvelous ways, not always ours. (…) There lies the hope of life. The old ways are exploited and remain, but new things come, new senses try the unfamiliar air. There are small scuttlings and splashings in the dark, and out of it come the first croaking, illiterate voices of the things to be, just as man once croaked and dreamed darkly in that tiny vesicular forebrain.
Perpetually, now, we search and bicker and disagree. The eternal form eludes us – the shape we conceive as ours. Perhaps the old road through the marsh should tell us. We are one of many appearances of the thing called Life; we are not its perfect image, for it has no image except Life, and life is multitudinous and emergent in the stream of time.
»

Loren Eisely, “The Immense Journey”. New York: Random House, 1957, p. 57-59.

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Blaise Cendrars

«
‘Je suis un homme inquiet, dur vis à vis de soi-même, comme tous les solitaires.’ (…) Cendrars knows only the reality and honesty of the heart. His gestures, often rough and awkward, are nevertheless manly gestures. He never tries to please or to conciliate. He is the worst diplomat in the world, and consequently the best. He is not a realist, but real. (…) The world is one, the same in dream as in waking life. One plasma and one magma. Frontiers exist only for the timid ones, for the poor and the mean at heart. Cendrars  never uses the word ‘frontier’: he speaks of latitude and longitude. He inquires about the climate, or the nature of the soil, what do you use for food, and so on. He is almost frighteningly natural, almost inhumanly human. ‘L’action seule libère. Elle dénoue tout.’
»

Henry Miller, “Tribute to Blaise Cendrars”. In “the wisdom of the heart”. New York: New Directions, 1966, p. 151-153.

Hans Reichel

«
Every artist is a human being as well as painter, writer or musician; and never more so than when he is trying to justify himself as artist. As a human being Reichel almost brings tears to my eyes. Not merely because he is unrecognized (while thousands of lesser men are wallowing in fame), but first of all because when you enter his room, which is in a cheap hotel where he does his work, the sanctity of the place breaks you down. It is not quite a hovel, his little den, but it is perilously close to being one. You cast your eye about the room and you see that the walls are covered with his paintings. The paintings themselves are holy. This is a man, you cannot help thinking, who has never done anything for gain. This man had to do these things or die. This is a man who is desperate, and at the same time full of love. He is trying desperately to embrace the world with this love which nobody appreciates. And, finding himself alone, always alone and unacknowledged, he is filled with a black sorrow. (…)
He says to me, standing in his little hotel room: ‘I want that the pictures should look back at me; if I look at them and they don’t look at me too then they are no good.’ The remark came about because some one had observed that in all his pictures there was an eye, the cosmological eye, this person said. As I walked away from the hotel I was thinking that perhaps this ubiquitous eye was the vestigial organ of his love so deeply implanted into everything he looked at that it shone back at him out of the darkness of human insensitivity. More, that this eye had to be in everything he did or he would go mad. This eye had to be there in order to gnaw into men’s vitals, to get hold of them like a crab, and make them realize that Hans Reichel exists.
»

Henry Miller, “the cosmological eye”. In “the wisdom of the heart”. New York: New Directions, 1966, p. 64-65.

The dance

«
The art of living is based on rhythm, on give and take, ebb and flow, light and dark, life and death. By acceptance of all the aspects of life, good and bad, right and wrong, yours and mine, the static, defensive life, which is what most people are cursed with, is converted into a dance, ‘the dance of life’, as Havelock Ellis called it. The real function of the dance is – metamorphosis. One can dance to sorrow or to joy; one can even dance abstractly, as Helba Huara proved to the world. But the point is that, by the mere act of dancing, the elements which compose it are transformed; the dance is an end in itself, just like life. The acceptance of the situation, any situation, brings about a flow, a rhythmic impulse towards self-expression. To relax is, of course, the first thing a dancer has to learn. It is also the first thing a patient has to learn when he confronts the analyst. It is the first thing any one has to learn in order to live. It is extremely difficult, because it means surrender, full and unequivocal surrender.
»

Henry Miller, “the wisdom of the heart”. In “the wisdom of the heart”. New York: New Directions, 1966, p. 32-33.

Creative Death

«
Strange as it may seem today to say, the aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware. In this state of god-like awareness one sings; in this realm the world exists as poem. No why or wherefore, no direction, no goal, no striving, no evolving. Like the enigmatic Chinaman one is rapt by the everchanging spectacle of passing phenomena. This is the sublime, the a-moral state of the artist, he who lives only in the moment, the visionary moment of utter, far-seeing lucidity. Such clear, icy sanity that it seems like madness. By the force and power of the artist’s vision the static, synthetic whole which is called the world is destroyed. The artist gives back to us a vital, singing universe, alive in all its parts.
In a way the artist is always acting against the time-destiny movement. He is always a-historical. He accepts Time absolutely, as Whitman says, in the sense that any moment, every moment, may be the all; for the artist there is nothing but the present, the eternal here and now, the expanding infinite moment which is flame and song. And when he succeeds in establishing this criterion of passionate experience (which is what Lawrence meant by “obeying the Holy Ghost”) then, and only then, is he asserting his humanness. Then only does he live out his pattern as Man. Obedient to every urge – without distinction of morality, ethics, law, custom, etc. He opens himself to all influences – everything nourishes him. Everything is gravy to him, including what he does not understand – particularly what he does not understand.
»

Henry Miller, “Creative Death”. In “the wisdom of the heart”. New York: New Directions, 1966, p. 2-3.

O encontro

«
Estava mais escuro, ela não o via senão como uma sombra. Ele se apagava cada vez mais, escorregava-lhe por entre as mãos, morto no fundo do sono. E ela, solitária como o tic-tac de um relógio numa casa vazia. Esperava sentada sobre a cama, os olhos engrandecidos, o frio da madrugada próxima atravessando-lhe a camisa fina. Sozinha no mundo, esmagada pelo excesso de vida, sentindo a música vibrar alta demais para um corpo.
Mas a libertação veio e Joana tremeu ao seu impulso… Porque, branda e doce como um amanhecer num bosque, nasceu a inspiração… Então ela inventou o que deveria dizer. Os olhos fechados, entregue, disse baixinho palavras nascidas naquele instante, nunca antes ouvidas por alguém, ainda tenras da criação – brotos novos e frágeis. Eram menos que palavras, apenas sílabas soltas, sem sentido, mornas, que fluíam e se entrecruzavam, fecundavam-se, renasciam num só ser para desmembrarem-se em seguida, respirando, respirando…
Seus olhos se humedeceram de alegria suave e de gratidão. Falara… As palavras vindas de antes da linguagem, da fonte, da própria fonte. Aproximou-se dele, entregando-lhe sua alma e sentindo-se no entanto plena como se tivesse sorvido um mundo. Ela era como uma mulher.
As árvores escuras do jardim vigiavam secretamente o silêncio, ela bem sabia, bem sabia… Adormeceu.
»

Clarice Lispector, “Perto do Coração Selvagem”. Lisboa: Relógio D’Água, 2000, p. 137.

…O Banho…

«
Fascinada mergulho o corpo no fundo do poço, calo todas as suas fontes e sonâmbula sigo por outro caminho. – Analisar instante por instante, perceber o núcleo de cada coisa feita de tempo ou de espaço. Possuir cada momento, ligar a consciência a eles, como pequenos filamentos quase imperceptíveis mas fortes. É a vida? Mesmo assim ela me escaparia. Outro modo de captá-la seria viver. Mas o sonho é mais completo que a realidade, esta me afoga na inconsciência. O que importa afinal: viver ou saber que se está vivendo? – Palavras muito puras, gotas de cristal. Sinto a forma brilhante e húmida debatendo-se dentro de mim. Mas onde está o que quero dizer, onde está o que devo dizer? Inspirai-me, eu tenho quase tudo; eu tenho o contorno à espera da essência; é isso? – O que deve fazer alguém que não sabe o que fazer de si? Utilizar-se como corpo e alma em proveito do corpo e da alma? Ou transformar sua força em força alheia? Ou esperar que de si mesma nasça, como uma consequência, a solução? Nada posso dizer ainda dentro da forma. Tudo o que possuo está muito fundo dentro de mim. Um dia, depois de falar enfim, ainda terei do que viver? Ou tudo o que eu falasse estaria aquém e além da vida? – Tudo o que é forma de vida procuro afastar. Tento isolar-me para encontrar a vida em si mesma. No entanto apoiei-me demais no jogo que distrai e consola e quando dele me afasto, encontro-me bruscamente sem amparo. (…) Onde está a  imaginação? Ando sobre trilhos invisíveis. Prisão, liberdade. São essas as palavras que me ocorrem. No entanto não são as verdadeiras, únicas e insubstituíveis, sinto-o. Liberdade é pouco. O que desejo ainda não tem nome.
»

Clarice Lispector, “Perto do Coração Selvagem”. Lisboa: Relógio D’Água, 2000, p. 68-69.

O dia de Joana

«
Não acusar-me. Buscar a base do egoísmo: tudo o que não sou não pode me interessar, há impossibilidade de ser além do que se é – no entanto eu me ultrapasso mesmo sem o delírio, sou mais do que eu quase normalmente -; tenho um corpo e tudo o que eu fizer é continuação de meu começo; se a civilização dos Maias não me interessa é porque nada tenho dentro de mim que se possa unir aos seus baixos-relevos; aceito tudo o que vem de mim porque não tenho conhecimento das causas e é possível que esteja pisando no vital sem saber; é essa a minha maior humildade, adivinhava ela.
O pior é que ela poderia riscar tudo o que pensara. Seus pensamentos eram, depois de erguidos, estátuas no jardim e ela passava pelo jardim olhando e seguindo o seu caminho.
Estava alegre nesse dia, bonita também.
»

Clarice Lispector, “Perto do Coração Selvagem”. Lisboa: Relógio D’Água, 2000, p. 18-19.

Bluets 239-240

«
239. But now you are talking as if love were a consolation. Simone Weil warned otherwise. “Love is not a consolation,” she wrote. “It is light.”
240. All right then, let me try to rephrase. When I was alive, I aimed to be a student not of longing but of light.
»

Maggie Nelson, “Bluets”. Seattle: Wave Books, 2009, p. 95.

Bluets 13/14

«
13. At a job interview at a university, three men sitting across from me at a table. On my CV it says that I am currently working on a book about the color blue. I have been saying this for years without writing a word. It is, perhaps, my way of making my life feel “in progress” rather than a sleeve of ash falling off a lit cigarette. One of the men asks, Why blue? People ask me this question often. I never know how to respond. We don’t get to choose what or whom we love, I want to say. We just don’t get to choose.
14. I have enjoyed telling people that I am writing a book about blue without actually doing it. Mostly what happens in such cases is that people give you stories or leads or gifts, and then you can play with these things instead of with words. Over the past decade I have been given blue inks, paintings, postcards, dyes, bracelets, rocks, precious stones, watercolors, pigments, paperweights, goblets, and candies. I have been introduced to a man who had one of his front teeth replaced with lapis lazuli, solely because he loved the stone, and to another who worships blue so devoutly that he refuses to eat blue food and grows only blue and white flowers in his garden, which surrounds the blue ex-cathedral in which he lives. I have met a man who is the primary grower of organic indigo in the world, and another who sings Joni Mitchell’s Blue in heartbreaking drag, and another with the face of a derelict whose eyes literally leaked blue, and I called this one the prince of blue, which was, in fact, his name.
»

Maggie Nelson, “Bluets”. Seattle: Wave Books, 2009, p. 5-6.