Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gravity's Rainbow: Trains and War

A week later he’s in Z├╝rich, after a long passage by train. While the metal creatures in their solitude, days of snug and stable fog, pass the hours at mime, at playing molecules, imitating industrial synthesis as they are broken up, put together, coupled and recoupled, he dozes in and out of a hallucination of Alps, fogs, abysses, tunnels, bone-deep la-borings up impossible grades, cowbells in the darkness, in the morning green banks, smells of wet pasture, always out the windows an unshaven work crew on the way to repair some stretch of track, long waits in marshaling-yards whose rails run like layers of an onion cut end to end, gray and desolate places, nights of whistles, coupling, crashes, sidings, staring cows on the evening hillsides, army convoys waiting at the crossings as the train puffs by, never a clear sense of nationality anywhere, nor even of belligerent sides, only the War, a single damaged landscape, in which “neutral Switzerland” is a rather stuffy convention, observed but with as much sarcasm as “liberated France” or “totalitarian Germany,” “Fascist Spain,” and others. . . .

The War has been reconfiguring time and space into its own image. The track runs in different networks now. What appears to be destruction is really the shaping of railroad spaces to other purposes, intentions he can only, riding through it for the first time, begin to feel the leading edges of. . . .

Heart of Darkness

Droll thing life is — that mysterious arrangement of merciless logic for a futile purpose. The most you can hope from it is some knowledge of yourself — that comes too late — a crop of unextinguishable regrets. I have wrestled with death. It is the most unexciting contest you can imagine. It takes place in an impalpable grayness, with nothing underfoot, with nothing around, without spectators, without clamor, without glory, without the great desire of victory, without the great fear of defeat, in a sickly atmosphere of tepid skepticism, without much belief in your own right, and still less in that of your adversary. If such is the form of ultimate wisdom, then life is a greater riddle than some of us think it to be

Heart of Darkness

The earth seemed unearthly. We are accustomed to look upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there — there you could look at a thing monstrous and free. It was unearthly, and the men were, — No, they were not inhuman. Well, you know, that was the worst of it — this suspicion of their not being inhuman. It would come slowly to one. They howled, and leaped, and spun, and made horrid faces; but what thrilled you was just the thought of their humanity — like yours — the thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uprour. Ugly. Yes, it was ugly enough; but if you were man enough you would admit to youself that there was in you just the faintest trace of a response to the terrible frankness of that noise, a dim suspicion of there being a meaning in it which you — you so remote from the night of first ages — could comprehend. And why not? The mind of man is capable of anything — because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future. What was there after all? Joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, valour, rage — who can tell? — but truth — truth stripped of its cloak of time. Let the fool gape and shudder — the man knows, and can look on without a wink. But he must at least be as much of a man as these on the shore. He must meet that truth with his own true stuff — with his own inborn strength.

Heart of Darkness

He originated nothing, he could keep the routine going--that's all. But he was great. He was great by this little thing that it was impossible to tell what could control such a man. He never gave that secret away. Perhaps there was nothing within him. Such a suspicion made one pause --for out there there were no external checks.

LBJ on the Greek Civil War

Fuck your parliament and your constitution. America is an elephant. Cyprus is a flea. Greece is a flea. If these two fleas continue itching the elephant, they may just get whacked good ...We pay a lot of good American dollars to the Greeks, Mr. Ambassador. If your Prime Minister gives me talk about democracy, parliament and constitution, he, his parliament and his constitution may not last long...

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Ghazal

I am being accused of loving you, that is all
It is not an insult, but a praise, that is all

My heart is pleased at the words of the accusers
O my dearest dear, they say your name, that is all

For what I am ridiculed, it is not a crime
My heart's useless playtime, a failed love, that is all

I haven't lost hope, but just a fight, that is all
The night of suffering lengthens, but just a night, that is all

In the hand of time is not the rolling of my fate
In the hand of time roll just the days, that is all

A day will come for sure when I will see the truth
My beautiful beloved is behind a veil, that is all

The night is young, Faiz start saying a Ghazal
A storm of emotions is raging inside, that is all

Monday, November 1, 2010

One of the most pathetic aspects of human history is that every civilization expresses itself most pretentiously when the decay which leads its to death has already begun.