It is a lonely condition, yes, but it is always a better one than a gregarious tolerance for the way things are.Edward W. Said, Representations of the Intellectual
I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it calls itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use — silence, exile, and cunning.James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
The need to let suffering speak is a condition of all truth. For suffering is objectivity that weighs upon the subject; its most subjective experience, its expression, is objectively conveyed.Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics
If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
Of all that breathes and crawls across the earth,Homer, Odyssey (18.150-163)
our mother earth breeds nothing feebler than a man.
So long as the gods grant him power, spring in his knees,
he thinks he will never suffer affliction down the years.
But then, when the happy gods bring on the long hard times,
bear them he must, against his will, and steel his heart.
Our lives, our mood and mind as we pass across the earth
turn as the days turn . .
as the father or men and gods makes each day dawn.
I, too, seemed destined to be a man of fortune once
and a wild wicked swath I cut, indulged my lust for violence,
staking all on my father and my brothers.
Look at me now.
And so, I say, let no man be lawless all his life,
just take in peace what gifts the gods will send.
Philip Larkin, This Be The Verse
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.
Razors pain you;Dorothy Parker, Résumé
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.Pablo Neruda (translated by W. S. Merwin)
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.
If one was attacked as a Jew, one had to defend oneself as a Jew. Not as a German or a world citizen or an upholder of human rights.Hannah Arendt, Legendäres Gespräch mit Günter Gaus (28.10.1964)