Maggie Nelson, Bluets
238. I want you to know, if you ever read this, there was a time when I would rather have had you by my side than any one of these words; I would rather have had you by my side than all the blue in the world.
239. But now you are talking as if love were a consolation. Simone Weil warned otherwise. “Love is not 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.
How clearly I have seen my condition, yet how childishly I have acted. How clearly I still see it, and yet show no sign of improvement.Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther
For the heart, life is simple: it beats for as long as it can. Then it stops.Karl Ove Knausgård, My Struggle: Book One
Back then he was convinced that if he merely focused on what was going on inside of him, his heart would finally stop of its own accord. That if he intensely concentrated his feelings on one fixed point, like a lens focused on paper, bursting it into flames, his heart would suffer a fatal blow. More than anything he hoped for this. But months passed, and contrary to his expectation, his heart didn’t stop. The heart apparently doesn’t stop that easily.Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
Die Vermessung der Welt (2012)
Aber ich bezweifle, dass man an deiner Seite glücklich sein kann.
Du hast zu viel zu tun. Jemand wie du sollte nicht heiraten. Ich glaube, dass du Kraft und Leben aus den Menschen deiner Umgebung ziehsst wie die Erde aus der Sonne oder das Meer aus den Flüssen. Ich fühle mich geehrt und ich bin gerührt, und es kann auch sein, dass ich dich liebe, aber ich sage trotzdem Nein.
Mit einer Absage hab ich gerechnet, aber nicht mit so einer guten Begründung. Gedenken Sie meiner.
Fahren Sie weg?
Ich reise nach Königsberg. Ich muss jemanden aufsuchen. Es gibt zwei Arten,verstanden zu werden. Durch die wahre Liebe und durch die reine Vernunft.
I would not like to live in a world without cathedrals. I need the luster of their windows, their cool stillness, their imperious silence. I need the deluge of the organ and the sacred devotion of praying people. I need the holiness of words, the grandeur of great poetry. All that I need. But just as much I need the freedom and hostility against everything cruel. For one is nothing without the other. And no one may force me to choose.Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
What are we to do with our imaginations? Love them and believe in them to the point of having to destroy and falsify them (this is perhaps the meaning of Orson Welles’s films). But when, in the end, they reveal themselves to be empty and unfulfilled, when they show the nullity of which they are made, only then can we pay the price for their truth and understand that Dulcinea - whom we have saved - cannot love us.Giorgio Agamben, Profanations
If the canary doesn’t sing,Mahmoud Darwish, Tuesday And The Weather Is Clear
blame only yourself.
If the canary doesn’t sing
to you, my friend,
then sing to it… sing to it.
But the impotence one feels today—an impotence we should never consider permanent—does not excuse one from remaining true to oneself, nor does it excuse capitulation to the enemy, what ever mask he may wear. Whether the mask is labeled fascism, democracy, or dictatorship of the proletariat, our great adversary remains The Apparatus—the bureaucracy, the police, the military. Not the one facing us across the frontier or the battle lines, which is not so much our enemy as our brothers’ enemy, but the one that calls itself our protector and makes us its slaves. No matter what the circumstances, the worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this Apparatus, and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others.Simone Weil, Reflections on War
Outside now, the moon and stars are shining brightly on the snowy roofs, and making a silver track across the inky sea. I do so wonder what everyone is doing at home now.Patrick Leigh Fermor, The Broken Road