Quote of the Day 4.22.2016

Jimmy Baikovicius flickr Close-up Photo of Salvador Dali’s painting ‘The Persistence of Memory"
Jimmy Baikovicius flickr
Close-up Photo of Salvador Dali’s painting ‘The Persistence of Memory”

“I confess I do not believe in time.  I like to fold my magic carpet, after use, in such a way as to superimpose one part of the pattern upon another.  Let visitors trip.  And the highest enjoyment of timelessness―in a landscape selected at random―is when I stand among rare butterflies and their food plants.  This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain.  It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love.  A sense of oneness with sun and stone.  A thrill of gratitude to whom it may concern―to the contrapuntal genius of human fate or to tender ghosts humoring a lucky mortal.

        (Thus I can say), (l)et all of life be an unfettered howl.  Like the crowd greeting the gladiator.  Don’t stop to think, don’t interrupt the scream, exhale, release life’s rapture. …(Of course, this often leads to a need to use the Russian word, ‘toska’).  No single word in English renders all the shades of toska.  At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause.  At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning.  In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness.  At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.

(Naturally enough under such circumstances), (s)ome people—and I am one of them—hate happy ends.  We feel cheated.  Harm is the norm.  Doom should not jam.  The avalanche stopping in its tracks a few feet above the cowering village behaves not only unnaturally but unethically. …(In this vein), (l)iterature was not born the day when a boy crying ‘wolf, wolf’ came running out of the Neanderthal valley with a big gray wolf at his heels; literature was born on the day when a boy came crying ‘wolf, wolf,’ and there was no wolf behind him.
         (To take advantage of such beginnings), (a) writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist. …(After all), (l)ife is a great surprise.  I do not see why death should not be an even greater one.quantum physics science electromagnetic
         (Anomalously enough given these circumstances), I have often noticed that we are inclined to endow our friends with the stability of type that literary characters acquire in the reader’s mind. […] Whatever evolution this or that popular character has gone through between the book covers, his fate is fixed in our minds, and, similarly, we expect our friends to follow this or that logical and conventional pattern we have fixed for them.  Thus X will never compose the immortal music that would clash with the second-rate symphonies he has accustomed us to.  Y will never commit murder. Under no circumstances can Z ever betray us.  We have it all arranged in our minds, and the less often we see a particular person, the more satisfying it is to check how obediently he conforms to our notion of him every time we hear of him.  Any deviation in the fates we have ordained would strike us as not only anomalous but unethical.  We could prefer not to have known at all our neighbor, the retired hot-dog stand operator, if it turns out he has just produced the greatest book of poetry his age has seen.”   Vladimir Nabokov