"...& when i say 'dying of love'" - qfwfq went on - "i mean something you have no idea of, because you think falling in
love has to signify falling in love with another person, or thing or what have you, in other words i'm here & what i'm
in love with is there, in short a relationship connected to the life of relationships, whereas i'm talking about the
times before i had established any relationships between myself & anything else, there was a cell & the cell
was me, & that was that. now we needn't wonder whether there were other cells around too, it doesn't matter,
there was the cell that was me & it was already quite an achievement, such a thing is more than enough
to fill one's life, & it's this very sense of fullness i want to talk to you about. i don't mean fullness
because of the protoplasm i had, because even if it had increased to a considerable degree it wasn't
anything exceptional, cells of course are full of protoplasm, what else could they be full of; no,
i'm talking about a sense of fullness that was, if you'll allow the expression, quote spiritual
unquote, namely the awareness that this cell was me, this sense of fullness, this fullness of
being aware was something that kept me awake nights, something that made me beside
myself, in other words the situation i mentioned before, i was 'dying of love.'"
Italo Calvino, Cosmicomics
"today americans are overcome not by the sense of endless possibility but by the banality of the social order they
have erected against it. having internalized the social restraints by means of which they formerly sought to
keep possibility within civilized limits, they feel themselves overwhelmed by an annihilating boredom, like
animals whose instincts have withered in captivity. a reversion to savagery threatens them so little that
they long precisely for a more vigorous instinctual existence. people nowadays complain of an inability
to feel. they cultivate more vivid experiences, seek to beat sluggish flesh to life, attempt to revive
jaded appetites. they condemn the superego & exalt the lost life of the senses. twentieth-century
people have erected so many psychological barriers against strong emotion, & have invested
those defenses with so much of the energy derived from forbidden impulse, that they
can no longer remember what it feels like to be inundated by desire. they tend,
rather, to be consumed with rage, which derives from defenses against desire
& gives rise in turn to new defenses against rage itself. outwardly bland,
submissive, & sociable, they seethe with an inner anger for which a dense,
overpopulated, bureaucratic society can devise few legitimate outlets"
Christopher Lasch, The Culture of Narcissism:
American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations
"when i think about how literally every feature or facet of modern life works if even inadvertantly to diminish any amount &
expression of some underlying human or natural spirit i just want to kms. its basically all gone. of course its still latent in
some ways, but recognizing it & embracing it appears completely foreign to most people. i dont think this is at all a bad
thing to do, & maybe im a bit misguided by melodrama, but the fact that we basically have to "teach" people to wonder
& be in awe of things fucks me up so much, because im convinced that everyone's meant to appear in the world in one
way or another predisposed to wonder, love, appreciate things, nature, life god etc. it feels like its been beaten out to
such a degree that disposition towards these things can only be understood & manifest in a highly diluted technical,
caricatured form. theres an underlying earnestness & authenticity to them thats lost in so many different ways,
under a thousand layers of pseudo profundity & media instilled archetypes. for example, i think you can in some
sense teach the appreciation of art. but even if this can surpass all these confounding obstacles & caricatures
(e.g. pretentious academic, museums & their history, cutlural media portrayal of pseudo obscurantists etc),
theres a sense in which its lost completely if it ever had to be taught, especially via theory & aesthetics.
theres this false sense of pride that everything can be grasped in this way, as if nothing spiritual in the
real sense could underlie things, that fucking disgusts me. this is even worse w things concerning the
appreciation of life in general. & i refuse to believe that me or anyone else is relatively unique in
this respect, that jsut some a predisposed towards these things, since there are glimpses of them
in everyone even if rarely. but you cant even communicate this to someone for whom it is foreign,
because all the words you use to do so just evaporate into thin air when you speak. theres too
many connotations preventing it from being communicated to them. & the whole point is
that it cant be appropriated by your language anyway, not perfectly at least, & so when
its beaten out so early & often from people theres a sense in which its totally lost
as theyre born into a world hostile to even the smallest amount of it. no i wont
elaborate this, because honestly if you get it you get it/feel it"
dream-realm, on Tumblr
"the impulse to water down feelings & consequently declare oneself "mature" is a
deadening, cheapening, & unethical approach to life. rationality, self-knowledge,
& clarity of mind are in no sense antithetical to intensity. & resisting
the latter is certainly not a good path to any of the former"
"... [l]ove isn't some kind of passive entertainment or fleeting hunger; love involves serious ontological reconfigurations.
or at least there's a thing that happens, when you grow to know a person, when that person is smart, creative, & kind,
when they can surprise you, see the same things you can see, & behave with either such compassion or regularity that
you can relax your shields around them, where they become qualitatively more real to you. almost as real as yourself.
where your mirror neurons jiggle & dance in tune with them, a ghost of them moving alongside you at all times
loving someone remakes yourself. but most importantly, even if that ghost fades to a silent unnoticed echo, the
impression left by the experience reshapes your ethical reality. you are not alone. tangibly. provably. there
are other minds. in a way impossible to ascertain merely kicking balls with the shrieking automatons on the
playground or banging one in a bathroom or being overcome with the novelty of a new automaton
with handsome hydraulics. & this implies an absolute ethical obligation."
William Gillis, Scarce Or Abundant,
Nothing About Love Should Be Casual
"at the end of Faust, Goethe was already asserting that "the eternal feminine takes us Above." i'm sorry, but i find such
statements rather obscene. love doesn't take me 'above' or indeed 'below.' it is an existential project: to construct
a world from a decentred point of view other than that of my mere impulse to survive or re-affirm my own identity
here, i am opposing 'construction' to 'experience.' when i lean on the shoulder of the woman i love, & can see, let's say, the
peace of twilight over a mountain landscape, gold-green fields, the shadow of trees, black-nosed sheep motionless behind hedges
& the sun about to disappear behind craggy peaks, & know - not from the expression on her face, but from within the world as
it is - that the woman i love is seeing the same world, & that this convergence is part of the world & that love constitutes
precisely, at that very moment, the paradox of an identical difference, then love exists, & promises to continue to exist.
the fact is she & i are now incorporated into this unique Subject, the Subject of love that views the panorama of
the world through the prism of our difference, so this world can be conceived, be born, & not simply represent
what fills my own individual gaze. love is always the possibility of being present at the birth of the world"
Alain Badiou, In Praise of Love
"there is no escape. you can't be a vagabond & an artist & still be a solid citizen, a wholesome, upstanding man.
you want to get drunk, so you have to accept the hangover. you say yes to the sunlight & pure fantasies, so you
have to say yes to the filth & the nausea. everything is within you, gold & mud, happiness & pain, the laughter
of childhood & the apprehension of death. say yes to everything, shirk nothing. don't try to lie to yourself.
you are not a solid citizen. you are not a Greek. you are not harmonious, or the master of yourself. you are
a bird in the storm. let it storm! let it drive you! how much have you lied! a thousand times, even in your
poems & books, you have played the harmonious man, the wise man, the happy, the enlightened man. in
the same way, men attacking in war have played heroes, while their bowels twitched. my God, what
a poor ape, what a fencer in the mirror man is- particularly the artist- particularly myself!"
"this is the ending where you finally find your way home & the ancient terror inside of you is stomped out for good"
Jonny Bolduc, Ending
"there is something uniquely convincing about the perceptions that occur to you when you are in love. they seem
truer than other perceptions, & more truly your own, won from reality at personal cost. greatest certainty is
felt about the beloved as necessary complement to you. your powers of imagination connive at this vision,
calling up possibilities from beyond the actual. all at once a self never known before, which now strikes
you as the true one, is coming into focus. a gust of godlikeness may pass through you & for an instant
a great many things look knowable, possible & present. then the edge asserts itself. you are not
a god. you are not that enlarged self. indeed, you are not even a whole self, as you now see"
Anne Carson, Eros the Bittersweet: An Essay; Logic at the Edge
Calvin reached over & took off her glasses. then he pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket & wiped her
tears. this gesture of tenderness undid her completely, & she put her head down on her knees & sobbed.
Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
For years I could not accept
the place I was in.
I felt I should be somewhere else.
A city, trees, human voices
lacked the quality of presence.
I would live by the hope of moving on.
Somewhere else there was a city of real presence,
of real trees and voices and friendship and love. - To Raja Rao, by Czeslaw Milosz
You who never arrived
in my arms, Beloved, who were lost
from the start,
I don't even know what songs
would please you. I have given up trying
to recognize you in the surging wave of the next
moment. All the immense
images in me - the far-off, deeply felt landscape,
cities, towers, and bridges, and un-
suspected turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were once
pulsing with the life of the gods -
all rise within me to mean
you, who forever elude me.
You, Beloved, who are all
the gardens I have ever gazed at,
longing. An open window
in a country house - and you almost
stepped out, pensive, to meet me. Streets that I chanced upon, -
you had just walked down them and vanished.
And sometimes, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and, startled, gave back
my too-sudden image. Who knows? perhaps the same
bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, separate, in the evening... - Rainer Maria Rilke
"thus it is that the lovers conspire to protect each other from the lethal destiny of their passion, either succeeding in this,
& relapsing into the wretched sanity of mutual affection, or compacting their fever to new scratch-patches of intensity"
during the early fall of her twenty-seventh year a passionate restlessness took possession of Alice. she could not bear to be in the company
of the drug clerk, & when, in the evening, he came to walk with her she sent him away. her mind became intensely active & when, weary
from the long hours of standing behind the counter in the store, she went home & crawled into bed, she could not sleep. with staring
eyes she looked into the darkness. her imagination, like a child awakened from long sleep, played about the room. deep within
her there was something that would not be cheated by phantasies & that demanded some definite answer from life
Alice took a pillow into her arms & held it tightly against her breasts. getting out of bed, she arranged a blanket so that in the darkness
it looked like a form lying between the sheets &, kneeling beside the bed, she caressed it, whispering words over & over, like a
refrain. "why doesn't something happen? why am i left here alone?" she muttered. although she sometimes thought of Ned
Currie, she no longer depended on him. her desire had grown vague. she did not want Ned Currie or any other man.
she wanted to be loved, to have something answer the call that was growing louder & louder within her
& then one night when it rained Alice had an adventure. it frightened & confused her. she had come home from the store at nine & found the house
empty. Bush Milton had gone off to town & her mother to the house of a neighbor. Alice went upstairs to her room & undressed in the darkness.
for a moment she stood by the window hearing the rain beat against the glass & then a strange desire took possession of her. without stopping
to think of what she intended to do, she ran downstairs through the dark house & out into the rain. as she stood on the little grass
plot before the house & felt the cold rain on her body a mad desire to run naked through the streets took possession of her
she thought that the rain would have some creative & wonderful effect on her body. not for years had she felt so full of youth & courage. she wanted
to leap & run, to cry out, to find some other lonely human & embrace him. on the brick sidewalk before the house a man stumbled homeward. Alice
started to run. a wild, desperate mood took possession of her. "what do i care who it is. he is alone, & i will go to him," she thought; & then without
stopping to consider the possible result of her madness, called softly. "wait!" she cried. "don't go away. whoever you are, you must wait"
the man on the sidewalk stopped & stood listening. he was an old man & somewhat deaf. putting his hand to his mouth, he shouted. "what? what say?" he called
Alice dropped to the ground & lay trembling. she was so frightened at the thought of what she had done that when the man had gone on his way she did not
dare get to her feet, but crawled on hands & knees through the grass to the house. when she got to her own room she bolted the door & drew her dressing
table across the doorway. her body shook as with a chill & her hands trembled so that she had difficulty getting into her nightdress. when she got into bed
she buried her face in the pillow & wept brokenheartedly. "what is the matter with me? i will do something dreadful if i am not careful," she thought,
& turning her face to the wall, began trying to force herself to face bravely the fact that many people must live & die alone, even in Winesburg
- Sherwood Anderson, Adventure, from Winesburg, Ohio
"the only evil or whatever that i've ever seen is the, firsthand, is the bureaucrat, you know what i mean? & i've been guilty of that, in
my own life, one time. to just say to somebody, 'If I made an exception in your case, i'd have to make an exception for everybody, so i'm
not gonna make an exception in your case,' that's the worst thing you can do, maybe, something like that, is not make an exception in their
case. you know, i'm isolated, & i've told you i think that's ridiculous but i've got an open door, you know what i mean? i've got an open
door, that people are welcome, welcome to come in, but uh, but yeah, giving, giving the benefit of the doubt, trying to listen
to people insofar as it's possible, you know- just really basic, ridiculous, unphilosophical stuff!
being a sweet dude! i like this idea- radical, right? we use the word 'radical' a lot, & this is an English thing, this is a States
thing, this is a genre film that i grew up on kinda thing, but in the movies, in the movie i was talking about, Bill & Ted, even,
they say 'Radical!' all the time, you know? so, it's this new sense of the word radical, as opposed to 'I'm a radical,' you know
what i mean? like, be a sweet dude, y- you know what i- it sounds really stupid & maybe it's totally unrigorous of me, but, it's,
being a sweet- Bill & Ted, they say 'Be excellent to each other, & party on,' you know what i'm sayi- but that's dangerous,
right, the 'party on,' like, go, you know, be complicit with the spectacle. but, 'Be excellent to each other'
it's this whole idea, like, we can get around our 'people are idiots' thing by blaming it all on inhumanity! do you know what i'm saying? i really
believe that, you know? it's not their fault, it's inhumanity's fault! you know, recognizing, uh- you know, these are giant questions that i haven't
even- you know, we'll have to reckon with for the rest of our lives or whatever, but, it's the best thing you can do... to walk out of the lecture
with the ten grand in your pocket, & at least, at least, i'm talking you've got ten grand in your pocket, go 'Okay. Jesus. There's no way- There's
no way that I can be adequate to this, this is humbling beyond anybody's capacity to fully integrate it. The first human being that comes up
& asks me for anything, I'm gonna give 'em a hundred euros.' just a hundred fuckin' euros! out of this ten thousand i just got
so- you know, something like- you know, maybe that's ridiculous, maybe that's a silly... thought, or something like that, but, it's a- trajectory that
isn't even, we don't even talk about, you know what i mean? like, let's talk about the, uhh, the graph of desire or something instead of, you know,
whether we should, you know, give the money we got in our pocket to the homeless guy, let's talk about, uh, the algebra of uh, you know what i mean?
of, uh, you know, the woman & the man & there's the phallic exception & the not the phallic exception, as opposed to... what should do with the ten
grand we have in our hand, i don't- you know- maybe- i- i don't like pragmatism! pragmatism is, it's boring, isn't it? pragmatic philosophy, i haven't
even read any of it, like 'how we ought to be in the world,' but the sweet dude thing, it like... goes beyond any of that, doesn't it?
to like, to do more than- uh, to be of service, to do more than you're required to, to act as if it all counts! that- as if it all will be counted,
& it will all be counted, this is the, stupid, messianic, vaguely even theist, uh- you know, with all apologies. i don't mean to lead with my
chin, i very much respect, with all my heart, this notion that it is a vulgarity, an obscenity beyond any comprehension, to evoke the divine
in the face of the atrocities that we've all witnessed. but, but nonetheless, you know, i can't shake the suspicion that it will all count,
do you know what i mean? or certainly that we should act as if it will all be counted. as if everything that wasn't counted
will be counted. as if there will not be a- you know, we ought to act is if there will be a, a fullness of time
weeping at the feet of the leper, you know, that moment in the St. Francis, uh, it's just- ah- you know, i see
something, you know... beyond all this ridiculous theology, very revolutionary in that moment, you
know what i mean? to, to do that, to, to 'reach out your hand to the one alone,' or whatever
like, it- & here i've got to refer to experience, here i've got to, like, not be, not play act at being a philosopher & say no, really, in my experience, in my
life, the only true happiness i've ever known, & i don't give a fuck what, you know, how they try to dismiss it away, is in that radical moment of charity,
do you know what i'm saying? in going above & beyond in that sense, in, uh, the crazy & the homeless & all that shit, like, you know, really doing
something for 'em, do you know what i mean? really, practically, in front of me, in my life, doing something in that sense, do you know what i mean?
this- you know, they do this, on the liberal talk shows in the States, we've got one channel that's just all the people like 'America's the best' &
'the terrorists are gonna get us' &, you know, 'the government wants to take away our guns,' & 'Obama is a socialist,' &- that's a bad word in the
United States, uh, & then the other channel is 'they're all just idiots,' & 'let's laugh at 'em & make fun of 'em,' & of course as radicals we reject all
that nonsense, uh... you know, you can talk to both of 'em! you really can, i mean, i got my buddies in my small town that i live in, obviously, they
really are, uh, are conservatives, in this sense, but you can... you know, 'i agree with you, man! i want limited government too, but how 'bout we
get rid of the government altogether,' you know what i'm saying? how about we, how about we do- you know what i mean? like, being- granting
people the benefit of the doubt in that way, uh, verifying your suspicions with them, inviting them to verify your suspicions with them
i- you know, it- it's just- that's the thing that's radical about charity, right? we're just gonna fuckin' blabber like this back & forth, 'is it this way, is
it that way,' is it the case that there's always gonna be the guy with the bowler hat that comes & smashes your crystal castle no matter what you do, no
matter how you try to speak with him, no matter how much you invite him, i- you know, yeah, it's all abstract nonsense, but, but then there's the moment
where you walk out of the lecture & uh.. maybe that doesn't give people- certain people joy, maybe it does really hurt 'em, but- & so- & so here i suppose
there is some kind of universal perspective, in that, i really do suppose- i- i just can't imagine a case where you wouldn't do that &, & not feel the miracle
of it, do you understand? that there's not anybody on Earth, uh, that- that would do something like that & not, & not, see that it was, that it
was, for lack of a better word, truly good, do you know what i mean? & feel that, do you know what i mean?
so i'm- i'm, invoking feeling & i'm invoki- i'm like, the most unthoughtful- & that's the thing about experience, right? invoking experience, is uh,
you're not allowed to do it, i guess, but, but that's the only true joy there is, i mean, this is why i think, in a certain way, the essential ethics of
the... of the Christianity or whatever, uh, mark an impasse for us, you know what i mean? to, to love others or whatever, i don't know
it's a really, really difficult question, it's really hard to approach in a thoughtful way because it's such- it's a question that... there's no precedent for, it's
a question that's been completely suspended. practical, uh, questions. day-to-day life, uh, how should we behave, walking around on the street, there's
no... they don't write about that shit. so all we're left with is the... is the people stupid enough to write about that shit, you know what i'm saying? &, uh,
they all say, uh, what- the same thing people have been saying for, you know, two thousand years. 'the thing you ought to do' is, is give everything
you have, you know what i mean? to, to love others, to give them the benefit of the doubt. the, uh, to seek to understand rather than to be
understood, to seek to bring light where there is darkness, to seek to console instead of to be consoled, you know what i mean?
this tired, ridiculous, old-fashioned, politically impotent ethical agenda... is still the best bet, or something
to hold oneself to that standard, if no one else, you know what i mean? only the 'first person' can say this. so, it- there's that weird thing in
Kierkegaard, like, you know, 'i can only worry about myself,' but is he saying we should all only worry about ourselves? 'let there be no ambiguity
about that, i can only do what i c-' do you know what i mean? what i can do for us, you know what i mean? i'm not saying you should do it, or you
should do it, or anybody else should do it. or that i should expect them to do it. i'm only saying this is for me, this is my suspicion - i invite
you to verify it with me, am i right in this suspicion? uh, but it's only what i can do, do you know what i'm saying?
uh, & yes, it's very likely that you will come across a Nazi thug, that would seem to be the case. the pig, the, disgusting, uh, doubled-chinned,
pig, who pulls the guy over & uh, the- the transg- the 'transgender' person over &, & fuckin' humiliates 'em & hassles 'em, & we got a television
show, in the United States, we call it 'Cops,' & it's all these guys & they just humiliate black people & humiliate- you know, that's all it is. have
you ever seen THX 1138 by George Lucas? it's his first film, before he did Star Wars. there's three tv channels in his dystopian future. one is
just a pig, beating a guy over & over again. the other one is just a pornographic channel of a woman, you know, dancing around. & the
other one is just two idiots making, uh, jokes with one another. & that's the three channels he has, you know what i mean?
& he just watch- it- so, yeah, we've got the channel of the pig. so it's very likely you'll meet the pig
uh. but, even in that case, by the standard i'm suggesting is the best one i know of, as ridiculous as it is, i'm supposed to... i'm supposed to try-
'really, man? you're gonna do this? you're gonna be that? you're gonna forsake your humanity, you're gonna forsake, in the name of inhumanity,
you're really gonna do this? you're really not gonna see me?' & of course, he- he really isn't. he really is gonna put the handcuffs on
& humiliate you, cause he can't make an exception in your case cause he'd have to make an excep- ... he really is, but uh,
what else can i do? i mean, i can't ask him to do anything else... there's still a possibility there of, uh, of, of...
i mean, you know, of the event, of this thing, of... uniting with them in an un-united thing, you know what i'm saying? of, approaching something where we
could- where we wouldn't- where there would be no 'one' that unites us all, you know what i mean? where we could undo that altogether & be the infinite
multiplicity that we are or whatever, there's a chance for that, of course, in every single thing we do, & so, in the situation where there is structural injustices
& the material abundance here & deprivation there, uh, when you actually do something concrete that uh, however small & however ineffectually- it's
like this, right? it's like this, if i can put it away: imagine we all just... we all just acted that way, we all just decided, 'you know, shit, i'm just
gonna give my fuckin' money away, i'm just gonna go-' do you know what i mean, 'i'm just gonna-' & we all just did that, you know,
we all just decided to do that. that would be... that would be it, wouldn't it? i mean, that would be all it would take
"Worst of all is that, having colonised almost every known corner of reality, capitalism convinces us that life itself is what's awful. Which would be so much
easier to believe, relinquishing us from the added strain of imagining what possibilities might lie beyond the existent. But some things can never be fully
ground down, some truths - physiological rather than intellectual - never quite forgotten. As children, everything was so different: we promised ourselves
we'd never become old, nor surrender our dreams. With the passing of time, though, those joyous days, in which all activity was but a modification of play,
somehow receded into the distant past. Hammered out of us by the banality of routine, & the violence of constant stress, that youthful wisdom - the unashamed
passion with which we approached every conceivable issue - slowly withered & died. As adults, most of us have totally forsaken the preciousness of life - not
merely our own lives as individuals, but also of life itself. Yet it can always be rediscovered. Lying within each of us is a dormant truth, something so terrible,
so revolutionary, that it threatens to demolish everything that makes the 21st century such a wretched affair: life is not merely something to get through."
Anonymous, Total Liberation
i do not accept evil. man is perfect. the soul does not fall. progress exists. ... up till now,
misfortune has been described in order to inspire terror & pity. i will describe happiness in
order to inspire their contraries. ... as long as my friends do not die, i will not speak of death
Comte de Lautreamont, Poesies