« January 2007 | Main | March 2007 »

February 27, 2007

what liberty?

Liberty. What liberty? Equal liberty for everyone to do anything he wants within the limits of the law. When may you do anything you want to? When you have millions. Does liberty give each person a million? No. What is a person without a million? The person without a million is not the one who does anything he wants to but the one with whom they do anything they want.

It seems that they indeed offer the man a guarantee, promise to feed him and give him drink and to provide him with work, and for this they demand of him a little drop of his personal freedom for the sake of the general welfare, a very, very little drop. But no, a man does not want to live even according to these calculations, for even a little drop is hard for him to give up. In his foolishness it seems to him that this is a prison and that he is better off all by himself, because that way he is free. And in his freedom, you know, he is beaten, he is offered no work, he dies of hunger, and he has no freedom at all; and yet it seems to this odd fellow that he is better off with his freedom.

Dostoevsky - Winter Notes

Posted by amin at 12:34 AM

February 26, 2007

that thing inside each of us

When I was a kid, the only way that I saw movies was from the backseat of my family's car. At the drive-in. And, it wasn't my reality to think I would be acting in movies, so receiving this honor tonight tells me that it's possible. It is possible for a kid from east Texas, raised in South Central L.A. in Carson, who believes in his dreams, commits himself to them with his heart, to touch them, and to have them happen.

Because when I first started acting, it was because of my desire to connect to everyone. To that thing inside each of us. That light that I believe exists in all of us. Because acting for me is about believing in that connection and it's a connection so strong, it's a connection so deep, that we feel it. And through our combined belief, we can create a new reality.

And finally, I want to thank my mom and my dad. I want to thank my wife Keisha, my children, my ancestors, who continue to guide my steps. And God, God who believes in us all. And who's given me this moment, in this lifetime, that I will hopefully carry to the end of my lifetime into the next lifetime. Thank you.

Forest Whitaker - Acceptance Speech Oscar 2007

Posted by amin at 4:09 PM

February 22, 2007

rousseau, goethe, schopenhauer

There are three images of man which our modern age has set up one after the other and which will no doubt long inspire mortals to a transfiguration of their own lives: they are the man of Rousseau, the man of Goethe, and finally the man of Schopenhauer. Of course, the first image possesses the greatest fire and is sure of producing the greatest popular effect; the second is intended only for the few, for contemplative natures in the grand style, and is misunderstood by the crowd. The third demands contemplation only by the most active men; only they can regard it without harm to themselves, for it debilitates the contemplative and frightens away the crowd.

Nietzsche - Schopenhauer as Educator

Posted by amin at 12:14 AM

February 20, 2007

flower and perfume

Just as a flower which seems beautiful and has color but has no perfume, so are the fruitless words of the man who speaks them but does them not.

And just like a beautiful flower which has color and also has perfume are the beautiful fruitful words of the man who speaks and does what he says.

Not very far goes the perfume of flowers, even that of rose-bay or of sandalwood; but the perfume of the good reaches heaven, and it is the perfume supreme amongst the gods.

The Dhammapada

Posted by amin at 11:04 PM

February 18, 2007

respect and money

Formerly something besides money was acknowledged, so that a man without money but who had other qualities could count on at least some kind of respect; but now none at all. It is necessary to accumulate money and acquire as many things as possible, and only then can one count on any kind of respect. And not only the respect of others but even self-respect cannot be counted on in any other way.

Stealing is vile, base-for this it’s the galleys; the bourgeois is prepared to forgive a great deal, but he will not forgive stealing, even if you or your children are dying of hunger. But if you steal for the sake of virtue, oh, then everything is completely forgiven. For you simply want to faire fortune and accumulate many things, that is, fulfill the duty of nature and humanity. That is why the points on stealing for a base purpose, that is, for a crust of bread, and on stealing for a lofty virtue are clearly defined in the code. The latter is protected to the utmost, encouraged, and unusually solidly organized.

Dostoevsky - Winter Notes

Posted by amin at 6:43 PM

February 16, 2007

dostoevsky on memories

Memories, whether joyful or bitter, are always a torment; for me, at least; but even this torment is a delight. And when your heart begins to feel heavy, painful, sad, then memories refresh and enliven it, as the dewdrops on a moist evening at the end of a hot day refresh and enliven a poor, sorry flower that has been burnt in the day’s heat.

I felt really well, really at ease, but at my very best moments I’m always sad for some reason. And the fact that I cried, that’s nothing at all; I don’t even know myself why I’m always crying. I feel things painfully, irritably; my impressions are morbid.

Dostoevsky - Poor People

Posted by amin at 7:57 PM

February 13, 2007

it's just there

I don't have to work very hard at it. It's just there. It's always been right there. I figure everybody's got a gift for some kind of thing that they really like to do. And as long as they keep doing it, and they're true to whatever that is, what they really like to do-and it's sufficient-then as you go on, I mean I know in my case, I learn more and more about it. I consider myself just still at the beginning.

Bob Dylan

Posted by amin at 10:23 PM

February 12, 2007

amore fati

My formula for greatness in a human being is amore fati: that one wants nothing other than it is, not in the future, not in the past, not in all eternity. Not merely to endure that which happens of necessity, still less to dissemble it-all idealism is untruthfulness in the face of necessity-but to love it...

I climbed, I climbed, I dreamed, I thought, but everything oppressed me. I was like a sick man wearied by his sore torment and reawakened from sleep by a worse dream. But there is something in me that I call courage: it has always destroyed every discouragement in me.

Affirmation of life even in its strangest and sternest problems; the will to life rejoicing in its own inexhaustibility through the sacrifice of its highest types. Not so as to get rid of pity and terror, not so as to purify oneself of a dangerous emotion through its vehement discharge-it was thus Aristotle misunderstood it-: but, beyond pity and terror, to realize in oneself the eternal joy of becoming-that joy which also encompasses joy in destruction


Posted by amin at 12:05 AM

February 8, 2007

for the love of god

It’s torture to hear ‘for the love of God’ and pass by, and not give anything, and say to him ‘god will give to you.’ Another ‘for the love of god’ is nothing in comparison. One is long, drawn-out, habitual, memorized, quite beggarly; it’s not such a torture not to give to this one, this is a long-term beggar who’s been doing it for ages, a beggar by trade, this one is used to it, you think, he’ll survive and knows how to survive. Yet another ‘for the love of God’ is unaccustomed, crude, frightening-just like today, when I was about to take the boy’s note, there was someone standing right there by the fence, and he wasn’t asking everyone, he says to me: ‘Give me a coin, sir, for the love of God!’- and in such an abrupt, crude voice that some dreadful feeling made me shudder, but I didn’t give him a coin: I didn’t have one. And rich people don’t like it either when poor men complain about their hard lot- ‘they’re a nuisance’, they say, ‘they’re importunate’ -and poverty is always importunate: do their hungry groans stop them sleeping, or something?

Dostoevsky - Poor People

Posted by amin at 12:16 AM

February 6, 2007

ivan the fool

Why does everything happen in such a way that a good person is in desolation, while happiness comes of its own accord to somebody else? I know my dear, I know it’s not a good thing to think like this, that it’s free thinking; but in sincerity, to tell the whole truth, why has the crow of fate croaked out a prophecy of happiness for one while he’s still in his mother’s womb, while another comes out into the world from the orphanage? And you know, it often happens that Ivan the Fool is the one that gets happiness. “Ivan the Fool, you rummage in your grandfather’s sacks, drink, eat, have fun, whereas you, you so-and-so, you just lick your lips; that’s all you’re good for, that’s the way you are, brother.” It’s a sin, my dear, it’s a sin to think like this, but sin comes into your heart here somehow, like it or not.

Dostoevsky - Poor People

Posted by amin at 11:57 PM

February 4, 2007

creation is the beauty of life

Ethics are logical. Aesthetics are mystical. Beauty is the connection between the visible and invisible worlds. Seeing is believing. Beauty is all the religion I need. It's proof of the divine. It makes me want to encourage the best in people and restore the planet to tip-top condition. It makes me want to get out of bed in the morning, and if I'm lucky, it makes me want to get in bed at night.

That's divine, they say, admiring something beautiful. And if it is truly beautiful, it does partake of divinity. Creation is the beauty of life.

Ancient religions were clearly devoted to beauty, but in our commercial, image-built world we sometimes lose the ability to see the connections among beauty and the sublime and the transcendental. In America, under the glare of televangelism, it's sometimes difficult to remember that Christianity had origins in beauty, but a walk through the right cathedral or museum will make most souls come to their senses.

Glenn O'Brien

Posted by amin at 2:39 PM