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November 30, 2007

the doctor and the patient

Some believe in God and a future life but with a weak belief. They say to themselves, “God is great and independent of us; our worship or abstinence from worship is a matter of entire indifference to Him.” Their state of mind is like that of a sick man who, when prescribed a certain regime by his doctor, should say, “Well, if I follow it or don’t follow it, what does it matter to the doctor?” It certainly does not matter to the doctor, but the patient may destroy himself by his disobedience.

Ghazali - The Alchemy of Happiness

Posted by amin at 2:01 PM

November 29, 2007

explaining a picture is impossible

All in all, art represents the need of one human being to communicate with another. By whatever means - each as good as another. In painting as in literature, one often confuses the means with the end. Nature is the means, not the end. If one can achieve something by changing nature, one must do it.

In an strongly emotional state of mind, a landscape will have a particular effect on me. By portraying this landscape, one will produce a painting which is affected by one's mood. This mood is the main thing. Nature is simply the means. Whether or not the painting looks like that landscape is besides the point. Explaining a picture is impossible. The very reason it has been painted is because it cannot be explained in any other way. One can simply give a slight inkling of the direction one has been working towards.

Edvard Munch

Posted by amin at 6:40 PM

November 28, 2007

poetry plus morality

I just reread some of Rouault's writings. Somehow his voice awakes in me an enchanting resonance. Not so much through what he says but somehow he opens the sources to reality of feeling and also the state of mind when it reaches certainty. He is free from professional polish. His phrases are of an archaic and biblical kind but the ecstasy is of the poet. He is not a religious man painting. He is a painter thinking religiously. Poetry, plus morality, means to him religion but in his writing there is more poetry than religion. I wonder if he ever suspected that there is no such thing as religious feeling? That it is the poetic expressed in terms of religious doctrine?

Josef Herman - The Journals

Posted by amin at 12:29 AM

November 27, 2007

flames and generosities of the heart

The one thing which we seek with insatiable desire is to forget ourselves, to be surprised out of our propriety, to lose our sempiternal memory, and to do something without knowing how or why; in short, to draw a new circle. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. The way of life is wonderful: it is by abandonment. The great moments of history are the facilities of performance through the strength of ideas, as the works of genius and religion. "A man," said Oliver Cromwell, "never rises so high as when he knows not whither he is going." Dreams and drunkenness, the use of opium and alcohol are the semblance and counterfeit of this oracular genius, and hence their dangerous attraction for men. For the like reason, they ask the aid of wild passions, as in gaming and war, to ape in some manner these flames and generosities of the heart.

Emerson - Circles

Posted by amin at 2:43 PM

character makes an overpowering present

The difference between talents and character is adroitness to keep the old and trodden round, and power and courage to make a new road to new and better goals. Character makes an overpowering present; a cheerful, determined hour, which fortifies all the company, by making them see that much is possible and excellent that was not thought of. Character dulls the impression of particular events. When we see the conqueror, we do not think much of any one battle or success. We see that we had exaggerated the difficulty. It was easy to him. The great man is not cojnvulsible or tormentable; events pass over him without much impression. People say sometimes, 'See what I have overcome; see how cheerful I am; see how completely I have triumphed over these black events.' Not if they still remind me of the black event. True conquest is the causing the calamity to fade and disappear, as an early cloud of insignificant result in a history so large and advancing.

Emerson - Circles

Posted by amin at 2:28 PM

truth is divine and helpful

I can know that truth is divine and helpful; but how it shall help me I can have no guess, for _so to be_ is the sole inlet of _so to know._ The new position of the advancing man has all the powers of the old, yet has them all new. It carries in its bosom all the energies of the past, yet is itself an exhalation of the morning. I cast away in this new moment all my once hoarded knowledge, as vacant and vain. Now, for the first time, seem I to know any thing rightly. The simplest words, — we do not know what they mean, except when we love and aspire.

Emerson - Circles

Posted by amin at 2:26 PM

let them behold truth

Whilst we converse with what is above us, we do not grow old, but grow young. Infancy, youth, receptive, aspiring, with religious eye looking upward, counts itself nothing, and abandons itself to the instruction flowing from all sides. But the man and woman of seventy assume to know all, they have outlived their hope, they renounce aspiration, accept the actual for the necessary, and talk down to the young. Let them, then, become organs of the Holy Ghost; let them be lovers; let them behold truth; and their eyes are uplifted, their wrinkles smoothed, they are perfumed again with hope and power. This old age ought not to creep on a human mind. In nature every moment is new; the past is always swallowed and forgotten; the coming only is sacred. Nothing is secure but life, transition, the energizing spirit. No love can be bound by oath or covenant to secure it against a higher love. No truth so sublime but it may be trivial to-morrow in the light of new thoughts. People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.

Emerson - Circles

Posted by amin at 2:21 PM

i unsettle all things

Let me remind the reader that I am only an experimenter. Do not set the least value on what I do, or the least discredit on what I do not, as if I pretended to settle any thing as true or false. I unsettle all things. No facts are to me sacred; none are profane; I simply experiment, an endless seeker, with no Past at my back.

Yet this incessant movement and progression which all things partake could never become sensible to us but by contrast to some principle of fixture or stability in the soul. Whilst the eternal generation of circles proceeds, the eternal generator abides. That central life is somewhat superior to creation, superior to knowledge and thought, and contains all its circles. For ever it labors to create a life and thought as large and excellent as itself; but in vain; for that which is made instructs how to make a better.

Emerson - Circles

Posted by amin at 2:16 PM

the highest prudence is the lowest prudence

The great man will not be prudent in the popular sense; all his prudence will be so much deduction from his grandeur. But it behooves each to see, when he sacrifices prudence, to what god he devotes it; if to ease and pleasure, he had better be prudent still; if to a great trust, he can well spare his mule and panniers who has a winged chariot instead. Geoffrey draws on his boots to go through the woods, that his feet may be safer from the bite of snakes; Aaron never thinks of such a peril. In many years neither is harmed by such an accident. Yet it seems to me, that, with every precaution you take against such an evil, you put yourself into the power of the evil. I suppose that the highest prudence is the lowest prudence. Is this too sudden a rushing from the center to the verge of our orbit? Think how many times we shall fall back into pitiful calculations before we take up our rest in the great sentiment, or make the verge of to-day the new center. Besides, your bravest sentiment is familiar to the humblest men. The poor and the low have their way of expressing the last facts of philosophy as well as you. "Blessed be nothing," and "the worse things are, the better they are," are proverbs which express the transcendentalism of common life.

Emerson - Circles

Posted by amin at 2:12 PM

a self-evolving circle

The key to every man is his thought. Sturdy and defying though he look, he has a helm which he obeys, which is the idea after which all his facts are classified. He can only be reformed by showing him a new idea which commands his own. The life of man is a self-evolving circle, which, from a ring imperceptibly small, rushes on all sides outwards to new and larger circles, and that without end. The extent to which this generation of circles, wheel without wheel, will go, depends on the force or truth of the individual soul. For it is the inert effort of each thought, having formed itself into a circular wave of circumstance, — as, for instance, an empire, rules of an art, a local usage, a religious rite, — to heap itself on that ridge, and to solidify and hem in the life. But if the soul is quick and strong, it bursts over that boundary on all sides, and expands another orbit on the great deep, which also runs up into a high wave, with attempt again to stop and to bind. But the heart refuses to be imprisoned; in its first and narrowest pulses, it already tends outward with a vast force, and to immense and innumerable expansions.

Emerson - Circles

Posted by amin at 2:07 PM


The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated without end. It is the highest emblem in the cipher of the world. St. Augustine described the nature of God as a circle whose center was everywhere, and its circumference nowhere. We are all our lifetime reading the copious sense of this first of forms. One moral we have already deduced, in considering the circular or compensatory character of every human action. Another analogy we shall now trace; that every action admits of being outdone. Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth, that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning; that there is always another dawn risen on mid-noon, and under every deep a lower deep opens.

Emerson - Circles

Posted by amin at 2:05 PM

November 26, 2007

the wine of imagination

All the argument and all the wisdom is not in the encyclopaedia, or the treatise on metaphysics, or the Body of Divinity, but in the sonnet or the play. In my daily work I incline to repeat my old steps, and do not believe in remedial force, in the power of change and reform. But some Petrarch or Ariosto, filled with the new wine of his imagination, writes me an ode or a brisk romance, full of daring thought and action. He smites and arouses me with his shrill tones, breaks up my whole chain of habits, and I open my eye on my own possibilities. He claps wings to the sides of all the solid old lumber of the world, and I am capable once more of choosing a straight path in theory and practice.

Emerson - Circles

Posted by amin at 1:58 PM

November 25, 2007

psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.

His going forth is from the end of the heaven,
and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul:
the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart:
the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever:
the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold:
sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Moreover by them is thy servant warned:
and in keeping of them there is great reward.

Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright,
and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart,
be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

The Old Testament

Posted by amin at 12:10 AM

November 24, 2007

the romantic temperament

In our days the word “romantic” is almost a slander. Yet the romantics were the first artists to put before us mood as idea, and, this is also significant, they knew that the mood-idea, is not a mere form-definition but a definition of our passions, of which the outward manifestation is more than one kind. The romantic temperament is distinguishable by the degree it is an emotional power response which colors the intellect-which has too often been interpreted as absent of intellect. The romantic temperament is distinguishable by the degree the mood becomes an idea, reasonable though not reasoned, reflective though not discursive. Art at its deepest is always romantic.

Josef Herman

Posted by amin at 12:07 AM

November 23, 2007

true vocation

People should be freed from heavy physical labor. We need to lighten their load and give them some breathing space, so that they don’t spend their entire lives by the stove, at the trough, or in the field, but have time to think about their souls, about God, and can develop spiritually. The greatest duty of any person with a spiritual life must be to keep searching for truth and for the meaning of life. Make all this physical labor unnecessary, give them a taste of freedom…As soon as people acknowledge their true vocation, it will be satisfied only by religion, science, or art, and certainly not by these petty things.

Chekhov - The House with the Mezzanine

Posted by amin at 10:38 PM

truth and beauty

The past, he realized, was linked to the present by an unbroken chain of events, which flowed from one into another. And it seemed to him that he had just seen both ends of this chain: he had touched one end and the other had moved.

And when he was crossing the river on the ferry, and then when he was walking up the hill, looking down at his own village and across to the west, where the gold crimson sunset was glowing in a narrow band, he realized that truth and beauty, which had guided human life in that garden and at the high priest’s, had continued to do so without a break until the present day, and had clearly always constituted the most important elements in human life, and on earth in general; and a feeling of youth, health, and strength – he was only twenty-two years old – and an inexpressibly sweet expectation of happiness, of unfathomable, mysterious happiness, gradually overcame him, and life seemed entrancing and miraculous to him, and full of sublime meaning.

Chekhov - The Student

Posted by amin at 10:36 PM

the goal of eternal life

‘But what is the goal of eternal life?’ asked Kovrin.
‘The experience of delight, like in any other life. True experience of delight comes from consciousness, and eternal life presents innumerable, endless sources for consciousness; that is what is meant by “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places”.’

Chekhov - The Black Monk

Posted by amin at 10:35 PM

a burning pain in my heart

I confessed my love for her, and with a burning pain in my heart I realized how unnecessary, petty, and deceptive everything which had got in the way of our love had been. I realized that when you love someone, your reasoning about that love should be based on what is supreme, on what is more important than happiness or unhappiness, sin or virtue, in the way that they are usually understood, otherwise it is not worth reasoning at all.

Chekhov - About Love

Posted by amin at 10:21 PM

November 22, 2007

it has always been and will always be so

And it is a good thing in winter to be deep in the snow, in the autumn deep in the yellow leaves, in summer among the ripe corn, in spring amid the grass; it is a good thing to be always with the mowers and the peasant girls, in summer with a big sky overhead, in winter by the fireside, and to feel that it has always been and will always be so.

Van Gogh

Posted by amin at 12:16 AM

November 21, 2007

the zen life

What is the Zen life? We can put it in a formula: Infinite gratitude towards all things past, infinite service to all things present, infinite responsibility to all things future.

Posted by amin at 10:02 AM

November 20, 2007

the aim of moral discipline

An exact philosophical knowledge of the spirit is not a necessary preliminary to walking in the path of religion, but comes rather as a result of self-discipline and perseverance in that path, as it is said in the Koran: “Those who strive in Our way, verily We will guide them to the right paths.”

For the carrying on of the spiritual warfare by which the knowledge of oneself and of God is to be obtained, the body maybe figured as a kingdom, the soul as its king, and the different senses and faculties as constituting an army. Reason may be called the prime minister, passion the revenue-collector, and anger the police officer.

The aim of moral discipline is to purify the heart from the rust of passion and resentment, till, like a clear mirror, it reflects the light of God.

Ghazali - The Alchemy of Happiness

Posted by amin at 11:59 PM

November 19, 2007

we are solitary

And to speak of solitude again, it becomes clearer and clearer that fundamentally this is nothing that one can choose or refrain from. We are solitary. We can delude ourselves about this and act as if it were not true. That is all. But how much better it is to recognize that we are alone; yes, even to begin from this realization. It will, of course, make us dizzy; for all points that our eyes used to rest on are taken away from us, there is no longer anything near us, and everything far away is infinitely far. A man taken out of his room and, almost without preparation or transition, placed on the heights of a great mountain range, would feel something like that: an unequalled insecurity, an abandonment to the nameless, would almost annihilate him… We must accept our reality as vastly as we possibly can; everything, even the unprecedented, must be possible within it. This is in the end the only kind of courage that is required of us: the courage to face the strangest, most unusual, most inexplicable experiences that can meet us. The fact that people have in this sense been cowardly has done infinite harm to life… We have no reason to harbor any mistrust against our world, for it is not against us. If it has terrors, they are our terrors; if it has abysses, these abysses belong to us; if there are dangers, we must try to love them. And if only we arrange our life in accordance with the principle which tells us that we must always trust in the difficult, then what now appears to us as the most alien will become our most intimate and trusted experience.

Rilke - Letters to a Young Poet

Posted by amin at 2:00 PM

November 18, 2007

a silence arises...

If only it were possible for us to see farther than our knowledge reaches, and even a little beyond the outworks of our presentiment, perhaps we would bear our sadnesses with greater trust than we have in our joys. For they are the moments when something new has entered us, something unknown; our feelings grow mute in shy embarrassment, everything in us withdraws, a silence arises, and the new experience, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it all and says nothing.

Rilke - Letters to a Young Poet

Posted by amin at 9:07 PM

November 17, 2007


What will you say this evening, poor solitary soul, what will you say, my heart, once-withered heart, to the most beautiful, the best, the dearest one, whose divine look has suddenly made you flower again?

We shall set our pride in singing her praises. Nothing equals the sweetness of her authority; her spiritual flesh has the scent of Angles, and her eye clothes us in a garment of light.

Be it in the night and in solitude, be it in the street and in multitude, her phantom dances in the air like a burning brand.

Sometimes it speaks and says: ‘I am beautiful, and I command that for love of me you love only the Beautiful; I am the guardian Angel, the Muse and the Madonna!’


Posted by amin at 5:02 PM

November 16, 2007

the full delight of existence

To have no regular work, no set sphere of activity-what a miserable thing it is! How often long travels undertaken for pleasure make a man downright unhappy; because the absence of anything that can be called occupation forces him, as it were, out of his right element. Effort, struggles with difficulties! That is as natural to a man as grubbing in the ground is to a mole. To have all his wants satisfied is something intolerable – the feeling of stagnation which comes from pleasures that last too long. To overcome difficulties is to experience the full delight of existence, no matter where the obstacles are encountered; whether in the affairs of life, in commerce or business; or in mental effort-the spirit of inquiry that tries to master its subject. There is always something pleasurable in the struggle and the victory.

Schopenhauer - Counsels and Maxims

Posted by amin at 1:28 PM

November 15, 2007

the genius lives a double life

Those are happiest of all who are conscious of the power to produce great works animated by some significant purpose: it gives a higher kind of interest-a sort of rare flavor- to the whole of their life, which, by its absence from the life of the ordinary man, makes it, in comparison, something very insipid. For richly endowed natures, life and the world have a special interest beyond the mere everyday personal interest which so many others share; and something higher than that-a formal interest. It is from life and the world that they get the material for their works; and as soon as they are freed from the pressure of personal needs, it is to the diligent collection of material that they devote their whole existence. So with their intellect: it is to some extent of a twofold character, and devoted partly to the ordinary affairs of every day – those matters of will which are common to them and the rest of mankind, and partly to their peculiar work – the pure and objective contemplation of existence. And while, on the stage of the world, most men play their little part and then pass away, the genius lives a double life, at once an actor and a spectator.

Schopenhauer - Counsels and Maxims

Posted by amin at 12:53 AM

November 14, 2007

we are all alchemists

Men of any worth or value soon come to see that they are in the hands of Fate, and gratefully submit to be molded by its teachings. They recognize that the fruit of life is experience and not happiness; they become accustomed and content to exchange hope for insight; and, in the end, they can say, with Petrarch, that all they care for is to learn.

It may even be that they to some extent still follow their old wishes and aims, trifling with them, as it were, for the sake of appearances; all the while really and seriously looking for nothing but instruction, a trait of something contemplative and sublime.

In their search for gold, the alchemists discovered other things – gunpowder, china, medicines, the laws of nature. There is a sense in which we are all alchemists.

Schopenhauer - Counsels and Maxims

Posted by amin at 10:37 PM

November 13, 2007

the sword of wisdom

Nothing on earth resembles wisdom
In its power to cleanse and purify;
And thus in time a man may find himself
Within himself, - a man perfected in spiritual exercise.

A man of faith, intent on wisdom,
His senses all restrained, will won wisdom;
And, wisdom won, he’ll come right soon
To perfect peace.

The man, unwise, devoid of faith.
Doubting at heart, must perish:
No part in this world has the man of doubt,
Nor in the next, nor yet in happiness.

Let a man in spiritual exercise all works renounce,
Let him by wisdom his doubts dispel,
Let him be himself and then
Whatever his works may be, they will never bind him more.

And so, take up the sword of wisdom, cut
This doubt of thine, unwisdom’s child,
Still lurking in thy heart:
Prepare for action now, stand up!


Posted by amin at 1:09 AM

November 12, 2007

solitude is difficult

Think, dear Sir, of the world that you carry inside you, and call this thinking whatever you want to: a remembering of your own childhood or a yearning toward a future of your own - only be attentive to what is arising within you, and place that above everything you perceive around you. What is happening on your innermost self is worthy of your entire love; somehow you must find a way to work at it, and not lose too much time or too much courage in clarifying your attitude toward people.

And you should not let yourself be confused in your solitude by the fact that there is something in you that wants to move out of it. This very wish, if you use it calmly and prudently and like a tool, will help you spread out your solitude over a great distance. Most people have (with the help of conventions) turned their solutions toward what is easy and toward the easiest side of the easy; but it is clear that we must trust in what is difficult; everything alive trusts in it, everything in Nature grows and defends itself any way it can and is spontaneously itself, tries to be itself at all costs and against all opposition. We know little, but that we must trust in what is difficult is a certainty that will never abandon us; it is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be one more reason for us to do it.

It is also good to love: because love is difficult. For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation.

Rilke - Letters to a Young Poet

Posted by amin at 11:51 AM

November 11, 2007

a book worth buying

A book which is worth buying ought to seek perfection in wisdom as well as in art. That is a perfect book which, pursuing a single theme from the beginning, arrives thereby at a logical conclusion; it neither omits any relevant point, nor includes the irrelevant; it conforms to the rules of rhetorical division; it offers some explanation of recondite matters and gives evidence of the fundamental principles on which its arguments is based; or it may be a work which accurately interprets a master of some art.

Cardan - Book of My Life

Posted by amin at 2:21 AM

November 10, 2007

the believer and the hypocrite

The believer is occupied with reflection and admonition while the hypocrite is occupied with envy and expectation. The believer is safe from everyone save God while the hypocrite fears everyone save God. The believer has no hope from anyone save God while the hypocrite has hopes from everyone save God. The believer sacrifices his wealth for religion while the hypocrite sacrifices his religion for wealth. The believer is always obedient and always weeping while the hypocrite is always sinning and always laughing. The believer prefers solitude and seclusion while the hypocrite prefers mixing and crowds. The believer always sows and fears that he will not reap while the hypocrite never sows and is ambitious to reap.

Ghazali - On Disciplining the Self

Posted by amin at 4:04 PM

November 9, 2007

the end of all disciplines

The end of all disciplines and the aim of all exertions is that a person reaches the Unity of God: that he sees it and nothing else, that he reads it and nothing else, that he be obedient to it and nothing else. In his inner being no other urge remains. When it is thus, a good character has been achieved. Indeed, one has passed over from the world of mankind and reached the true nature of God.

Ghazali - On Disciplining the Self

Posted by amin at 11:58 AM

November 8, 2007

spiritual happiness

Know that the heart is one thing and the body another. The heart is of the celestial world and the body of the visible world. However, even though the body is separate from the heart, nonetheless it has a connection with it; for each good act of the body a light attaches itself to the heart, while for from every bad act of the body a darkness attaches itself to the heart. That light is the seed of spiritual happiness and that darkness is the seed of spiritual misery. It is because of this connection that a person is brought to this world: in order that he make of his body a net and instrument to acquire the attributes of perfection for himself.

Know that the spiritual happiness of a human being is that one becomes of the nature of angles; for one’s essence is of them and one has come into this world a stranger. One’s source is the world of angles. Every foreign characteristic that one bears from here distances one from being in conformity with angles. When going to that place, one must become of their character and not carry any attributes from this place.

Ghazali - On Disciplining the Self

Posted by amin at 11:38 PM

November 7, 2007

good character

A person of good character is he who is modest, says little, causes little trouble, speaks the truth, seeks the good, worships much, has few faults, meddles little, desires the good for all, and does good works for all. He is compassionate, dignified, measured, patient, content, grateful, sympathetic, friendly, abstinent, and not greedy. He does not use foul language, nor does he exhibit haste, nor does he harbor hatred in his heart. He is not envious. He is candid, well-spoken, and his friendship and enmity, his anger and his pleasure are for the sake of God Most High and nothing more.

Ghazali - On Disciplining the Self

Posted by amin at 9:08 AM

November 6, 2007

the spiritual why

What goes under the name of Fine Art belongs to philosophy, sociology and morality. A picture is never a picture unless it is also something else – an atmosphere, a mood, a monologue turned into a dialogue in the sense that it is more than for one pair of eyes and one human spirit. Its place is on the wall but its reality is in the spiritual why. Why it has been created at all.

Josef Herman - Journals

Posted by amin at 12:24 AM

November 5, 2007

the true work of art

The nature of art is such that in art one single case stands for thousands, in that what art has in view with that careful and particular delineation of the individual is the revelation of the Idea of the genus to which it belongs; so that, e.g., an occurrence, a scene from human life depicted correctly and completely, that is to say with an exact delineation of the individuals involved in it, leads to a clear and profound knowledge of the Idea of humanity itself perceived from this or that aspect. For as the botanist plucks one single flower from the endless abundance of the plant world and then analyzes it so as to demonstrate to us the nature of the plant in general, so the poet selects a single scene, indeed sometimes no more than a single mood or sensation, from the endless confusion of ceaselessly active human life, in order to show us what the life and nature of man is.

The true work of art leads us from that which exists only once and never again, i.e. the individual, to that which exists perpetually and time and time again in innumerable manifestations, the pure form or Idea.

Schopenhauer - On Aesthetics

Posted by amin at 7:46 PM

November 4, 2007

intuitive knowledge

Only in the condition of pure knowledge, where will and its aims have been completely removed from man, but with them his individuality also, can that purely objective perception arise in which the (Platonic) Ideas of things will be comprehended. But such a perception must always precede the conception, i.e. the first, intuitive knowledge which afterwards constitutes the intrinsic material and kernel, as it were the soul of an authentic work of art or poem, or indeed of a genuine philosophy. The unpremeditated, unintentional, indeed in part unconscious and instinctive element which has always been remarked in works of genius owes its origin to precisely the fact that primal artistic knowledge is entirely separated from and independent of will, is will-less.

Schopenhauer - On Aesthetics

Posted by amin at 4:37 PM

November 3, 2007

bad luck

To lift such a heavy weight, Sisyphus, a man would need your courage.
Though we work with a good heart, Art is long and Time is fleeting.
Far from the tombs of the famous, towards a lonely graveyard, my heart,
Like a muffled drum, goes beating funeral marches.
Many a gem sleeps buried in dark forgetfulness, far, far from picks and plumb-lines;
Many a flower unwillingly looses its perfume, sweet as a secret, in deep solitudes.


Posted by amin at 12:39 PM

November 2, 2007

vast inner solitude

For what (you should ask yourself) would a solitude be that was not vast; there is only one solitude, and it is vast, heavy, difficult to bear, and almost everyone has hours when he would gladly exchange it for any kind of sociability, however trivial or cheap, for the tiniest outward agreement with the first person who comes along, the most unworthy. . . . But perhaps these are the very hours during which solitude grows; for its growing is painful as the growing of boys and sad as the beginning of spring. But that must not confuse you. What is necessary, after all, is only this: solitude, vast inner solitude. To walk inside yourself and meet no one for hours - that is what you must be able to attain. To be solitary as you were when you were a child, when the grown-ups walked around involved with matters that seemed large and important because they looked so busy and because you didn't understand a thing about what they were doing.

Rilke - Letters To A Young Poet

Posted by amin at 8:47 PM

November 1, 2007

forgotten nights of love

In one creative thought a thousand forgotten nights of love come to life again and fill it with majesty and exaltation. And those who come together in the nights and are entwined in rocking delight perform a solemn task and gather sweetness, depth, and strength for the song of some future poets, who will appear in order to say ecstasies that are unsayable. And they call forth the future; and even if they have made a mistake and embrace blindly, the future comes anyway, a new human being arises, and on the foundation of the accident that seems to be accomplished here, there awakens the law by which a strong, determined seed forces its way through to the egg cell that openly advances to meet it. Don't be confused by surfaces; in the depths everything becomes law. And those who live the mystery falsely and badly (and they are very many) lose it only for themselves and nevertheless pass it on like a sealed letter, without knowing it.

Rilke - Letters To A Young Poet

Posted by amin at 1:35 PM