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May 28, 2008

consolation or desolation

If a man was in an ecstasy, as Saint Paul was, and knew that some sick man needed him to give him a bit of soup, I should think it far better if he would abandon his ecstasy out of love and show greater love in caring for the other in his need.

Nor should a man think that in doing so he will be deprived of grace, for whatever he willingly abandons out of love will become a much greater reward for him...For whatever a man would gladly have that he relinquishes and goes without for God's love, be it something material or spiritual, he will find all of it in God, just as if he had possessed it and had willingly abandoned it; for a man ought gladly to be robbed of all that he has for the love of God, and out of love he should wholly abandon and deny love's consolations.

But you must know that God's friends are never without consolation, for whatever God wills is for them the greatest consolation of all, whether it be consolation or desolation.

Meister Eckhart - Counsels on Discernment

Posted by amin at 10:49 AM

May 26, 2008

pure direction of the heart

Property is poverty and fear; only to have possessed something and to have let go of it means carefree ownership!


Be out of sync with your time for just one day, and you will see how much eternity you contain within.


One ought to turn the most extreme possibility inside oneself into the measure for one's life, for our life is vast and can accommodate as much future as we are able to carry.


It is, after all, one strength within the human with which we achieve everything, a single steadfastness and pure direction of the heart. Whoever possesses that strength ought not to lose himself to fear.


Posted by amin at 6:53 PM

May 23, 2008

unfamiliar paths littered with a thousand abysses

Preaching morals is as easy as finding grounds for them is difficult.


With what kind of lantern would one have to search here for men capable of inward contemplation and an undivided devotion to the genius and possessing the strength and courage to conjure up demons which have deserted our age!


Stiff and timid steps will get no one along unfamiliar paths littered with a thousand abysses: the genius, however, runs nimbly along such paths with daring or elegant strides and disdains cautiously to measure his steps.

Nietzsche - David Strauss, the confessor and the writer

Posted by amin at 1:10 AM

an instantaneous photo

I aimed at capturing the magic of appearances in pictures, yet I did not always succeed in portraying things so that their underlying meaning revealed itself. It turned out that the pictures I took spontaneously, and with a blisslike sensation, as if they had long inhabited my unconscious, were often more powerful than those I had painstakingly composed – so that I grasped their magic as it were in passing.

An instantaneous photo that picks a moment out of a process is only aesthetically satisfying when it symbolizes the entire process.

Herbert List

Posted by amin at 1:05 AM

May 19, 2008

be thou my vision

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Nought be all else to me, save that Thy art;
Thou my best thought, by day and night-
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true word-
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son-
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battleshield, my sword for the fight
Be Thou my armour and be Thou my might
Thou my soul's shelter, and Thy my high tower
Raise Thou me heavenwards, O power of my power

Riches I need not, nor man's empty praise-
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart-
High king of heaven, my treasure Thou art.

High king of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heav'n Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

Van Morrison

Posted by amin at 11:32 PM

May 17, 2008

beam of spiritual light

Perhaps He will at times send out a beam of spiritual light, piercing this cloud of unknowing that is between you and him, and show you some of his mysteries, of which human beings are not permitted or able to speak. Then you will sense your feelings aflame with the fire of his love, far more than I can, may, or will tell you at this time. For of the work that belongs to God alone I dare not take it upon me to speak with my blabbering fleshy tongue; and, to put it briefly, even though I dared, I would not.

The Cloud of Unknowing

Posted by amin at 12:38 AM

perfect humility

Whoever you may be who truly turn from the world to God, trust faithfully that, without any concern on your part, God will send you one of two things: either abundance of necessities, or the strength of body and endurance ofspirit to suffer need. Why should you care which of these you have? - because for true contemplatives it is all the same.

To those who have perfect humility, nothing shall be lacking, either in body or in spirit; because they have God, in whom is all plenty; and whoever has him - and that is the lesson of this book - needs nothing else in this life.

The Cloud of Unknowing

Posted by amin at 12:34 AM

May 11, 2008

i shall meet him with courage

I joyfully hasten to meet Death. If he comes before I have had the opportunity of developing all my artistic powers, then, notwithstanding my cruel fate, he will come too early for me, and I should wish for him at a more distant period; but even then I shall be content, for his advent will release me from a state of endless suffering. Come when he may, I shall meet him with courage. Farewell!


Posted by amin at 11:55 PM

virtue and art

Recommend Virtue to your children; that alone, and not wealth, can ensure happiness. I speak from experience. It was Virtue alone which sustained me in my misery; I have to thank her and Art for not having ended my life by suicide.


Posted by amin at 11:54 PM

the ranks of estimable artists and men

God looks into my heart, He searches it, and knows that love for man and feelings of benevolence have their abode there! Oh! ye who may one day read this, think that you have done me injustice, and let any one similarly afflicted be consoled, by finding one like himself, who, in defiance of all the obstacles of Nature, has done all in his power to be included in the ranks of estimable artists and men.


Posted by amin at 11:52 PM

art alone deterred me

What humiliation when any one beside me heard a flute in the far distance, while I heard nothing, or when others heard a shepherd singing, and I still heard nothing! Such things brought me to the verge of desperation, and wellnigh caused me to put an end to my life. Art! art alone, deterred me. Ah! How could I possibly quit the world before bringing forth all that I felt it was my vocation to produce? And thus I spared this miserable life—so utterly miserable that any sudden change may reduce me at any moment from my best condition into the worst. It is decreed that I must now choose Patience for my guide! This I have done. I hope the resolve will not fail me, steadfastly to persevere till it may please the inexorable Fates to cut the thread of my life. Perhaps I may get better, perhaps not. I am prepared for either.


Posted by amin at 11:50 PM

i am deaf!

Born with a passionate and excitable temperament, keenly susceptible to the pleasures of society, I was yet obliged early in life to isolate myself, and to pass my existence in solitude. If I at any time resolved to surmount all this, oh! how cruelly was I again repelled by the experience, sadder than ever, of my defective hearing!--and yet I found it impossible to say to others: Speak louder; shout! For I am deaf!


Posted by amin at 11:47 PM

May 10, 2008

napoleon at st. helena

Think of Napoleon at St. Helena. He who had been collecting soldiers and guns all his life, began to philosophize when he was bound hand and foot. Certainly he behaved in this new sphere like a beginner, a very inexperienced and, strange to say, pusillanimous novice. He who feared neither pestilence nor bullet, was afraid, we know, of a dark room. Men used to philosophy, like Schopenhauer, walked boldly and with confidence in a dark room, though they run away from gun shots, and even less dangerous things. The great captain, the once Emperor of nearly all Europe, Napoleon, philosophizes on St. Helena, and even went so far as to begin to ingratiate himself with morality, evidently supposing that upon morality his ultimate fact depended. He assured her that for her sake, and her sake alone, he had contrived his murderous business-he who, all the while a crown was on his head and a victorious army in his hands, hardly know even of the existence of morality. But this is so intelligible. If one where to come upon a perfectly new and unknown world at the age of forty-five, then surely everything would seem terrible, and one would take the incorporeal morality of the arbiter of destiny. And one would plan to seduce her, if possible, with sweet words and false promises, as a lady of the world.

Lev Shestov

Posted by amin at 12:07 PM

May 7, 2008

public opinion in aesthetic matters

Public opinion in aesthetic matters is so insipid, uncertain and easily misled that it beholds such an exhibition of the sorriest philistinism without protest, that it lacks, indeed, any feeling for the comicality of a scene in which an unaesthetic magistrate sits in judgment on Beethoven. And as for Mozart, there ought truly to apply to him what Aristotle said of Plato: "the bad man is not permitted even to praise him."

Nietzsche - David Strauss, the confessor and the writer

Posted by amin at 11:59 AM

May 5, 2008

the literalists

The literalist approach to the Qur'an shows the intellectual weakness and limitation of those who adhere to it. This could be due to the dominance of the external laws over them and the deficiency in their understanding to perceive the intention of the Qur'an and the mysteries of the verses. So, what overtakes them while listening to the inner meaning of the Qur'an is like what overtakes the eyes of bats when the rays of light fall on them. The greatest calamity, of which man is unaware but keeps him from perceiving the deeper truths of the Qur'an, is caused by man's arrogant adherence to the literal meaning of the Scripture only. If such a person claims that there is no other meaning of the Qur'an except what is given in the literal exegesis of the Qur'an, then he gives information of the limit of his self, and he is right in that. But he has erred in relegating all the people to the level of his understanding that is his habitation, his station, his limit and his foothold. And how can the state of a traveller, rather, of a flier be compared with the state of one who is stationary? Nay, the chronicles and reports indicate that the field of meanings of the Qur'an is vast for the traveling of the people of understanding, and its space is vast for the flight of the companions of yearning and ecstasy.

Mulla Sadra

Posted by amin at 11:45 PM

the vicissitude of time

I have a heart which the vicissitude of time has furnished, the affairs of the world have disturbed, the affliction of discomfort has touched, and intense calamity has covered.

Mulla Sadra

Posted by amin at 11:37 PM

hegel's dialectic

To shoot a man because you disagree with him about Hegel's dialectic is after all to honour the human spirit.

George Steiner

Posted by amin at 11:15 AM

May 1, 2008

the actualization of inner picture

Visual art is vision made visible. Some artists have a vision while being unable to give it form; others attempt to create form without having an inner picture. The important thing is that technical resources be made to serve the artistic idea, the actualization of inner picture.

In a perfect work of art, spiritual content and technical execution are on a par. Yet, of the two, spirit always comes first. A technically flawed picture is only permissible when the power of its vision enables the imperfections, sometimes a result of lighting conditions, to be overlooked. Technical perfection is easily overrated, and a technically perfect picture without spiritual content is worthless as a work of art. The technical side of photography can be learnt, and more easily than in any other art; seeing, and creating form, on the other hand cannot.

Herbert List

Posted by amin at 12:54 PM

a good folk song

A good folk song is easy to learn and hard to forget. Its melody is brief, its chorus repeats, its rhymes read from line to line like the base pairs in a chain of DNA. A folk song is a meme, an evolutionary biologist might say-the cultural version of a gene. It passes from generation to generation, evolving as it goes, till every clumsy or extraneous line is stripped away: "Oh, the cuckoo she's a pretty bird/She sings as she flies/She brings us glad tidings/And tells us no lies." You only have to hear it a few times to know it by heart.

Burkhard Bilger

Posted by amin at 12:15 AM