melting & burning


November 6, 2016, 12:21 am
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“We overestimate everything we pin our love on, and for this reason it sometimes requires contradiction and criticism, for love alone is living and precious, not the object we pin it on.”
– Herman Hesse.

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Amor fati
October 31, 2016, 10:26 pm
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Amor fati (lit. “love of fate”) is a Latin phrase that may be translated as “love of fate” or “love of one’s fate”. It is used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one’s life, including suffering and loss, as good or, at the very least, necessary, in that they are among the facts of one’s life and existence, so they are always necessarily there whether one likes them or not. Moreover, amor fati is characterized by an acceptance of the events or situations that occur in one’s life.

This acceptance does not necessarily preclude an attempt at change or improvement, but rather, it can be seen to be along the lines of what Nietzsche means by the concept of “eternal recurrence”: a sense of contentment with one’s life and an acceptance of it, such that one could live exactly the same life, in all its minute details, over and over for all eternity.

from wiki



On suicide by H. L. Mencken
November 9, 2015, 10:12 pm
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“Speaking for myself, I don’t recall a single day in my life when I was contented with my lot, though as human destiny runs, it has been a not unfortunate one. Worse, I have got to a point. in my old age, that I can’t imagine any concrete amelioration: experience has taught me that what I want today will only upset me if I get it tomorrow. But to give us hope is surely not the same as to embrace despair. The show remains engrossing, though it is no longer exhilarating. The horror of week after next will at least be a new one. It may be any one of ten dozen: I find myself vaguely eager to know which it is to be. Thus I advise against suicide. Life may not be exactly pleasant, but it is at least not dull. Heave yourself into Hell today, and you may miss, tomorrow or next day, another Scopes trial, or another War to End War, or perchance a rich and buxom widow with all her first husband’s clothes. There are always more Hardings hatching. I advocate hanging on as long as possible.”

From “The Library,”
The American Mercury (1929)
H. L. Mencken

http://www.ralphmag.org/mencken-suicideZM.html 



August 28, 2014, 6:14 pm
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‘The one who writes the chronicles of the past, is the one who is willing to comprehend the present.’ -Goethe



Ralph Barton’s suicide note
August 17, 2014, 10:25 pm
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Everyone who has known me and who hears of this will have a different hypothesis to offer to explain why I did it. Practically all of these hypothesis will be dramatic—and completely wrong. Any sane doctor knows that the reasons for suicide are invariably psychopathological. Difficulties in life merely precipitate the event—and the true suicide type manufactures his own difficulties. I have had few real difficulties. I have had, on the contrary, and exceptionally glamorous life—as lives go. And I have had more than my share of affection and appreciation. The most charming, intelligent, and important people I have known have liked me—and the list of my enemies is very flattering to me. I have always had excellent health. But, since my childhood, I have suffered with a melancholia which, in the past 5 years, has begun to show definite symptoms of manic-depressive insanity. It has prevented my getting anything like the full value out of my talents, and, for the past three years, has made work a torture to do at all. It has made it impossible for me to enjoy the simple pleasures of life that seem to get other people through. I have run from wife to wife, from house to house, and from country to country, in a ridiculous effort to escape from myself. In doing so, I am very much afraid that I have spread a good deal of unhappiness among the people who have loved me.



some favorite passages from Günter Grass’ The Tin Drum
March 10, 2014, 9:11 pm
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“…I am at home in neither the sacred nor the profane, and in consequence am housed on the fringes, in a mental institution.”

 

“Dost thou renounce Satan? And all his works? And all his pomp?”

Before I could shake my head—for I had no intention of rejecting anything—Jan answered in my stead, saying three times, “I do renounce.”

Without my having said anything to spoil my relations with Satan, Father Wiehnke anointed me on the breast and between my shoulder blades. Another Apostles’ Creed before the baptismal font, then finally water three times, anointing of the scalp with chrism, a white garment to stain, the candle for days of darkness, the dismissal—Matzerath paid—and as Jan carried me outside the doors of the Church of the Sacred Heart to where the taxi stood waiting in clear to partly cloudy weather, I asked Satan within me, “Did you make it through?”

 

“Mama could be very cheerful. Mama could be very timid. Mama forgot things quickly. Mama nonetheless had a good memory. Mama threw me out with the bathwater yet sat in the tub with me. Mama was sometimes lost, but I always found her. When I sangshattered glass, Mama sold lots of putty. She sometimes put her foot in it when she could have put her foot down elsewhere. Even when Mama buttoned up, she stayed an open book to me. Mama feared drafts but generated storms. She lived on what she charged but hated paying taxes. I was the flip side of her top card. When Mama played a heart hand, she always won. When Mama died, the red flames on my drum turned pale; but the white lacquer grew whiter, so dazzling that, blinded even Oskar had to shut his eyes.”

 

“Raguna, however, lay with me and was frightened. Oskar, though not frightened, lay with Raguna. Her fear and my courage brought our hands together. I explored her fear, she explored my courage. Toward the end I became slightly frightened, but she gained courage”

 

“I have always been attracted to cemeteries. They are well kept, straightforward, logical, manly, full of life. You can summon up courage and reach decisions in cemeteries, life takes on clear contours—and I’m not referring to burial plots—in cemeteries, and, if you will, a meaning.”

 

“I deny myself nothing and hardly need anything”

 

“And didn’t the lack of any trace of the doctor prove that the relationship between doctor and nurse was confined to the hospital and thus purely professional, or if not professional, then at least unilateral in nature?”

 

“I couldn’t help hearing that the coconut fibers were giving Sister Dorothea a feeling much like the feeling fizz powder had given my beloved Maria all those years ago, except that the fizz powder allowed me to hold up my end fully and triumphantly, while here on the coco mat I was a total and humiliating flop. I just couldn’t cast anchor. What had been stiff and purposeful in those fizz-powder days, and often enough thereafter, hung its head under the sign of the coco fibers, remained listless, puny, with no goal in mind, responding neither to my purely cerebral persuasive skills nor to the sighs of Sister Dorothea, who whispered, moaned, and whimpered, “Come, Satan, come!” as I tried to calm and comfort her: “Satan’s coming, Satan’s almost there,” I murmured in my most satanic tone, all the while conversing with the Satan who had dwelt within me since baptism—and was still lodged there—growled at him: Don’t be a killjoy, Satan! Pleaded: Please, spare me this disgrace. Cajoled: This is not at all like you, Satan, remember Maria, or better yet the widow Greff, or how we made merry with lovely Roswitha in gay Paree. But he replied morosely, without worrying about repeating himself: I’m not in the mood, Oskar. When Satan’s not in the mood, virtue triumphs. Even Satan has the right not to be in the mood every now and then.”



March 1, 2014, 4:13 am
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So why is reading books any better than reading tweets or wall posts? Well, sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes, you need to put down your book, if only to think about what you’re reading, what you think about what you’re reading. But a book has two advantages over a tweet. First, the person who wrote it thought about it a lot more carefully. The book is the result of his solitude, his attempt to think for himself. Second, most books are old. This is not a disadvantage: this is precisely what makes them valuable. They stand against the conventional wisdom of today simply because they’re not from today. Even if they merely reflect the conventional wisdom of their own day, they say something different from what you hear all the time. But the great books, the ones you find on a syllabus, the ones people have continued to read, don’t reflect the conventional wisdom of their day. They say things that have the permanent power to disrupt our habits of thought. They were revolutionary in their own time, and they are still revolutionary today.

— William Deresiewicz “Solitude and Leadership”