Saturday, July 31

In the world of eternal return the weight of unbearable responsibility lies heavy on every move we make. That is why Nietzsche called the idea of eternal return the heaviest of burdens (das schwerste Gewicht).

If eternal return is the heaviest of burdens, then our lives can stand out against it in all their splendid lightness.

But is heaviness truly deplorable and lightness splendid?

The heaviest of burdens crushes us, we sink beneath it, it pins us to the ground. But in the love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by the man's body. The heaviest of burdens is therefore simultaneously an image of life's most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become.

Conversely, the absolute absence of a burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into the heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant.

What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?

-- Milan Kundera The unbearable lightness of being

The unbearable lightness of being

Saturday, July 24


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Hamm: ...One day you'll be blind, like me. You'll be sitting there, a speck in the void, in the dark, for ever, like me. (Pause.) One day you'll say to yourself, I'm tired, I'll sit down, and you'll go and sit down. Then you'll say, I'm hungry, I'll get up and get something to eat. But you won't get up. You'll say, I shouldn't have sat down, but since I have I'll sit on a little longer, then I'll get up and get something to eat. But you won't get up and you won't get anything to eat. (Pause.) You'll look at the wall a while, then you'll say, I'll close my eyes, perhaps have a little sleep, after that I'll feel better, and you'll close them. And when you'll open them again there will no wall anymore. (Pause.) Infinite emptiness will be all around you, all the resurrected dead of all the ages wouldn't fill it, and there you'll be like a little bit of grit in the middle of the steppe...

Clov: It's not certain...

Hamm: Well, you'll lie down then, what the hell! Or you'll come to a standstill, simply stop and stand still, the way you are now. One day you'll say, I'm tired, I'll stop. What does the attitude matter?

-- Samuel Beckett Endgame


Friday, July 16


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Thursday, July 15

"How long were you in Tibet?"
"More than thirty years," she said softly.
"Thirty years! But why did you go there? For what?"
"For love," she answered simply …

-- Xinran Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet
Tr. Julia Lovell and Esther Tyldesley

Wednesday, July 14


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Monday, July 12

It is other. The place resonates a quality that you respond to. You feel your self in relation to its otherness. It's like the infinity sign–the distance is so great that it comes back on itself. At a given moment it's the way the light caresses the buildings, the way the chip of the horizon appears in the alleyway; it's the waving of the grass; it's the snap of the curtain. It's everything. It's one whole. At that moment, you step past, into that whole, and it swallows you up.

-- Joel Meyerowitz Cape Light: Color Photographs

Joel Meyerowitz

Saturday, July 10


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Tuesday, July 6

Eurydice. Heurtebise! Will you explain this miracle?

Heurtebise. What miracle?

Eurydice. You're not going to tell me you haven't noticed anything, and that it is natural to remain suspended in midair instead of falling, when a chair is taken from under you?

Heurtebise. Suspended in midair?

Eurydice. You needn't make out you are surprised, because I saw you. You stayed in midair. You stayed there two feet above the floor, with only emptiness round you.

Heurtebise. You really do surprise me.

Eurydice. You remained a good minute between heaven and earth.

Heurtebise. Impossible.

Eurydice. Exactly. That's why you owe me an explanation.

Heurtebise. You mean to say that I stayed without a support between the ceiling and the floor?

Eurydice. Don't tell a lie, Heurtebise! I saw you, I saw you with my own eyes. I had the greatest difficulty in stifling a cry. In this madhouse, you were my last refuge, you were the only person who didn't frighten me, in your presence I regained my balance. It's all very well living with a horse that talks, but a friend who floats in the air becomes of necessity an object of suspicion. Don't come near me. At the moment even your glistening back gives me gooseflesh. Explain yourself, Heurtebise! I am listening.

Heurtebise. I have no need to defend myself. Either I am dreaming or you have dreamt.

Eurydice. Yes, such things do happen in dreams, but neither of us was asleep.

Heurtebise. You must have been the dupe of the mirage between my windowpanes and yours. Things do lie at times. At the fair I saw a naked woman walking along the ceiling.

Eurydice. This was nothing to do with a machine. It was beautiful and outrageous. For the space of a second I saw you as outrageous as an accident and as beautiful as a rainbow. You were the cry of a man who falls from a window, and you were the silence of the stars. You frighten me. I'm too frank not to tell you. If you do not wish to answer me, you needn't, but our relationship can never be the same. I thought you were simple, but you are complex. I thought you were of my race, but you are of the race of the horse.

-- Jean Cocteau Orphée (The play)
Tr. Carl Wildman

Jean Cocteau

Friday, July 2


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Before midsummer density
opaques with shade the checker-
tables underneath, in daylight
unleafing lindens burn
green-gold a day or two,
no more, with intimations
of an essence I saw once,
in what had been the pleasure-
garden of the popes
at Avignon, dishevel

into half (or possibly three-
quarters of) a million
hanging, intricately
tactile, blond bell-pulls
of bloom, the in-mid-air
resort of honeybees'
hirsute cotillion
teasing by the milligram
out of those necklaced
nectaries, aromas

so intensely subtle,
strollers passing under
looked up confused,
as though they'd just
heard voices, or
inhaled the ghost
of derelict splendor
and/or of seraphs shaken
into pollen dust
no transubstantiating
pope or antipope could sift
or quite precisely ponder.

-- Amy Clampitt

Amy Clampitt