Darkness Visible

Most of that afternoon he mooned around. There was a soft, lyrical breeze; there were pale, lettuce-coloured streamers of light above the indolent harbour. The mood he was in, and the prospect of a new job, prompted him to extravagance: he took the little ferry to Kirribilli. The voyage was so gently soothing he almost fell in love with poor bloody Nance. He would have liked to feel her thigh against his as the ferry rocked them. He could even have put up with some of her marshmallowy ideas.

On the way back a wind sprang up. The sea grew metal scales, and over the charred city an angry light reminded him of what he was. All his fellow passengers looked so soft and vulnerable. Nance, if present, would have suffered worst of all.

— Patrick White, The Vivisector, [1970] 1994, p. 198

XXX

Today the self-destroying anger.
The inner violence so close to the
surface of the mind. The terrible
images of wilful destruction.
The blood beating behind clouding
eyes. It was the constant heat of the
day began it. The blood cooking
within, the pores streaming and the
rage to be otherwise than meat
moving; to tear away the caul
of fantasy; to see blind and
whole as Oedipus the blank of
self; to walk slowly, feeling
the air with outstretched hands, feet
scuffing pebbles in the mountain’s
ruined sanctuary; to taste
life in air upon the ravaged
face and make of it the true
words of suffering and of love:
the real prayer that takes a life
to utter.

— Bruce Beaver, Letters to Live Poets

Ivan Aivazovsky

Among the waves, Ivan Aivazovsky

Mesmerizing Translucent Waves from 19th Century Paintings

“Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves. Do not seek the answers that cannot be given, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now.”

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, 1903

“One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.”

— Bruce Lee

“Curious, this child-love of stones! Stones are the toys not only of the children of the poor, but of all children at one period of existence: no matter how well supplied with other playthings, every Japanese child wants sometimes to play with stones. To the child-mind a stone is a marvelous thing, and ought so to be, since even to the understanding of the mathematician there can be nothing more wonderful than a common stone. The tiny urchin suspects the stone to be much more than it seems, which is an excellent suspicion; and if stupid grown-up folk did not untruthfully tell him that his plaything is not worth thinking about, he would never tire of it, and would always be finding something new and extraordinary in it.”

— Lafcadio Hearn, “In Cholera Time,” Japanese Ghost Stories

“Those who read the press of their group and listen to the radio of their group are constantly reinforced in their allegiance. They learn more and more that their group is right, that its actions are justified; thus their beliefs are strengthened. At the same time, such propaganda contains elements of criticism and refutation of other groups, which will never be read or heard by a member of another group…Thus we see before our eyes how a world of closed minds establishes itself, a world in which everybody talks to himself, everybody constantly views his own certainty about himself and the wrongs done him by the Others – a world in which nobody listens to anybody else.”

— Jacques Ellul, Propaganda (1973)

“Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.”

— Alan Watts

The fields are covered with weeds. Beautiful weeds sprouting yellow, daisy-like flowers. And the trail edges are full of small plants, mosses and worts.