sâmbătă, 31 decembrie 2011

joi, 15 decembrie 2011

duminică, 20 noiembrie 2011

Against Happiness, Eric G. Wilson

"Melancholia pushes against the easy "either/or" of the status quo. It thrives in unexplored middle ground between oppositions, in the "both/and." It fosters fresh insights into relationships between oppositions, especially that great polarity life and death. It encourages new ways of conceiving and naming the mysterious connections between antinomies. It returns us to innocence, to irony, that ability, temporary, to play in potential without being constrained to the actual. Such respites from causality refresh our relationship to the world, grant us beautiful vistas, energize our hearts and our minds.

Indeed, the world is much of the time boring, controlled as it is by staid habits. It seems overly familiar, tired, repetitious. Then along comes what Keats calls the melancholy fit, and suddenly the planet again turns interesting. The veil of familiarity falls away. There before us flare bracing possibilities. We are called to forge untested links to our environments. We are summoned to be creative.

Given these virtues of melancholia, why are thousands of psychiatrists and psychologists attempting to "cure" depression as if it were a terrible disease? Obviously, those suffering severe depression, suicidal and bordering on psychosis, require serious medications. But what of those millions of people who possess mild to moderate depression? Should these potential visionaries also be asked to eradicate their melancholia with the help of a pill? Should these possible innovators relinquish what might well be their greatest muse, their demons giving birth to angels?"

sâmbătă, 15 octombrie 2011

Balthasar & Blimunda, Jose Saramago II

"If your Majesty will permit to speak frankly, I am of the opinion that we are facing bankruptcy and must be fully aware of our difficult situation. But, thanks be to God, there has never been any lack of money, That is true, but my experience as a treasurer has taught me that the most persistent beggar is the one who has money to squander, just like Portugal, which is a bottomless coffer, the money goes in its mouth and comes out of its arse, if your Majesty will pardon the expression. Ha ha ha, the King laughed, that is funny, are you trying to tell me that shit is money, No your Majesty, that money is shit, and I'm in a position to know, squatting down here like everyone else who finds himself looking after someone else's money. This dialogue is fictitious, apocryphal, and libellous, and also deeply immoral, it respects neither throne nor altar, It makes a King and his treasurer speak as if they were drovers conversing in a tavern, and all we need are a few comely wenches to provoke the most awful outbursts of foul language, what you have just read, however is simply an updated rendering of colloquial Portuguese, since what the King really said was, As from today, your stipend is doubled so that you will be under less pressure, whereupon the treasurer replied, I kiss your Majesty's hand in gratitude."

Balthasar & Blimunda, Jose Saramago I

"Signor Scarlatti, the priest said when the maestro had stopped improvising on the keyboard and all the reverberations ceased, Signor Scarlatti, I cannot claim to know anything about the art of music, but I'll wager you that even an Indian peasant from my native Brazil who knows still less about music than I do would feel enraptured by these celestial harmonies, Perhaps not, the musician replied, for it is a well known fact that the ear has to be educated if one wishes to appreciate musical sounds, just as the eyes must learn to distinguish the value of words and the way in which they are combined when one is reading text, and the hearing must be trained for one to comprehend speech, These weighty words moderate my frivolous remarks, for it is a common failing among man to say what they believe others wish to hear them say, without sticking to the truth, however, for men to be able to stick to the truth, they must first acknowledge their errors, And commit them" 

"It rained again during the night but no one cursed. It is wisest not to pay too much attention to what heaven sends, whether it be sunshine or rain, unless it becomes unbearable, and even then the Great Flood did not suffice to drown the whole of mankind, and drought is never so great that a blade of grass does not survive, or at least the hope of finding one. It rained like this for an hour or so, then the clouds lifted, for even clouds get peevish if they are ignored." 

".. if only there were no gloom or misery, if streams flowed over pebbles everywhere, and birds were singing, then life would be simply to sit in the grass, holding a daisy without stripping off the petals, either because one already knew the answers or because they were so unimportant that to discover them would not be worth a flower's life."

"What matters, however, is that a man should prolong himself in his offspring, and if it is true that in his anguish at the thought of old age or its imminent approach, man does not always relish seeing certain of his own actions repeated that were once cause for public scandal or discord, it is not less true that a man is delighted when he can persuade his children to repeat some of his own gestures, his own attitudes, his own words, thus appearing to recover some justification for what he himself has been and accomplished."

duminică, 18 septembrie 2011

Ulysses, James Joyce III

"Bloom's acts?

He deposited the articles of clothing on a chair, removed his remaining articles of clothing, took from beneath the bolster at the head of the bed a folded long white nightshirt, inserted his head and arms into the proper apertures of the nightshirt, removed a pillow from the head to the foot of the bed, prepared the bedlinen accordingly and entered the bed.


With circumspection, as invariably when entering an abode (his own or not his own): with solicitude, the snakespiral springs of the mattress being old, the brass quoits and pendent viper radii loose and tremulous under stress and strain: prudently, as entering a lair or ambush of lust or adders: lightly, the less to disturb: reverently, the bed of conception and of birth, of consummation of marriage and of breach of marriage, of sleep and of death.

What did his limbs, when gradually extended, encounter?

New clean bedlinen, additional odours, the presence of a human form, female, hers, the imprint of a human form, male, not his, some crumbs, some flakes of potted meat, recooked, which he removed.

If he had smiled why would he have smiled?

To reflect that each one who enters imagines himself to be the first to enter whereas he is always the last term of a preceding series even if the first term of a succeeding one, each imagining himself to be first, last, only and alone whereas he is neither first nor last nor only nor alone in a series originating in and repeated to infinity."

Ulysses, James Joyce II

"Why would a recurrent frustration the more depress him?

Because at the critical turning point of human existence he desired to amend many social conditions, the product of inequality and avarice and international animosity. He believed then that human life was infinitely perfectible, eliminating these conditions?

There remained the generic conditions imposed by natural, as distinct from human law, as integral parts of the human whole: the necessity of destruction to procure alimentary sustenance: the painful character of the ultimate functions of separate existence, the agonies of birth and death: the monotonous menstruation of simian and (particularly) human females extending from the age of puberty to the menopause: inevitable accidents at sea, in mines and factories: certain very painful maladies and their resultant surgical operations, innate lunacy and congenital criminality, decimating epidemics: catastrophic cataclysms which make terror the basis of human mentality: seismic upheavals the epicentres of which are located in densely populated regions: the fact of vital growth, through convulsions of metamorphosis, from infancy through maturity to decay."

"What special affinities appeared to him to exist between the moon and woman?

Her antiquity in preceding and surviving successive tellurian generations: her nocturnal predominance: her satellitic dependence: her luminary reflection: her constancy under all her phases, rising and setting by her appointed times, waxing and waning: the forced invariability of her aspect: her indeterminate response to inaffirmative interrogation: her potency over effluent and refluent waters: her power to enamour, to mortify, to invest with beauty, to render insane, to incite to and aid delinquency: the tranquil inscrutability of her visage: the terribility of her isolated dominant implacable resplendent propinquity: her omens of tempest and of calm: the stimulation of her light, her motion and her presence: the admonition of her craters, her arid seas, her silence: her splendour, when visible: her attraction, when invisible."

Ulysses, James Joyce I

" I'm the queerest young fellow that ever you heard.
My mother's a jew, my father's a bird.
With Joseph the joiner I cannot agree.
So here's to disciples and Calvary.

If anyone thinks that I amn't divine
He'll get no free drinks when I'm making the wine
But have to drink water and wish it were plain
That I make when the wine becomes water again."

"Prevention of cruelty to animals.

BLOOM: (Enthusiastically) A noble work! I scolded that tramdriver on Harold's cross bridge for illusing the poor horse with his harness scab. Bad French I got for my pains. Of course it was frosty and the last tram. All tales of circus life are highly demoralising."

"THE NYMPH: I do. You bore me away, framed me in oak and tinsel, set me above your marriage couch. Unseen, one summer eve, you kissed me in four places. And with loving pencil you shaded my eyes, my bosom and my shame. "

"STEPHEN: (Laughs emptily) My centre of gravity is displaced. I have forgotten the trick. Let us sit down somewhere and discuss. Struggle for life is the law of existence but modern philirenists, notably the tsar and the king of England, have invented arbitration. (He taps his brow) But in here it is I must kill the priest and the king. "

joi, 18 august 2011

Dad's Breakdown, Psapp

"As for shades of grey: well, I like grey - it's a friendly, comforting colour. And it was good enough for Giacometti. I went into Richmond today, and everything looked delightfully grey and muted. Grey faces smiled at me through the traffic fumes.

'I wouldn't swap this paradise for the Bahamas on a balmy day,' I said to Ted Evans, our security officer, former police officer, and ex-police marksman, who had taken me to Habitat to collect the new, neutral, good-taste light fittings I had chosen for the hallways in King George Square."

duminică, 14 august 2011

sâmbătă, 13 august 2011

The hour

"A conspiracy is nothing but the secret agreement of a number of men for the pursuance of policies which they dare not admit to in public."

duminică, 27 martie 2011

Baroque evening

The lovely Nuria was in Galway.

sâmbătă, 26 martie 2011

In the shadow of Eden, Rachael Romero

Some watch tales of life with the perverted pleasure of watching horror movies. Beyond the hope that a public disclosure alleviates the soul there's always the hope that such hideous behavior can be prevented, that if we couldn't protect ourselves we can protect our offspring. This hope seems just as naive as the hope that war is just a terrible nightmare from our past and that we've grown wise enough to be able to break its scarring circle.

joi, 24 martie 2011

Rostul României

Via Brînduşa.


României i-a dispărut rostul. E o ţară fără rost, în orice sens vreţi voi. O ţară cu oameni fără rost, cu oraşe fără rost, cu drumuri fără rost, cu bani, muzică, maşini şi ţoale fără rost, cu relaţii şi discuţii fără rost, cu minciuni şi înşelătorii care nu duc nicăieri.

Există trei mari surse de rost pe lumea asta mare: familia (bătrânii), pământul şi credinţa.

Bătrânii. România îi batjocoreşte cu sadism de 20 de ani. Îi ţine în foame şi în frig. Sunt umiliţi, bruscaţi de funcţionari, uitaţi de copii, călcaţi de maşini pe trecerea de pietoni. Sunt scoşi la vot, că vitele, momiţi cu un kil de ulei sau de mălai de care, dinadins, au fost privaţi prin pensii de rahat. Vite slabe, flămânde şi bătute, asta au ajuns bătrânii noştri. Câini ţinuţi afară iarna, fără măcar o mână de paie sub ciolane.
Dar, ce e cel mai grav, sunt nefolosiţi.. O fonotecă vie de experienţă şi înţelepciune a unei generaţii care a trăit atâtea grozăvii e ştearsă de pe bandă, ca să tragem manele peste. Fără bătrâni nu există familie. Fără bătrâni nu există viitor.

Pământul. Care pământ? Cine mai e legat de pământ în ţara aia? Cine-l mai are şi cine mai poate rodi ceva din el? Majestatea Sa Regele Thailandei susţine un program care se intitulează "Sufficiency Economy", prin care oamenii sunt încurajaţi să crească pe lângă case tot ce le trebuie: un fruct, o legumă, o găina, un purcel. Foarte inteligent. Dacă se întâmplă vreo criză globală de alimente, thailandezii vor supravieţui fără ajutoare de la ţările "prietene".
La noi chestia asta se numeşte "agricultură de subzistenţă" şi lui tanti Europa nu-i place. Tanti Europa vrea că ţăranii să-şi cumpere roşiile şi şoriciul de la hypermarketuri franţuzeşti şi germane, că de-aia avem UE.
Cântatul cocoşilor dimineaţa, lătratul vesel al lui Grivei, grohăitul lui Ghiţă până de Ignat, corcoduşele furate de la vecini şi iazul cu sălcii şi broaşte sunt imagini pe care castraţii de la Bruxelles nu le-au trăit, nu le pot înţelege şi, prin urmare, le califică drept nişte arhaisme barbare. Să dispară!

Din beţivii, leneşii şi nebunii satului se trag ăştia care ne conduc acum. Neam de neamul lor n-a avut pământ, că nu erau în stare să-l muncească. Nu ştiu ce înseamnă pământul, câtă linişte şi câtă putere îţi dă, ce poveşti îţi spune şi cât sens aduce fiecărei dimineţi şi fiecărei seri. I-au urât întotdeauna pe cei care se trezeau la 5 dimineaţă şi plecau la câmp cu ciorba în sufertaş. Pe toţi gângavii şi pe toţi puturosii ăştia i-au făcut comuniştii primari, secretari de partid, şefi de puşcării sau de cămine culturale. Pe toţi ăştia, care au neamul îngropat la marginea cimitirului, de milă, de silă, creştineşte.

Credinţa. O mai poartă doar bătrânii şi ţăranii, câţi mai sunt, cât mai sunt. Un strai vechi, cusut cu fir de aur, un strai vechi, greu de îmbrăcat, greu de dat jos, care trebuie împăturit într-un fel anume şi pus la loc în lada de zestre împreună cu busuioc, smirnă şi flori de câmp. Pus bine, că poate îl va mai purta cineva. Când or să moară oamenii ăştia, o să-l ia cu ei la cer pe Dumnezeu..

Avem, în schimb, o variantă modernă de credinţa, cu fermoar şi arici, prin care ţi se văd şi ţâţele şi portofelul burduşit. Se poartă la nunţi, botezuri şi înmormântări, la alegeri, la inundaţii, la sfinţiri de sedii şi aghesmuiri de maşini luxoase, la pomenirea eroilor Revoluţiei.. Se accesorizeaza cu cruci făcute în grabă şi cu un "Tatăl nostru" spus pe jumătate, că trebuie să răspunzi la mobil. Scuze, domnu părinte, e urgent.

Fugim de ceva ca să ajungem nicăieri. Ne vindem pământul să facă ăştia depozite şi vile de neam prost pe el. Ne sunăm bunicii doar de ziua lor, dacă au mai prins-o. Bisericile se înmulţesc, credincioşii se împuţinează, sfinţii de pe pereţi se gândesc serios să aplice pentru viza de Canada .

Fetele noastre se prostituează până găsesc un italian bătrân şi cu bani, cu care se mărită. Băieţii noştri fură bancomate, joacă la pokere şi beau de sting pentru că ştiu de la televizor că fetele noastre vor bani, altfel se prostituează.
Părinţii noştri pleacă să culeagă căpşuni şi să-i spele la cur pe vestici. Iar noi facem infarct şi cancer pentru multinaţionalele lor, conduse de securiştii noştri..

Sună-ţi familia, pune o sămânţa într-un ghiveci şi aprinde o lumânare pentru vii şi pentru morţi.

Să trăieşti.

Brăduţ Florescu

marți, 8 februarie 2011

Being an Amsterdammer

You are thin and tall.
You are more likely to ride a bike than to drive a car (possible cause for the first observation).
The road to salvation is straight across the street if you work behind a window with red lights.
You have a high tolerance to increased levels of noise and confined spaces (rather common in large cities).
You buy food and drinks in small packages, similar to airplane meals (also possible cause for the first observation).
You plan your life at least 5 years in advance.
You have at least one co-worker that openly admits they don't prefer the opposite sex.
You have even more water in your cucumbers and tomatoes than the people who buy Dutch vegetables elsewhere.
You don't mind having your home behind the window of a former shop and not using curtains.
You are very proud of your bitterballen and stroopwafel and you eat your cheese with mustard.
You can see as often as you want a few sunflowers in a vase.
You can buy more than tulips, roses and carnations in the flower market. And on that note, you actually have a flower market.
You have unlimited faith in your dikes.

marți, 25 ianuarie 2011

sâmbătă, 1 ianuarie 2011

The brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky

"It's always worthwhile speaking to a clever man"

"God raises Job again, gives him wealth again. Many years pass by, and he has other children and loves them. But how could he love those new ones when those first children are no more, when he has lost them? Remembering them, how could he be fully happy with those new ones, however dear the new ones might be? But he could, he could. It’s the great mystery of human life that old grief passes gradually into quiet, tender joy."

"... man loves to see the downfall and disgrace of the righteous"

"‘You have desires and so satisfy them, for you have the same rights as the most rich and powerful. Don’t be afraid of satisfying them and even multiply your desires.’ That is the modern doctrine of the world. In that they see freedom. And what follows from this right of multiplication of desires? In the rich, isolation and spiritual suicide; in the poor, envy and murder; for they have been given rights, but have not been shown the means of satisfying their wants."

"Work without ceasing. If you remember in the night as you go to sleep, ‘I have not done what I ought to have done,’ rise up at once and do it."

"‘Why, my daughter, have you fallen again already?’ cries the priest: ‘O Sancta Maria, what do I hear! Not the same man this time, how long is this going on? Aren’t you ashamed!’ ‘Ah, mon pere,’ answers the sinner with tears of penitence, ‘Ca lui fait tant de plaisir, et a moi si peu de peine!’"

"Look how our young people commit suicide, without asking themselves Hamlet’s question what there is beyond, without a sign of such a question, as though all that relates to the soul and to what awaits us beyond the grave had long been erased in their minds and buried under the sands."

"... like little children, we brush the dreadful ghosts away and hide our heads in the pillow so as to return to our sports and merriment as soon as they have vanished."

"‘Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath.’ Yes, let us first fulfil Christ’s injunction ourselves and only then venture to expect it of our children. Otherwise we are not fathers, but enemies of our children, and they are not our children, but our enemies, and we have made them our enemies ourselves."