Archive for December, 2010

Posted: December 30, 2010 in Quotes

But, you see, that is tremendously arduous; it is hard work, and you do not like hard work. You prefer an easy indolent existence – earning a livelihood, accepting what comes, and just drifting along through life. Or, if you don’t do that, you practice some system, some form of compulsion, discipline. You get up every morning at 4 o’clock to meditate – by which you mean forcing yourself to concentrate, compelling your mind to conform to a particular pattern. You drill yourself incessantly, day after day, and that you consider hard work. But that, it seems to me, is a most childish way of working. It is not the work of a mature mind. By hard work I mean something totally different. It is hard work to examine every thought and feeling, every belief, without bringing in your own prejudices, without shielding yourself behind an idea, behind a conclusion, an explanation. It requires hard, clear thinking – which is real work. And most us do not want to tackle that kind of work. We would rather accept a senseless belief, belong to an organized religion, go to the temple, the church, or the mosque, repeat some words and get a little sensation; and with these things we are satisfied.

– J. Krishnamurti


Posted: December 30, 2010 in Quotes

I do not know if you have ever been in a desert in springtime. There has been no rain, just moisture, and not very much of it. The ground is very dry and hard; the sun is brilliant. There is a sense of ruthlessness, of nakedness, of emptiness. And in the springtime, a flower comes up, a lovely thing – perhaps more beautiful than all the cultivated flowers in the rich man’s garden. It has a perfume of its own, and a color which is not the color of the well-nourished flower in a lovely garden. It is a thing of extraordinary beauty, and it has flowered in a desert. And I think there is in complete aloness a flowering of the mind, which is surely religious.

– J. Krishnamurti

Posted: December 30, 2010 in Quotes

A school is a place where one learns about the totality, the wholeness of life. Academic excellence is absolutely necessary, but a school includes much more than that. It is a place where both the teacher and the student explore, not only the outer world, the world of knowledge, but also their own thinking, their own behavior.

– J. Krishnamurti

Questioner: The problem of earning a decent living is predominant with most of us. Since economic currents of the world are hopelessly interdependent I find that almost anything I do either exploits others or contributes to the cause of war. How is one who honestly wishes to achieve right means of livelihood to withdraw from the wheels of exploitation and war?

Krishnamurti: For him who truly wishes to find a right means of livelihood economic life, as at present organized, is certainly difficult. As the questioner says, economic currents are interrelated and so it is a complex problem, and as with all complex human problems it must be approached with simplicity. As society is becoming more and more complex and organized, regimentation of thought and action is being enforced for the sake of efficiency. Efficiency becomes ruthlessness when sensory values predominate, when eternal value is set aside. Obviously there are wrong means of livelihood. He who helps in manufacturing arms and other methods to kill his fellowman is surely occupied with furthering violence which never brings about peace in the world; the politician who, either for the benefit of his nation or of himself or of an ideology, is occupied in ruling and exploiting others, is surely employing wrong means of livelihood which lead to war, to the misery and sorrow of man; the priest who holds to a specialized prejudice, dogma or belief, to a particular form of worship and prayer is also using wrong means of livelihood, for he is only spreading ignorance and intolerance which set man against man. Any profession that leads to and maintains the divisions and conflict between man and man is obviously a wrong means of livelihood. Such occupations lead to exploitation and strife. Our means of livelihood are dictated, are they not, through tradition or through greed and ambition? Generally we do not deliberately set about choosing the right means of livelihood. We are only too thankful to get what we can and blindly follow the economic system that is about us. But the questioner wants to know how to withdraw from exploitation and war. To withdraw from them he must not allow himself to be influenced, nor follow traditional occupation, nor must he be envious and ambitious. Many of us choose some profession because of tradition or because we are of a family of lawyers or soldiers or politicians or traders; or our greed for power and position dictates our occupation; ambition drives us to compete and be ruthless in our desire to succeed. So he who would not exploit or contribute to the cause of war must cease to follow tradition, cease to be greedy, ambitious, selfseeking. If he abstains from these he will naturally find right occupation. But though it is important and beneficial, right occupation is not an end in itself. You may have a right means of livelihood but if you are inwardly insufficient and poor you will be a source of misery to yourself and so to others; you will be thoughtless, violent, selfassertive. Without that inward freedom of Reality you will have no joy, no peace. In the search and discovery of that inward Reality alone can we be not only content with little, but aware of something that is beyond all measure. It is this which must be first sought out; then other things will come into being in its wake.

J. Krishnamurti The Collected Works Volume IV

Posted: December 30, 2010 in Quotes

One makes mistakes; that is life. But it is never a mistake to have loved.

– Romain Rolland

Posted: December 29, 2010 in Quotes, Yoga

Health is wealth. Peace of mind is happiness. Yoga shows the way.

– Swami Vishnu-Devananda

Posted: December 22, 2010 in Quotes

We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery.

– Samuel Smiles

  • The integrity of an artist lifts a man above the level of the world without delivering him from it.
  • Not that we ever had any money: but any fool knows that you don’t need money to get enjoyment out of life.
  • Here was a will, neutral, undirected, a force waiting to be applied, ready to generate tremendous immanent powers of light or darkness, peace or conflict, order or confusion, love or sin.
  • Since no man ever can, or could, live by himself and for himself alone, the destinies of thousands of other people were bound to be affected, some remotely, but some very directly and near-at-hand, by my own choices and decision and desires, as my own life would also be formed and modified according to theirs. I was entering into a moral universe in which I would be related to every other rational being, and in which whole masses of us, as thick as swarming bees, would drag one another along towards some common end of good or evil, peace or war.
  • It is a law of man’s nature, written into his very essence, and just as much a part of him as the desire to build houses and cultivate the land and marry and have children and read books and sing songs, that he should want to stand together with other men in order to acknowledge their common dependence on God, their Father and Creator. In fact, this desire is much more fundamental than any purely physical necessity.
  • And in a sense, this terrible situation is the pattern and prototype of all sin: the deliberate and formal will to reject disinterested love for us for the purely arbitrary reason that we simply do not want it. We will to separate ourselves from that love. We reject it entirely and absolutely, and will not acknowledge it, simply because it does not please us to be loved. Perhaps the inner motive is that the fact of being loved disinterestedly reminds us that we all need love from others, and depend upon the charity of others to carry on our own lives. And we refuse love, and reject society, in so far as it seems, in our own perverse imagination, to imply some obscure kind of humiliation.
  • The devil is no fool. He can get people feeling about heaven the way they ought to feel about hell. He can make them fear the means of grace the way they not fear sin. And he does so, not by light but by obscurity, not by realities but by shadows; not by clarity and substance, but by dreams and the creature of psychosis. And men are so poor in intellect that a few could chills down their spine will be enough to keep them from ever finding out the truth about anything.
  • What is the good of religion without personal spiritual direction?
  • We give ear and pay at least a partially respectful attention to anyone who is really sincerely convinced of what he is saying, no matter what it is, even if it is opposed to our own ideas.
  • …that envy and hatred try to pierce our neighbor with a sword, when the blade cannot reach him unless it first passes through our own body.
  • They were saints in that most effective telling way: sanctified by leading ordinary lives in a completely supernatural manner, sanctified by obscurity, by usual skills, by common tasks, by routine, but skills, tasks, routine which received a supernatural form from grace within and from the habitual union of their souls with God in deep faith and charity.
  • Every religion was good: the all led to God, only in different ways, and every man should go according to his own conscience, and settle things according to his own private way of looking at things.
  • …we take what is substantially a deep and powerful and lasting moral impetus, supernatural in its origin and in its direction, and reduce it to the level of our own weak and unstable and futile fancies and desires.
  • Indeed, the truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt.
    • The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most: and his suffering comes to him from things so little and so trivial that one can say that is it no longer objective at all. It is his own existence, his own being, that is at once the subject and the source of his pain, and his very existence and consciousness is his greatest torture.
  • A soul is an immaterial thing. It is a principle of activity, it is an “act,” a “form,” an energizing principle.
    • It is the life of the body, and it must also have a life of its own. But the life of the soul does not inhere in any physical , material subject.
    • So to compare a soul without grace to a corpse without life is only a metaphor. But it is very true.
  • …it would be madness to look for a group of people, a society, a religion, a church from which all mediocrity would be absolutely be excluded.
  • We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and to create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest.
  • However, if you are wrong, does that make me right? If you are bad, does that prove that I am good?
  • And yet it is still just as naïve to suppose that members of the same human species, without having changed anything but their minds, should suddenly turn around and produce a perfect society, when they have never been able, in the past, to produce anything but imperfection and, at best, the barest shadow of justice.
  • All wars was simply unjust, and that was that. The thing to do was to fold your arms and refuse to fight. If everybody did that, there would be no more wars.
  • I had at last become a true child of the modern world, completely tangled up in petty and useless concerns with myself, and almost incapable of even considering or understand anything that was really important to my own true interests.
    • What a strange thing! In filling myself, I had emptied myself. In grasping things, I had lost everything. In devouring pleasures and joys, I had found distress and anguish and fear.
  • God created man with a soul that was made not to bring itself to perfection in its own order, but to be perfected by Him in an order infinitely beyond the reach of human powers. We were never destined to lead purely natural lives, and therefore we were never destined in God’s plan for a purely natural beatitude.
    • The soul of man, left to its own natural level, is a potentially lucid crystal left in the darkness. It is perfect in its own nature, but it lacks something that it can only receive from outside and above itself. But when the light shines in it, it becomes in a manner transformed into light and seems to lose its nature in the splendor of a higher nature, the nature of the light that is in it.
    • So the natural goodness of man, his capacity for love which must always be in some sense selfish if it remains in the natural order, becomes transfigured and transformed when the Love of God shines in it.
  • God is the pure act of existing.

The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. – St. Paul

  • Even the people who have always thought he was “too impractical” have always tended to venerate him – in the way people who value material security unconsciously venerate people who do not fear insecurity.
  • Not only was there such a thing as a supernatural order, but as a matter of concrete experience, it was accessible, very close at hand, an extremely near, an immediate and most necessary source of moral vitality, and one which could be reached most simply, most readily by prayer, faith, detachment, love.
  • We cannot use evil means to attain good end.
  • [Asceticism]…this negation was not something absolute, sought for its own sake: but that it was a freeing, a vindication of our real selves, a liberation of the spirit from limits and bounds that were intolerable, suicidal – from a servitude to flesh that must ultimately destroy our whole nature and society and the world as well.
    • Once the spirit was freed, and returned to its own element, it was not alone there: it could find the absolute and perfect Spirit, God. It could enter into union with Him…a matter of real experience.
  • The life of the soul is not knowledge, it is love, since love is the act of the supreme faculty, the will, by which man is formally united to the final end of all his strivings – by which man becomes one with God.
  • The artistic experience, at its highest, was actually a natural analogue of mystical experience.
    • Art was contemplation, and that it involved the actions of the highest faculties of man.
  • The intellect is only theoretically independent of desire and appetite in ordinary, actual practice. It is constantly being blinded and perverted by the ends and aims of passions, and the evidence it presents to us with such a show of impartiality and objectivity is fraught with interest and propaganda. We have become marvelous at self-delusion; all the more so, because we have gone to such trouble to convince ourselves of our absolute infallibility. The desires of the flesh – and by that I mean not only sinful desires, but even the ordinary, normal appetites for comfort and ease and human respect, are fruitful sources of every kind of error and misjudgment, and because we have these yearnings in us, our intellects (which, if they operated all alone in a vacuum, would indeed register with pure impartiality what they saw) present to us everything distorted and accommodated to the norms of our desire.
    • And therefore, even when we are acting with the best of intentions, and imagine that we are doing great good, we may be actually doing tremendous material harm and contradicting all our good intentions.
  • Why do you spend money for that which is not bread and your labor for that which doth not satisfy you?
  • I had lived for the satisfaction of my own desires and ambitions, for pleasure and comfort and reputation and success.
    • How could I love God, when everything I did was done not for Him but for myself, and not trusting in his aid, but relying on my own wisdom and talents?
  • There is nothing wrong in being a writer or poet…but the harm lies in wanting to be one for the gratification of one’s own ambitions, and merely in order to bring oneself up to the level demanded by his own internal self-idolatry.
  • I devoured books making notes here and there and remembering whatever I thought would be useful in an argument – that is, for my own aggrandizement, in order that I myself might take these things and shine by their light, as if their truth belonged to me.
    • [Books] make us think that we really understand things of which we have no practical knowledge at all.
  • Whoever you are, the land to which God has brought you is not like the land of Egypt from which you came out. You can no longer live here as you lived there. Your old life and your former ways are crucified now, and you must not seek to live any more for your own gratification, but give up your own judgment into the hands of a wise director, and sacrifice your pleasures and comforts for the love of God and give money you no longer spend on those things, to the poor.
  • If you don’t want the effect, do something to remove the cause.
  • My mind darkened with a confusion of realities and unrealities; the knowledge of my own sins, and the false humility which makes men say that they cannot do the things that they must do, cannot reach the level that they must reach: the cowardice that says: “I am satisfied to save my soul, to keep out of mortal sin,” but which means, by those words, “I do not want to give up my sins and my attachments.”
  • These words I underlined, although they amazed and dazzled me with their import, were all too simple for me to understand. They were too naked, too stripped of all duplicity and compromise for my complexity, perverted by many appetites.
  • The heights that can be reached by metaphysical speculation introduce a man into a realm of pure and subtle pleasure that offers the most nearly permanent delights you can find in the natural order.
    • In such an event, you get, not contemplation, but a kind of intellectual and esthetic gluttony – a high and refined and even virtuous form of selfishness. And when it leads to no movement of the will towards God, no efficacious love of Him, it is sterile and dead, this meditation, and could even accidentally become, under certain circumstances, a kind of a sin – at least an imperfection.
  • What I needed was the solitude to expand in breadth and depth and to be simplified out under the gaze of God more or less the way a plant spreads out its leaves in the sun.
  • And already my selfishness was asserting itself, and claiming this whole vocation for itself, by investing the future with all kinds of natural pleasures and satisfactions which would fortify and defend my ego against the troubles and worries of life in the world.

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; for he that shall lose his life, for my sake, shall save it.

  • Since I was so strongly attached to material goods, and so immersed in my own self, and so far from God, and so independent of Him, and so dependent of myself and my own imaginary powers, it was necessary that I should not enter a monastery felling the way I did about the Franciscans.
  • Only when all pride, all self-love has been consumed in our souls by the love of God, are we delivered from the thing which is the subject of those torments.
    • It is only when we have lost all love of ourselves for our own sake that our past sins cease to give us any cause for suffering or for the anguish of shame.
  • All that no longer mattered. It was in the hands of One Who Loved me far better than I could ever love myself: and my heart was filled with peace. It was a peace that did not depend on house, or jobs, or places, or times, or external conditions. It was a peace that time and materially created situation could never give. It was peace that the world could not give.
  • And the love of Christ overflowing in those clean hearts made them children and made them eternal.
  • The logic of worldly success rests on a fallacy: the strange error that our perfection depends on the thoughts and opinions and applause of other men! A weird life it is, indeed, to be living always in somebody else’s imagination, as if that were the only place in which one could at last become real!
  • Human nature has a way of making very specious arguments to suit its own cowardice and lack of generosity.
  • It is no profit for a man to gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul.
  • No man goes to heaven all by himself, alone.
  • …we preferred our own comfort: we averted our eyes from such a spectacle [human sufferings], because it made us feel uneasy: the thought of so much dirt nauseated us – and we never stopped to think that we, perhaps, might be partly responsible for it.
  • I was free. I had recovered my liberty. I belonged to God, not to myself: and to belong to Him is to be free, free of all the anxieties and worries and sorrows that belong to this earth, and the love of the things that are in it.
    • The only thing that mattered was the fact of the sacrifice, the essential dedication of one’s self, one’ will. The rest was only accidental.
  • And since God is a Spirit, and infinitely above all matter and all creation, the only complete union possible, between ourselves and Him, is in the order of intention: a union of wills and intellect, in love, charity.
  • The monastery is a school – a school in which we learn from God how to be happy. Our happiness consists in sharing the happiness of God, the perfection of His unlimited freedom, the perfection of His love.
    • What has to be healed in us is our true nature, made in the likeness of God. What we have to learn is love. The healing and the learning are the same thing, for at the very core of our essence we are constituted in God’s likeness by our freedom, and the exercise of that freedom is nothing else but the exercise of disinterested love – the love of God for His own sake, because He is God.
    • …and in the end, we will find Him in ourselves, in our own purified natures which have become the mirror of His tremendous Goodness and of His endless love…
  • The first and most elementary test of one’s calling to the religious life is the willingness to accept life in a community in which everybody is more or less imperfect.
    • The imperfections are much smaller and more trivial than the defects and vices of people outside in the world: and yet somehow you tend to notice them more and feel them more because they get to be so greatly magnified by the responsibilities and ideals of the religious state, through which you cannot help looking at them.
  • You felt that the best of them were the simplest, the most unassuming, the ones who fell in with the common norm without fuss and without any special display. They attracted no attention to themselves, they just did what they were told. But they were always the happiest one, the most at peace.
  • Was there any possibility of happiness without faith? Without some principle that transcended everything we had ever known?
  • [Contemplation] is the vocation to transforming union, to the height of the mystical life of mystical experience, to the very transformation into Christ that Christ living in us and directing all our actions might Himself draw men to desire and seek that same exalted union because of the joy and the sanctity and the supernatural vitality radiated by our example – or rather because of the secret influence of Christ living within us in complete possession of our souls.
    • Activity will only be more prefect than the joy and rest of contemplation if it is undertaken as the result of an overflow of love for God in order to fulfill His will. It is not to be continuous, only the answer to a temporary emergency.
  • …no matter who you are or what you are, you are called to the summit of perfection: you are called to a deep interior life perhaps even to mystical prayer, and to pass the fruits of your contemplation onto others. And if you cannot do so by words, then by example.
  • In one sense we are always traveling, and traveling as if we did not know where we were going.
  • We live in a world that exists only in the mind of God. It is only light. Using sacred geometry, the Mother/Father spirit of life has created a universe of light for us to play in and love each other. We are the children of God.
    • It involves around the idea that all consciousness, including human, is solely based on sacred geometry.
  • You have a choice. You can continue to live life from the normal human perspective, where the only reason for being alive is to become comfortable through material things or to gain control over other human beings through force – or realize that the outer world is not something you appropriate, but rather an opportunity to express joy and love in your life. The outer world and our inner world are one.
  • Mer-Ka-Ba – a counterrotating field of light that will interact and translate the spirit and the body from one world into another.
    • Mer – a special kind of light, a counterrotating field of light
    • Ka – spirit
    • Ba – the interpretation of the Reality, human body
  • Love is half of the light that is swirling around you, knowledge is the other half. When love and knowledge become one, the Christ will be present, always.
  • A chakra is an energy point within and sometimes outside the body that has a specific quality. When a person is focused in one particular chakra, their whole world is colored by the energy of that chakra. It is like a lens through which everything in existence is interpreted.
  • First there is the energy flow through the chakras the meridians reach each cell in the body. Then there is the prana field close to the body, generated by the chakra/meridian energy flow. Next there is the auric field that extends out a few feet off the surface, generated by the thoughts and feelings/emotions and surrounded by an egg-shaped energy field.
  • Love is the source of all creation. It is the consciousness that actually forms the created universes, dimensions and worlds that we live within.
    • Love is a particular vibration of consciousness that, when it is between humans, hold people to people in all our relationships.
  • Everything in the universe is a mirror of consciousness.
    • And consciousness is the light that reflects off the matter of the outer world and creates the entire outer world, breath by breath.
  • Healing takes place only when love is present.
    • In medicine only certain things are possible. But with love all things are possible.
    • Whatever healing technique(s) a person uses is of little importance. The technique simply gives the healer a structure for the mind of that person to focus on, but the real healing comes form the love that healer is giving to the person being healed – the healer’s love for that person heals, not their knowledge.
    • The mind has the knowledge to manipulate matter, but love has the power to not only manipulate matter, but to effortless create matter from nothing.
    • True love has no limits.
  • What we believe to be true is always our limitation.
    • It is the belief patterns we hold that limit us.
    • If you do not believe in limitations, you are free.
  • You can’t heal someone just because you want to or they need or deserve it. You have to get permission first.
    • Why get permission? We cannot see very well from this position within the third dimension. We do not know what our actions are really going to do in the bigger picture. We may think that we are doing this person great good by healing him when in fact we are harming him. We all live in a cosmic school of remembering. An illness may be just what that person came to Earth for. Through his illness this person my learn compassion, and by healing him you take away that possibility. Keep your ego out of the way and healing will come naturally.
  • Both the body and disease are just energy.
  • The person’s higher self knows exactly what is wrong down to the most minute detail, so continuing to talk to the person’s higher self after you have permission will give you great knowledge about this illness.
  • Most healing that do not take place no matter what the healer does, are because there is something within the person that is stopping the healing.
  • Mother Earth is connected to all of us in the whole world; our subconscious mind is the subconscious mind of the planet.
  • Our adult lives are deadened, and we are only living a shadow of what is humanly possible.
    • Mother Earth loves children, and if your childlike nature and your innocence are allowed to emerge from the muck of your adulthood, then something real can begin in your spiritual life.
  • Care about people and about animal and other life, because you can feel the connection, not because it will profit you somehow.
  • Once a true connection with your lower self has happened, and only then you may connect with the higher self.
  • Only love, innocence and a great deal of patience will allow you to find your way. You have to forget trying. You even have to forget that you are connecting to Mother Earth. You simply must live life from your heart and not your mind. Your mind will function, but under the control of the heart.
    • As long as we continue to judge the events in our lives, we give power to them as either good or bad, which determines the course of our lives. To end it and then transcend it, we must step outside this polarity.
  • God gave us freewill so that we may experiment.
  • According to Edgar Cayce and other physics, there have been many extremely advanced civilizations here on Earth before, but there is little or no trace of them. This is because their synthetic materials did not make it through the last dimensional shift 13,000 years ago or through other prior shifts. God cleans up the original Reality environment every time there is a dimensional shift.
  • Since we are what we create, then it becomes important and necessary that our emissions are in harmony with all life everywhere.
  • Indigo children
  • This mitigating circumstance prevents us from coming to a verdict. For how can we condemn something that is ephemeral, in transit?
  • …reveals the profound moral perversity of a world that rests essentially on the nonexistence of return, for in this world everything is pardoned in advance and therefore everything cynically permitted.
  • But is heaviness truly deplorable and lightness splendid?
    • The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become.
  • We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come.
    • And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself?
    • Any schoolboy can do experiments in physics laboratory to test various scientific hypotheses. But man, because he has only one life to live, cannot conduct experiments to test whether to follow his passion (compassion) or not.
  • What happens but once.
    • If we have only one life to live, we might as well not have lived at all.
  • Love does not make itself felt in the desire of copulation (a desire that extends to an infinite number of women) but in the desire for shared sleep (a desire limited to one woman).
  • Compassion
    • Latin form: “with” (com-), “suffering” (passio)
    • We cannot look on coolly as others suffer; or, we sympathize with those who suffer.
    • Not only to be able to live with the other’s misfortune but also to feel with him any emotion – joy, anxiety, happiness, pain.
    • Maximal capacity of affective imagination, the art of emotional telepathy. In the hierarchy of sentiments, then, it is supreme.
    • For there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.
  • A person who longs to leave the place where he lives is an unhappy person.
  • …and now he realized that those years were more attractive in retrorespect than they were when he was living them.
    • Now what was tiring had disappeared and only the beauty remained.
  • Necessity, weight, and value are three concepts inextricably bound: only necessity is heavy, and only what is heavy has value.
  • Chances and chance alone has a message for us. Everything that occurs out of necessity, everything expected, repeated day in and day out, is mute. Only chance can speak to us.
    • Necessity knows no magic formulae – they are all left to chance. If a love is to be unforgettable, fortuities must immediately start fluttering down to it like birds to Francis of Assisi’s shoulders.
    • “Co-incidence” means that two events unexpectedly happen at the same time, they meet.
  • Human lives are composed like music. Guided by his sense of beauty, an individual transforms a fortuitous occurrence to a motif, which then assumes a permanent place in the composition of the individual’s life.
    • While people are fairly young and the musical composition of their lives is still in its opening bars, they go about writing it together and exchange motifs, but if they meet when they are older, their musical compositions are more or less complete, and every motif, every object, every word means something different to each of them.
  • Dreaming is not merely an act of communication (or coded communication, if you like); it is also an aesthetic activity, a game of imagination, a game that is a value in itself.
    • Our dreams prove that to imagine – to dream about things that have not happened – is among mankind’s deepest needs.
  • Anyone whose goal is “something higher” must expect some day to suffer vertigo.
    • What is vertigo? Fear of falling? No, vertigo is something other than the fear of falling. It is the voice of the emptiness below us which tempts and lures us, it is the desire to fall, against which, terrified, we defend ourselves.
    • The intoxication of the weak: aware of his weakness, a man decides to give in rather than stand up to it.
  • Being in foreign country means walking a tightrope high above the ground without the net afforded a person by the country where he has his family, colleagues, and friends, and where he can easily say what he has to say in a language he has known from childhood.
  • All lovers unconsciously establish their own rule of the game, which from the outset admit no transgression.
  • What we have not chosen we cannot consider either our merit or our failure.
  • That is what made him feel that fidelity deserved pride of place among the virtues: fidelity gave a unity to lives that would otherwise splinter into thousands of split-second impressions.
  • But what is betrayal? Betrayal means breaking ranks. Betrayal means breaking ranks and going off into the unknown.
    • The first betrayal is irreparable. It calls forth a chain reaction of further betrayals, each of which takes us farther and farther away from the point of our original betrayal.
  • And suddenly he realized that all his life he had done nothing but talk, write, lecture, concoct sentences, search for formulations and amend them, so in the end no words were precise, their meaning were obliterated, their content lost, they turned into trash, chaff, dust, sand; prowling through his brain, tearing at his head, they were his insomnia, his illness.
    • The endless vanity of speeches and words, the vanity of culture, the vanity of art.
  • The darkness was pure, perfect, thoughtless, visionless; that darkness was without end, without borders; that darkness was the infinite we each carry within us. (Yes, if you’re looking for infinity, just close your eyes!)
  • Culture is perishing in overproduction, in an avalanche of words, in the madness of quantity.
  • The dead are as innocent as children.
  • There are things that can be accomplished only by violence. Physical love is unthinkable without violence.
  • For Sabina, living in truth, lying neither to ourselves nor to others, was possible only away from the public: the moment someone keeps an eye on what we do, we involuntarily make allowances for that eye, and nothing we do is truthful.
  • Her drama was a drama not of heaviness but of lightness. What fell to her lot was not the burden but the unbearable lightness of being.
  • The goals we pursue are always veiled.
    • The thing that gives our every move its meaning is always totally unknown to us.
  • Only the most naïve of questions are truly serious. They are questions with no answers. A question with no answer is a barrier that cannot be breached. In other words, it is questions with no answers that set the limits of human possibilities, describe the boundaries of human existence.
  • For what made the soul so excited was that the body was acting against its will; the body was betraying it, and the soul was looking on.
  • People usually escape from their troubles into the future; they draw an imaginary line across the path of time, a line beyond which their current troubles will cease to exist.
  • In a society run by terror, no statements whatsoever can be taken seriously. They are all forced, and it is the duty of every honest man to ignore them.
  • How defenseless we are in the face of flattery!
  • Men who pursue a multitude of women fit neatly into two categories. Some seek their own subjective and unchanging dream of a woman in all women. Others are prompted by a desire to possess the endless variety of the objective female world.
    • The obsession of the former is lyrical: what they seek in women is themselves, their ideal, and since an ideal is by definition something that can never be found, they are disappointed again and again.
    • The obsession the latter is epic, and women see nothing the least bit touching in it: the man projects no subjective ideal on women, and since everything interests him, nothing can disappoint him.
  • Is it better to shout and thereby hasten the end, or to keep silent and gain thereby a slower death?
  • Love is the longing for the half of ourselves we have lost.
  • “Kitsch” is a German word born in the middle of the sentimental nineteenth century, and from German it entered all Western language.
    • Kitsch excludes everything from its purview which is essentially unacceptable in human existence.
    • Kitsch is the absolute denial of shit, in both the literal and the figurative senses of the word.
  • A question is like a knife that slices through the stage backdrop and gives us a look at what lies hidden behind it.
    • The true opponent of kitsch is the person who asks questions.
  • And no wonder: political movements rest not so much on rational attitudes as on the fantasies, images, words, and archetypes that come together to make up this that political kitsch.
  • We all need someone to look at us. We can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look we wish to live under.
    • The first category longs for the look of an infinite number of anonymous eyes, in other words, for the look of the public.
    • The second category is made up of people who have a vital need to be looked at by many known eyes.
    • The third category are people who need to be constantly before the eyes of the person they love.
    • The fourth category are people who live in the imaginary eyes of those who are not present. They are dreamers.
  • The very beginning of Genesis tells us that God created man in order to give him dominion over fish and fowl and all creatures. Of course, Genesis was written by man, not a horse. There is no certainty that God actually did grant man dominion over other creatures. What seems more likely, in fact, is that man invented God to sanctify the dominion that he had usurped for himself over the cow and the horse.
    • Even though Genesis say that God gave man dominion over all animals, we can also construe it to mean that He merely entrusted them to man’s care. Man was not the planet’s master, merely its administrator, and therefore eventually responsible for his administration.
    • True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power. Mankind’s true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals.
  • We can never establish with certainty what part of our relations with others is the result of our emotions – love, antipathy, charity, or malice – and what part is predetermined by the constant power play among individuals.
  • Life in paradise was not like following straight line to the unknown; it was not an adventure. It moved in a circle among known objects. Its monotony bred happiness, not boredom.
    • And therein lies the whole of man’s plight. Human time does not turn in circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition.
  • The longing for Paradise is man’s longing not to be man.
    • Or to be more precise, man had not yet been cast out on man’s path.
  • Horror is a shock, a time of utter blindness. Horror lacks every hint of beauty. All we can see is the piercing light of an unknown waiting us. Sadness, on the other hand, assumes we are in the know.
  • Sometimes you make up your mind about something without knowing why, and your decision persists by the power of inertia. Every year it gets harder to change.
  • We all have tendency to consider strength the culprit and weakness the innocent victim.