Sunday, August 31, 2008

all that we see, or seem

Excerpts from two books I've read recently – The Fall by Albert Camus and The Magus by John Fowles...

from The Fall:

Anyone who has considerably meditated on man, by profession or vocation, is led to feel nostalgia for the primates. They at least don't have any ulterior motives.

I sometimes think of what future historians will say of us. A single sentence will suffice for modern man: he fornicated and read the papers. After that vigorous definition, the subject will be, if I may say so, exhausted.

It seems to me that I was half unlearning what I had never learned and yet knew so well – how to live.

from The Magus:

"Why should I struggle through hundreds of pages of fabrication to reach half a dozen very little truths?"
"For fun?"
"Fun!" He pounced on the word. "Words are for truth. For facts. Not fiction."

We lay on the ground and kissed. Perhaps you smile. That we only lay on the ground and kisses. You young people can lend your bodies now, play with them, give them as we could not. But remember that you have paid a price: that of a world rich in mystery and delicate emotion. It is not only species of animal that die out, but whole species of feeling. And if you are wise, you will never pity the past for what it did not know, but pity yourself for what it did.

The rebel with no specific gift for rebellion is destines to become the drone; and even this metaphor is inexact, since the drone has at least a small chance of fecundating the queen, whereas the human rebel-drone is deprived even of that small chance and may finally see himself as totally sterile, lacking not only the brilliant life-success of the queens but even the humble satisfactions of the workers in the human hive. Such a personality is reduced to mere wax, a mere receiver of impressions; and this condition is the very negation of the basic drive in him – to rebel. It is no wonder that in middle age many such failed rebels, rebels turned self-conscious drones, aware of their susceptibility to intellectual vogues, adopt a mask of cynicism that cannot hide their more or less paranoiac sense of having been betrayed by life.

Her mouth without a cigarette was like a yacht without a mast; one presumed disaster.


posted by Jennifer at 8/31/2008 01:48:00 PM

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