"In order that the mind may not be taxed, moreover, by the manifold and confused reading of so many such things, and in order to prevent the escape of something valuable that we have read, heard, or discovered through the process of thinking itself, it will be found very useful to entrust to notebooks ... those things which seem noteworthy and striking."

[Commonplace books: Thomas Farnaby, 17th-century]

I keep going, and I don't know: have I gotten into stench and shame, or into light and joy? That's the whole trouble, because everything on earth is a riddle. And whenever I happened to sink into the deepest, the very deepest shame of depravity (and that's all I ever happened to do), I always read that poem about Ceres and man. Did it set me right? Never! Because I'm a Karazamov. Because when I fall the abyss, I go straight into it, head down and heels up, and I'm even pleased that I'm falling in just such a humiliating position, and for me I find it beautiful. And so in that very shame I suddenly begin a hymn. Let me be cursed, let me be base and vile, but let me also kiss the hem of that garment in which my God is clothed; let me be following the devil at the same time, but still I am also your son, Lord, and I love you, and I feel a joy without which the world cannot stand and be.

[Joy without which the world cannot stand and be: Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov]

Posted by mariadib on 05.10.2009

§

The painter Kramskoy has a remarkable painting entitled The Contemplator; it depicts a forest in winter, and in the forest, standing all by himself on the road, in deepest solitude, a stray little peasant in a ragged caftan and bast shoes; he stands as if he were lost in thought, but he is not thinking, he is "contemplating" something. If you nudged him, he would give a start and look at you as if he had just woken up, but without understanding anything. It's true that he would come to himself at once, and yet, if he were asked what he had been thinking about while standing there, he would most likely not remember, but would most likely keep hidden away in himself the impression he had been under while contemplating. These impressions are dear to him, and he is mot likely storing them up imperceptibly and even without realizing it--why and what for, he does not know either; perhaps suddenly, having stored up his impressions over many years, he will drop everything-and wander off to Jerusalem to save his soul, or perhaps he will suddenly burn down his native village, or perhaps he will do both. There are plenty of contemplators among the people.

[The Contemplator: Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov]

Posted by mariadib on 05.10.2009

§

  • 1
  •  Per page: