December 31, 2010

Gianni Celati quote


By this time he was a man of some maturity, and a man who, that day, had combed his hair, shaved, put on a nice red tie, and come to a realization of what life is: a web of ceremonial relationships which hold together something that has no substance.

- Gianni Celati, Voices from the Plains


December 20, 2010

Dreams and Lying


The most effective lie is always the one closest to the truth. The closer the better. A dream is not true but is never a lie. There are various approaches for understanding dreams: as evidence of some deeper psychological truth, as alternate realities, as subtle yet surreal mental reprocessings of our daily life, as experiences equally valid to those had while awake. Due to the acuity of their strangeness, dreams practically call out for interpretation. However, since we don’t accurately know what consciousness is, since we don’t know precisely what or how we experience being awake, why would we be able to know what happens when we dream? There are also various approaches one might use to understand a lie. But one aspect generally agreed upon is that to tell the complete truth, and only the complete truth, at all times, is a disaster. There are different ways of being honest.


December 8, 2010

Albert Cossery on the government


“Number one is that the world we live in is governed by the most revolting bunch of crooks to ever defile the soil of this planet.”

“I couldn’t agree more. And number two?”

“Number two is that you must never take them seriously, for that is exactly what they want.”

- Albert Cossery


December 7, 2010

César Aira on the unbuilt


The unbuilt is characteristic of those arts whose realization requires the remunerated work of many people, the purchase of materials, the use of expensive equipment, etc. Cinema is the paradigmatic case: anyone can have an idea for a film, but then you need expertise, finance, personnel, and these obstacles mean that ninety-nine times out of a hundred the film doesn’t get made. Which might make you wonder if the prodigious bother of it all – which technological advances have exacerbated if anything – isn’t actually an essential part of cinema’s charm, since, paradoxically, it gives everyone access to movie-making, in the form of pure daydreaming. It’s the same in the other arts, to a greater or lesser extent. And yet it is possible to imagine an art in which the limitations of reality would be minimized, in which the made and the unmade would be indistinct, an art that would be instantaneously real, without ghosts. And perhaps that art exists, under the name of literature.

- César Aira


December 2, 2010

Six Fernando Pessoa Quotes


There are no norms. All people are exceptions to a rule that doesn’t exist.

Trying to revive tradition is like raising a ladder to climb up a wall that fell down. It’s interesting, because absurd, but only worth the bother because it’s not worth the bother.

The only basis for truth is self-contradiction. The universe contradicts itself, for it passes on. Life contradicts itself, for it dies. Paradox is nature’s norm. That’s why all truth has a paradoxical form.

My destiny belongs to another Law, whose existence you’re not even aware of, and it is ever more the slave of Masters who do not relent and do not forgive.

There’s a thin sheet of glass between me and life. However clearly I see and understand life, I cannot touch it.

One day, perhaps, they will understand that I carried out, as did no other, my inborn duty as interpreter of one particular period of our century; and when they do, they will write that I was misunderstood in my own times… and that it was a pity it should have been so. And the person writing, in whatever future epoch he or she may live, will be as mystified by my equivalent in that future time as are those around me now.