Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (10)

One evening toward the end of March, I was a bit late coming home. Nothing unusual: I had fallen into the hands of a learned friend, who wanted to expound to me some of his ideas about the origins of Christianity. For the first time I was obliged to think about those origins, yet I endured the long lesson to please my friend. It was cold and drizzling. Everything was unpleasant and gloomy, including the Greeks and the Jews of whom my friend spoke; still, I submitted to that suffering for a good two hours. My usual weakness! I could bet that even today I’d be equally incapable of resisting, if someone made a serious attempt to persuade me to study astronomy for a while.


The Moviegoer: quotes (11)

As for hobbies, people with stimulating hobbies suffer from the most noxious of despairs since they are tranquillized in their despair. I muse along as quietly as a ghost. Instead of trying to sleep I try to fathom the mystery of this suburb at dawn. Why do these splendid houses look so defeated at this hour of the day? Other houses, say adobe house in New Mexico or an old frame house in Feliciana, look much the same day or night. But these new houses look haunted. Even the churches out here look haunted. What spirit takes possession of them? My poor father. I can see him, blundering through the patio furniture, the Junior Jets and the Lone Ranger pup tents, dragging his Saskatchewan sleeping bag like the corpse of his dead hope.


A Confederacy of Dunces: quotes (10)

“Ignatius, what’s all this trash on the floor?”

“That is my worldview that you see. It still must be incorporated into a whole, so be careful where you step.”

“And all the shutters closed. Ignatius! It’s still light outside.”

“My being is not without its Proustian elements,” Ignatius said from the bed, to which he had quickly returned. “Oh, my stomach.”

“It smells terrible in here.”

“Well, what do you expect? The human body, when confined, produces certain odors which we tend to forget in this age of deodorants and other perversions. Actually, I find the atmosphere of this room rather comforting. Schiller needed the scent of apples rotting in his desk in order to write. I too, have my needs. You may remember that Mark Twain preferred to lie supinely in bed while composing those rather dated and boring efforts which contemporary scholars try to prove meaningful. Veneration of Mark Twain is one of the roots of our current intellectual stalemate”.

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Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (9)

I was then so meek that now, when I’m tortured by remorse for not having loved him enough before he died, I always summon up that scene. To be sincere, I have to add that it was easy for me to submit to his arrangements because at that time I found the idea of being forced not to work rather attractive.


The Moviegoer: quotes (10)

“What is a repetition? A repetition is the re-enactment of past experience toward the end of isolating the time segment which has lapsed in order that it, the lapsed time, can be savored of itself and without the usual adulteration of events that clog time like peanuts in brittle. Last week, for example, I experienced an accidental repetition. I picked up a German-language weekly in the library. In it I noticed an advertisement for Nivea Creme, showing a woman with a grainy face turned up to the sun. Then I remembered that twenty years ago I saw the same advertisement in a magazine on my father’s desk, the same woman, the same grainy face, the same Nivea Creme. The events of the intervening twenty years were neutralized, the thirty million deaths, the countless torturings, uprootings and wanderings to and fro. Nothing of consequence could have happened because Nivea Creme was exactly as it was before. There remained only time itself, like a yard of smooth peanut brittle.”

“The enduring is something which must be accounted for. One cannot simply shrug it off.”


Dislocating the self: The self is not in the brain, or the mind

Shaun Gallagher for The Institute of Art and Ideas.

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