Wakeful glimpse of the wonder

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‘Celebration . . . is self-restraint, is attentiveness, is questioning, is meditating, is awaiting, is the step over into the more wakeful glimpse of the wonder – the wonder that a world is worlding around us at all, that there are beings rather than nothing, that things are and we ourselves are in their midst, that we ourselves are and yet barely know who we are, and barely know that we do not know all this.’

Martin Heidegger, quoted as the epigraph to the first chapter of Richard Polt’s Heidegger: an introduction.

I’m preparing for another attempt to read Being and Time, encouraged by Danyl McLauchlan’s Tranquility and Ruin. I read the latter out of curiosity, thinking I was reading against the grain, but instead found his writing on metaphysics, meditation, Heidegger and effective altruism thought provoking. It’s another rabbit hole, but not so different from the Andrei Bely-Nietzsche train of thought I was chasing before reading McLauchlan’s book.

Genre no longer interests me. . .

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“Genre no longer interests me. What interests me is mystery. Is there some ritual attached to mystery? I believe there is. In order to adhere to the certainty of things. Meanwhile, I somehow already adhere to the earth. I am a daughter of nature: I want to hold things, feel them, touch them, I want to exist. And this is all part of a totality, of a mystery. I am but one being. But there was a difference between the writer and me (or am I wrong? I cannot be certain). But no longer. I am but one being. And I leave you to be yourself. Does that frighten you? I believe it does. But it is worthwhile. Even if it hurts. For the pain soon passes.”

Clarice Lispector, Words From the Typewriter

The march toward old age. . .

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“The march toward old age, and let’s say it plainly, toward death, continues to provide unimaginable surprises, as if everything were an invention, a spectacle in which I am both actor and audience, and in which the scenes are characterised quite often by their parodic quality, like a laughable but also harsh theatrical illusion.”

Sergio Pitol, The Art of Flight

I became a particle of light myself. . .

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“As I crouched on the pavement now, looking down at the stagnant green water, I could picture as in a dream or a film that spot as it had appeared back then, some fifteen years earlier: a spot clad in flowers and fruit trees, where the sunshine seemed to have congealed. It was bright and tranquil, disquietingly so. That was the sight that presented itself just beyond the historic old gate, as one stepped under it out of the avenue’s din of tramways and traffic. I used to think that I must never tell anybody about this discovery of mine. No one else must know about this place that made me yearn to dissolve until I became a particle of light myself. The way that light cohered in one place was unearthly. I gazed at its stillness without every going in through the gate.”

Yuko Tsushima, Territory of Light

Franz Kafka’s letters. . .

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“But I still can’t comprehend it. Why did I get up back then and, only half-awake, walk over to the bookshelves? Why did I pull out the volume with Franz Kafka’s letters, which revived the moment of my birth in me, and everything else? No, for as long as I can stand it I won’t read any more, for as long as even the shadow of a memory brushes me as I walk past the shelf with his books I won’t take out another volume, I won’t open another page. And this shadow will brush me for as long as I’m still breathing and see the books standing there. No, I won’t read any more. For as long as I’m still breathing, I won’t keep on reading. One thing or the other.”

Ilse Aichinger, Breathing as an Imposition