The paranoid as Buddhist: Schopenhauer’s uniqueness.
The thinker has emptiness around him. He pushes everything away until there is enough emptiness around him, and then starts leaping from this to that. In his leaps, he creates his road. The ground is sure only because he steps on it; everything in between is doubt.
The illuminating mind is like lightning, it flashes rapidly over the greatest distances. It leaves everything aside and shoots for one thing, which it does not know before illuminating it. Its effectivity begins when it strikes. Without some minimum of destruction, without terror, it never takes shape for human beings. Illumination per se is too boundless and too shapeless. The fate of the new knowledge depends on the place of the striking.
All days referring to days that will never come.
The unbroken, how do they do it? The unshaken, what are they made of? When it is past, what do they breathe? When it is still, what do they hear? When the felled one does not stand up again, how do they walk? Where do they find a word? What wind blows over their eyelashes? Who opens the dead ear for them? Who breathes the frozen name? When the sun of eyes goes out, where do they find the light?
It might be that only the unhappiest man is truly capable of some happiness, and this could almost seem like justice – but then there are the dead, and they seem to be silent about that.
I knew him when he walked down the street with hateful fingers and snarled. He was still young, and he thought he needed no one. The distaste he felt towards aging passers-by influenced his motion; he walked along in kicks as it were. He noticed everyone, because he disliked everyone. As for friends, he knew – and he was fortunate – that he had no friends. It rained on everyone, and it humiliated him that the others felt the very same drops on their skin as he did.
He would like to start from scratch. Where is scratch?
The new, the actual discoveries about animals are possible only because our pride as God’s highest creature is a thing of the past. It turns out that we are really God’s highest creature, that is to say, God’s executioner in his world.
‘The Oriental church fathers claimed that Christ was uglier than any man who ever lived. For in order to redeem mankind, he had to take upon himself all of Adam’s sins and even his physical blemishes.’
Wretched the man who knows. How wretched God must be, all-knowing.
More than ever before, there are things in the world that would like to be said.
The prestige that writers draw from their martyrs: from Holderlin, Kleist, Walser. Thus with all their claim to freedom, vastness, and inventiveness, they merely form a sect.
I wonder whether among those who build their leisurely, secure, linear academic lives on the lives of writers who lived in poverty and despair – I wonder whether even one of those people is ashamed.
The end, no matter how one glosses over it, is so senseless that no attempt at explaining Creation will mean anything, not even the concept of God as a playing child: the child would have lost interest long ago.
Stupidity has become less interesting, it spreads in the twinkling of an eye and is always the same in everyone.
[…] But he is naturally so much, that he needs a different balance from other people. It is not stilts that he walks on, he always rests roundly upon himself as a gigantic world-globe of the mind; and in order to understand him, one has to orbit him like a small moon, a humiliating role, but the only suitable one in his case.
Everywhere, two paces from your daily paths, there is a different air sceptically waiting for you.
There is a wailing wall of humanity, and that is where I stand.
So long as one says ‘tomorrow’, one means ‘always’; that’s why one loves saying ‘tomorrow’.
It is true that he seduces one into taking leaps. But who is capable of them? Lichtenberg is a flea with a human mind. He has that incomparable strength to leap away from himself – where will he leap to next?
To find an old man who has forgotten how to count.
What are you ashamed of when you read Kafka? You’re ashamed of your strength.
Not to wait until dreams become laments.
God put the rib back into Adam’s side, blew out his breath, and deformed him back into clay.
The last people will not weep.
What if it should turn out that we, the everlasting penitents for the future, had lived in the best of all possible time!
If people were to keep trying, even a thousand times, to examine how we managed to have so much freedom, so much air, so many ideas!
Many worm-thoughts: cut in two, they continue to grow.
This whole immense life, multiplying endlessly – for us? Only God can believe that.
I always know better, I have a terribly accurate knowledge of people; yet this knowledge does not interest me, anyone who has lived a while could have it. I am interested in what refutes this knowledge, what annuls it. I would like to turn a usurer into a benefactor, a bookkeeper into a poet. I am interested in the leap, the surprising metamorphosis.
There is nothing more to be found, no unknown species of man. Now is the time for entangling all that we know.
The Stoics overcome death by death. The death one commits on oneself doesn’t harm one any more, so one need not fear it.
Pause until the rediscovery of eternity.
Long before the creation of the world, there were philosophers. They were lying in ambush in order to be able to say that everything is good. For hadn’t they thought of it? And how could something they had thought of fail to be good? As their thought, they brought forth the dubious formation, and they giggled over the correctness of their prophesy.
It’s long, long past that he lived under cover of hatred.
It is possible that we are seeing a false history. Perhaps the correct one can be revealed only when death is beaten.
When one knows how false everything is, when one is capable of measuring the extent of falseness, then and only then is stubbornness the best thing: endless striding of the tiger along the bars of the cage so as not to miss the single tiny instant of salvation.
From Elias Canetti’s The Human Province