“A book, even a fragmentary one, has a center which attracts it. This center is not fixed, but is displaced by the pressure of the book and circumstances of its composition. Yet it is also a fixed center which, if it is genuine, displaces itself, while remaining the same and becoming always more central, more hidden, more uncertain and more imperious. He who writes the book writes it out of desire for this center and out of ignorance. The feeling of having touched it can very well be only the illusion of having reached it. When the book in question is one whose purpose is to elucidate, there is a kind of methodological good faith in stating toward what point it seems to be directed: here, toward the pages entitled ‘Orpheus’ Gaze.”
—Maurice Blanchot, The Space of Literature.
Tag Archives: Quote
My Unique One
“This is what never could happen to us, don’t you think, my unique one, my only, lonely one, and not only because I have no doctrine to transmit, no disciple to seduce, but because my law, the law that undividedly reigns over my heart, is never to borrow your name, never to use it, not even in order to speak to yourself, only in order to call you, call you, call you, from afar, without a phrase, without a consequence, without end, without saying anything, not even “come,” now, not even “come back.””
—Jacques Derrida, The Post Card: From Socrates to Plato and Beyond.
Language as Secret
“I would like to write you so simply, so simply, so simply. Without having anything ever catch the eye, excepting yours alone, … so that above all the language remains self-evidently secret, as if it were being invented at every step, and as if it were burning immediately.”
—The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond; June 5, 1977.
“The easy possibility of writing letters—from a purely theoretical point of view—must have brought wrack and ruin to the souls of the world. Writing letters is actually an intercourse with ghosts and by no means just with the ghost of the addressee but also with one’s own ghost, which secretly evolves inside the letter one is writing or even in a whole series of letters, where one letter corroborates another and refer to it as witness. How did people ever get the idea they could communicate with another by letter! One can think about someone far away and can hold onto someone nearby; everything else is beyond human power. Writing letters, on the other hand, means exposing oneself to the ghosts who are greedily waiting precisely for that. Written kisses never arrive at their destination; the ghosts drink them up along the way. ”
— Franz Kafka, November 1920, Prague.
The Insane Animal
Animals as critics—I fear that the animals consider man as a being like themselves that has lost in a most dangerous way its sound animal common sense; they consider him the insane animal, the laughing animal, the weeping animal, the miserable animal.
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Aph. 224.
Not Originally Human
Ah, could it be that we were not originally human? And that, out of practical necessity, we became human? That horrifies me, as it does you.
–Clarice Lispector, The Passion According to G.H.
The Gods were Bored
Since boredom advances and boredom is the root of all evil, no wonder, then, that the world goes backwards, that evil spreads. This can be traced back to the very beginning of the world. The gods were bored; therefore they created human beings.
—Soren Kierkegaard, Either/or: A Fragment of Life (Ch. Crop Rotation).