Monday, March 28, 2016

HRABAL

"My education has been so unwitting I can't quite tell which of my thoughts come from me and which from my books, but that's how I've stayed attuned to myself and the world around me for the past thirty-five years. Because when I read, I don't really read; I pop a beautiful sentence in my mouth and suck it like a fruit drop, until the thought dissolves in me like alcohol, infusing brain and heart and coursing on through the veins to the root of each blood vessel."

"When my eye lands on a real book and looks past the printed word, what it sees is disembodied thoughts flying through air, gliding on air, living off air, returning to air, because int he end everything is air, just as the host is and is not the blood of Christ."

"I could see how right Rimbaud was when he wrote that the battle of the spirit is as terrible as any armed conflict; I could grasp the true meaning of Christ's cruel words, "I came not to send peace, but a sword"; and having received my education unwittingly, I was always amazed at Hegel and what he taught me, namely, that the only thing on earth worthy of fear is a situation that is petrified, congealed, or dying, and the only thing worthy of joy is a situation where not only the individual but also society as a whole wages a constant battle for self-justification."

"Jesus and Lao-tze had been standing together in the drum of my hydraulic press; now that I was alone again, wound in wires of flesh flies but left to my own devices and the routine of my work, I saw Jesus as a tennis champion who has just won his first Wimbledon and Lao-tze as a destitute merchant, I saw Jesus in the sanguine corporality of his ciphers and symbols and Lao-tze in a shroud, pointing at an unhewn plank; I saw Jesus as a playboy and Lao-tze as an old gland-abandoned bachelor; I saw Jesus raising an imperious arm to damn his enemies and Lao-tze as a classicist, Jesus as the flow, Lao-tze as the ebb, Jesus as spring, Lao-tze as autumn, Jesus as the embodiment of love for one's neighbor, Lao-tze as the height of emptiness, Jesus as progressus ad futurum, Lao-tze as regressus ad originem."

"Neither the heaven are human nor is life above or below--or within me."

"She seemed to squint a little, it was not because she had bad vision but because one of her eyes had simply got stuck while staring beyond the threshold of the infinite into the very center of an equilateral triangle, into the very heart of being, or, as a Catholic existentialist once put it, her defective eye symbolized the diamond's eternal blemish."

"EVERY BELOVED OBJECT IS THE CENTER OF A GARDEN OF PARADISE."

"I stood before the oval pool, where naked children were playing, and noticed the stripes across their midriffs from the elastic in their pants. Hasidic Jews in Galicia used to wear belts of loud, vivid stripes to cut the body in two, to separate the more acceptable part, which included the heart, lungs, liver, and head, from the part with the intestines and sexual organs, which was barely tolerated. Catholic priests raised the line of demarcation, making the clerical collar a visible sign of the primacy of the head, where God in Person dips His fingers. As I watched the children playing naked and saw the stripes across their midriffs, I thought of nuns, who sliced head from face with one cruel stripe, stuffing it in to the armor of the starched coif like Formula One drivers."

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