Rubens. Detail from Moses and the Brazen Serpent, 1610.
The universe is a solitary place, and all its creatures do nothing but reinforce in solitude. In it, I have never met anyone, I have only stumbled across ghosts.
In a morbid condition of the brain, dreams often have a singular actuality, vividness and extraordinary semblance of reality. At times monstrous images are created, but the setting and the whole picture are so truthlike and filled with details so delicate, so unexpected, but so artistically consistent that the dreamer, were he an artist like Pushkin or Turgenev even, could never have invented them in the waking state. Such sick dreams always remain in the memory and make a powerful impression on the overwrought and deranged nervous system.
1968 | 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY | Stanley Kubrick
Yet even so there is but one world and everything that is imaginable is necessary to it. For this world also which seems to us a thing of stone and flower and blood is not a thing at all but is a tale. And all in it is a tale and each tale the sum of all lesser tales and yet these also are the selfsame tale and contain as well all else within them. So everything is necessary. Every least thing. This is the hard lesson. Nothing can be dispensed with. Nothing despised. Because the seams are hid from us, you see. The joinery. The way in which the world is made. We have no way to know what could be taken away. What omitted. We have no way to tell what might stand and what might fall. And those seams that are hid from us are of course in the tale itself and the tale has no abode or place of being except in the telling only and there it lives and makes its home and therefore we can be done with the telling.
Cormac McCarthy, from The Crossing (via cuttyspot
I’ve never been lonely. I’ve been in a room — I’ve felt suicidal. I’ve been depressed. I’ve felt awful — awful beyond all — but I never felt that one other person could enter that room and cure what was bothering me… or that any number of people could enter that room. In other words, loneliness is something I’ve never been bothered with because I’ve always had this terrible itch for solitude. It’s being at a party, or at a stadium full of people cheering for something, that I might feel loneliness. I’ll quote Ibsen, “The strongest men are the most alone.” I’ve never thought, “Well, some beautiful blonde will come in here and give me a fuck-job, rub my balls, and I’ll feel good.” No, that won’t help. You know the typical crowd, “Wow, it’s Friday night, what are you going to do? Just sit there?” Well, yeah. Because there’s nothing out there. It’s stupidity. Stupid people mingling with stupid people. Let them stupidify themselves. I’ve never been bothered with the need to rush out into the night. I hid in bars, because I didn’t want to hide in factories. That’s all. Sorry for all the millions, but I’ve never been lonely. I like myself. I’m the best form of entertainment I have. Let’s drink more wine!
Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense.
The blind man said that the world in which he made his way was very different from what men suppose and in fact was scarcely world at all. He said that to close one’s eyes told nothing. Any more than sleeping told of death. He said that it was not a matter of illusion or no illusion. He spoke of the broad dryland barrial and the river and the road and the mountains beyond and the blue sky over them as entertainments to keep the world at bay, the true and ageless world. He said that the light of the world was in men’s eyes only for the world itself moved in eternal darkness and darkness was its true nature and true condition and that in this darkness it turned with perfect cohesion in all its parts but that there was naught there to see. He said that the world was sentient to its core and secret and black beyond men’s imagining and that its nature did not reside in what could be seen or not seen.
Me gustaría perder el juicio con una sola condición: tener la certeza de ser un loco jovial, sin problemas ni obsesiones, jocoso durante todo el día. A pesar de mi deseo vehemente de éxtasis luminosos, si estuviese loco no los desearía, dado que tras ellos siempre se producen depresiones. Por el contrario, me gustaría que un manantial de luz brotase de mí para transfigurar el universo -un manantial que, lejos de la tension del éxtasis, conservara la calma de una eternidad luminosa, que tuviera la ligereza de la gracia y el calor de una sonrisa. Quisiera que el mundo entero flotase en un sueño de claridad, en ese encantamiento transparente e inmaterial. Que no hubiese ya obstáculos ni materia, forma o confines. Y que en ese paraíso yo muriese de luz.
E.M. Cioran (En las cimas de la desesperación, 1933)