I have wrestled with death. It is the most unexciting contest you can imagine. It takes place in an impalpable grayness, with nothing underfoot, with nothing around, without spectators, without clamor, without glory, without the great desire of victory, without the great fear of defeat, in a sickly atmosphere of tepid skepticism, without much belief in your own right, and still less in that of your adversary. If such is the form of ultimate wisdom, then life is a greater riddle than some of us think it to be. I was within a hair’s-breadth of the last opportunity for pronouncement, and I found with humiliation that probably I would have nothing to say.
A man who lies to himself, and believes his own lies, becomes unable to recognize truth, either in himself or in anyone else, and he ends up losing respect for himself and for others. When he has no respect for anyone, he can no longer love, and in him, he yields to his impulses, indulges in the lowest form of pleasure, and behaves in the end like an animal in satisfying his vices. And it all comes from lying — to others and to yourself.
Fyodor Dostoevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Gustav Klimt University of Vienna Ceiling Paintings 1900
Is there in the whole world a being who would have the right to forgive and could forgive? I don’t want harmony. From love for humanity I don’t want it. I would rather be left with the unavenged suffering. I would rather remain with my unavenged suffering and unsatisfied indignation, even if I were wrong. Besides, too high a price is asked for harmony; it’s beyond our means to pay so much to enter on it. And so I hasten to give back my entrance ticket, and if I am an honest man I am bound to give it back as soon as possible. And that I am doing. It’s not God that I don’t accept, Alyosha, only I most respectfully return him the ticket.
Ivan Karamazov - The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (via jpsearle)
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But my contention is that the more we learn about ourselves, about our several histories, traditions, languages, and cultures, about the multiple ways in which human lives are constituted, the more we will conclude that, in the face of such polymorphic, prolific, and positively dizzying diversity, our best bet is to put our shoulders to the cart of a kind of felicitous nominalism, a happy, anti-essentialist open-endedness. Our best is to say yes, yes and amen to the prudent wisdom of the absolute secret, to a happy minimalism about who we think we are, or who others are, or what history or nature or sexuality is, or who God is. That minimalism will maximize the possibilities and keep the door open to results that have not come in yet; it will multiply the opportunities for what Derrida calls l’inventions de l’autre, the incomings of something we did not see coming. (…) I insist that this non-essentialism is not bad news, and that I have come to pipe, not mourn. The absolute secret is something salutary and saving, a positively evangelical proclamation (which means good news) of the inescapability of interpretation, of the necessity to find our way as best we can, to invent and discover, to imagine and dream, to pray and weep for ways to be that are yet to come.
John D. Caputo: More Radical Hermeneutics, 6, 2000. (via retorsion)