Parva Scaena (Brief Scenes): Set Thirty Three

Parva Scaena (Brief Scenes): Set Thirty-Three

“A man lives not only his personal life, as an individual, but also, consciously or unconsciously, the life of his epoch and his contemporaries. He may regard the general, impersonal foundations of his existence as definitely settled and taken for granted, and be as far from assuming a critical attitude towards them as our good Hans Castorp really was; yet it is quite conceivable that he may none the less be vaguely conscious of the deficiencies of his epoch and find them prejudicial to his own moral well-being. All sorts of personal aims, hopes, ends, prospects, hover before the eyes of the individual, and out of these he derives the impulse to ambition and achievement. Now, if the life about him, if his own time seems, however outwardly stimulating, to be at bottom empty of such food for his aspirations; if he privately recognises it to be hopeless, viewless, helpless, opposing only a hollow silence to all the questions man puts, consciously or unconsciously, yet somehow puts, as to the final, absolute, and abstract meaning in all his efforts and activities; then, in such a case, a certain laming of the personality is bound to occur, the more inevitably the more upright the character in question; a sort of palsy, as it were, which may extend from his spiritual and moral over into his physical and organic part. In an age that affords no satisfying answer to the eternal question of ‘Why?’ ‘To what end?’ a man who is capable of achievement over and above the expected modicum must be equipped either with a moral remoteness and single-mindedness which is rare indeed and of heroic mould, or else with an exceptionally robust vitality. ”
Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

The Black and White Collection: WP Set Five

“I want to fulfill myself in one of the rarest of destinies. I have only a dim notion of what it
will be. I want it to have not a graceful curve slightly bent toward evening but a hitherto unseen beauty
lovely because of the danger which works away at it overwhelms it undermines it. Oh let me be only utter
beauty I shall go quickly or slowly but I shall dare what must be dared. I shall destroy appearances the
casings will burn away and one evening I shall appear there in the palm of your hand quiet and pure like a
glass statuette. You will see me. Round about me there will be nothing left.” 

-Jean Genet, The Thief’s Journal

 

The Men and the Quote

Twenty-One Men

“All errour is prejudicial: it is by deceiving himself that man is plunged in misery. He neglected Nature; he understood not her laws; he formed gods of the most preposterous kinds: these became the sole objects of his hope, the creatures of his fear, and he trembled under these visionary deities; under the supposed influence of imaginary beings created by himself; under the terrour inspired by blocks of stone; by logs of wood; by flying fish; or else under the frowns of men, mortal as himself, whom his distempered fancy had elevated above that Nature of which alone he is capable of forming any idea.”
Baron d’Holbach

My thanks to a great blog: https://doctordee.tumblr.com

The Black and White Collection: WP Set Four

“But the very question of whether photography is or is not an art is essentially a misleading one. Although photography generates works that can be called art –it requires subjectivity, it can lie, it gives aesthetic pleasure– photography is not, to begin with, an art form at all. Like language, it is a medium in which works of art (among other things) are made. Out of language, one can make scientific discourse, bureaucratic memoranda, love letters, grocery lists, and Balzac’s Paris. Out of photography, one can make passport pictures, weather photographs, pornographic pictures, X-rays, wedding pictures, and Atget’s Paris.

Photography is not an art like, say, painting and poetry. Although the activities of some photographers conform to the traditional notion of a fine art, the activity of exceptionally talented individuals producing discrete objects that have value in themselves, from the beginning photography has also lent itself to that notion of art which says that art is obsolete. The power of photography –and its centrality in present aesthetic concerns– is that it confirms both ideas of art. But the way in which photography renders art obsolete is, in the long run, stronger.”
Susan Sontag, On Photography

All images reblogged with many thanks to Synopsibility located at: http://jimbo1126.tumblr.com

Parva Scaena

Parva Scaena (Brief Scenes): Set Thirty Two

“Chingachgook grasped the hand that, in the warmth of feeling, the scout had stretched across the fresh earth, and in that attitude of friendship these intrepid woodsmen bowed their heads together, while scalding tears fell to their feet, watering the grave of Uncas like drops of falling rain.”
James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans

Seated Men

“And often he who has chosen the fate of the artist because he felt himself to be different soon realizes that he can maintain neither his art nor his difference unless he admits that he is like the others. The artist forges himself to the others, midway between the beauty he cannot do without and the community he cannot tear himself away from.”
Albert Camus

The Light and the Shadow

“We Orientals tend to seek our satisfactions in whatever surroundings we happen to find ourselves, to content ourselves with things as they are; and so darkness causes us no discontent, we resign ourselves to it as inevitable. If light is scarce, then light is scarce; we will immerse ourselves in the darkness and there discover its own particular beauty. But the progressive Westerner is determined always to better his lot. From candle to oil lamp, oil lamp to gaslight, gaslight to electric light—his quest for a brighter light never ceases, he spares no pains to eradicate even the minutest shadow.”
Junichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows

Parts and Pieces

The Parts and Pieces Making a Whole: Set Twenty

“If man made himself the first object of study, he would see how incapable he is of going further. How can a part know the whole? But he may perhaps aspire to know at least the parts to which he bears some proportion. But the parts of the world are all so related and linked to one another, that I believe it impossible to know one without the other and without the whole.

Man, for instance, is related to all he knows. He needs a place wherein to abide, time through which to live, motion in order to live, elements to compose him, warmth and food to nourish him, air to breathe. He sees light; he feels bodies; in short, he is in a dependant alliance with everything. To know man, then, it is necessary to know how it happens that he needs air to live, and, to know the air, we must know how it is thus related to the life of man, etc. Flame cannot exist without air; therefore to understand the one, we must understand the other.

Since everything then is cause and effect, dependant and supporting, mediate and immediate, and all is held together by a natural though imperceptible chain, which binds together things most distant and most different, I hold it equally impossible to know the parts without knowing the whole, and to know the whole without knowing the parts in detail.”
Blaise Pascal

Memory

 

“You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of home. People talk to you a great deal about your education, but some good, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If a man carries many such memories with him into life, he is safe to the end of his days, and if one has only one good memory left in one’s heart, even that may sometime be the means of saving us.”
Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov 

Parva Scaena

Parva Scaena (Brief Scenes): Set Thirty One

“We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies—all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes.”
Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Preception

And then- the Glory. . .

One Dozen Men

“Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then -the glory- so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man’s importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from all other men. ”
John Steinbeck, East of Eden