Till we find our original face.

698 notes

Nietzsche is dead

God, 1900 (via wishinfoolius)


(via kaylapocalypse)

Zarathustra was commenting on the coldness of religious belief in the modern age. When Zarathustra mentions that god is dead he is speaking a truth in society that the effective power of god in the daily life of citizens of the culture was ineffective. Zarathustra then speaks to man being the agent of his own meaning. We maintain this same thought today. We use different language, but when someone says “follow your dreams” they are effectively echoing the statement, “god is dead” for no religious community would ever have as a rule the belief that each individual is the agent of his own happiness.

This is, in very simplistic terms, what Nietzsche was declaring in this book.

(via howitzerliterarysociety)

(via howitzerliterarysociety)

35 notes

'Fail better,' Samuel Beckett commanded, a phrase that has been taken on by business executives as some kind of ersatz wisdom. They have missed the point completely. Beckett didn’t mean failure-on-the-way-to-delayed-success, which is what the FailCon crowd thinks he meant. To fail better, to fail gracefully and with composure, is so essential because there’s no such thing as success. It’s failure all the way down.

At the center of this web of catastrophes and losses and despairs and mistakes sits a single, obvious culprit: the act of writing itself. In the best work, the intentions of the author fall away, leaving an open field for readers to play in, and they create meanings that may have nothing to do with the author’s. Jonathan Swift famously intended ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ as an indictment of all humanity but ended up leaving a story for children. The joy of language is also a torment. ‘Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to,’ Flaubert wrote, ‘while we long to make music that will melt the stars.’

When I hear the phrase ‘writing community,’ usually uttered by those without enough talent to hate other writers for theirs, my first instinct is to reach for the napalm. But failure really does bind us. Flaubert longing to melt the stars and the kid receiving her first rejection letter are the same. All of our little streams pour out into the ocean of total uncaring. If there are to be any claims to greatness, they are to be found only in the scope of the failure and persistence in the face of it. That persistence may be the one truly writerly virtue, a salvation indistinguishable from stupidity. To keep going, despite everything. To keep bellying up to the cosmic irrelevance. To keep failing.

Stephen Marche, “Failure is Our Muse”  (via elliottholt)

224 notes

Poetry leads to the same place as all forms of eroticism — to the blending and fusion of separate objects. It leads us to eternity, it leads us to death, and through death to continuity. Poetry is eternity; the sun matched with the sea.
Georges Bataille, Death and Sensuality  (via 1109-83)

(Source: ljosio, via belacqui)

217 notes

Today’s literary professionals are caught between institutional professionalism and the subversive impulse that brought them to literature in the first place. Whereas the mods were defiantly stylish and mildly rebellious while longing for a greater degree of respectability, English professors are respectable and professional while longing for the passion and engagement and excitement of literature, the Thing Itself of reading. This Thing—call it insight, inspiration, or truth—whatever it was at first, it wasn’t about wanting to publish papers. It wasn’t about wanting to be right. It wasn’t about wanting to talk well or talk fast. It wasn’t about wanting an open schedule, praise for one’s own thoughts, or (though I’m not sure about this one) sex with admirers. It was about literature telling us something we weren’t getting anywhere else. We stayed up late thinking about it and it changed the way we saw the world the next morning.
Going Underground by Raphael Allison - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics (via guernicamag)

(via guernicamag)

44 notes

Neither plenitude nor vacancy. Only a flicker
Over the strained time-ridden faces
Distracted from distraction by distraction
Filled with fancies and empty of meaning
Tumid apathy with no concentration
Men and bits of paper, whirled by the cold wind
Wind in and out of unwholesome lungs
Time before and time after.
T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets (via whyallcaps)

(via whyallcaps)

14 notes

To me, at least in retrospect, the really interesting question is why dullness proves to be such a powerful impediment to attention. Why we recoil from the dull. Maybe it’s because dullness is intrinsically painful; maybe that’s where phrases like ‘deadly dull’ or ‘excruciatingly’ dull’ come from. But there might be more to it. Maybe dullness is associated with psychic pain because something that’s dull or opaque fails to provide enough stimulation to distract people from some other, deeper type of pain that is always there, if only in an ambient low-level way, and which most of us spend nearly all our time and energy trying to distract ourselves from feeling, or at least from feeling directly or with our full attention. Admittedly, the whole thing’s pretty confusing, and hard to talk about abstractly… but surely something must lie behind not just Muzak in dull or tedious places anymore but now also actual TV in waiting rooms, supermarkets’ checkouts, airports’ gates, SUVs’ backseats. Walkmen, iPods, BlackBerries, cell phones that attach to your head. This terror of silence with nothing diverting to do. I can’t think anyone really believes that today’s so-called ‘information society’ is just about information. Everyone knows it’s about something else, way down.
David Foster Wallace, The Pale King (via invisibleforeigner)