One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Chateaubriand on Religious Thinking

I struck a bargain with a captain called Desjardins: he had to carry the Abbé Nagot, Superior of the Saint-Sulpice Seminary, to Baltimore, with several seminarists in their principal’s care. These companions on the voyage would have been more to my liking four years earlier: from being the zealous Christian I once was, I had become a free thinker, that is to say a feeble thinker. This change in my religious opinions had been brought about by reading philosophical works. I believed, in all good faith, that a religious mind was partially paralysed, that there were truths which would not occur to it, however superior it might be otherwise. This smug pride led me astray: I inferred in the religious mind the absence of a faculty which is found precisely in the philosophic mind; a limited intelligence thinks it sees all, because it opens its eyes wide; a superior intelligence consents to close its eyes because it sees all within. One final thing completed my misery: the groundless despair I carried in my heart’s depths.

Chateaubriand on Politics

Free from all ties, I had, on the one hand, quite heated arguments with my brother and Président de Rosanbo; and on the other, no less bitter discussions with Ginguené, La Harpe, and Chamfort. Since my early youth, my political impartiality had pleased no one. Moreover, I only attached importance to the questions raised at that time because of common ideas of human liberty and dignity; personally, politics bored me; my true life lay in more exalted regions.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Chateaubriand on the Perfect 10

In old Paris, in the precincts of Saint-Germain-des-Près, in the cloisters of monasteries, in the vaults of Saint-Denis, in Notre-Dame, in the narrow streets of the Cité, at Héloïse’s humble door, I saw my enchantress again; but she had assumed, beneath the Gothic arches, and among the tombs, something of a deathlike appearance: she was pallid, she looked at me with melancholy eyes; she was only the shadow or the manes of the dream I had loved.

Chateaubriand on the French Revolution

The Revolution would have carried me along with it, if it had not begun criminally: I saw the first head aloft on the end of a pike, and I recoiled. Murder can never be a subject for admiration in my eyes, nor an argument in favour of liberty; I know of nothing more servile, contemptible, cowardly and stupid than a terrorist. Have I not encountered in France the whole race of Brutus in the service of Caesar and his police? The levellers, regenerators, and cut-throats were transformed to valets, spies, sycophants, and still more unnaturally into dukes, counts and barons: how medieval!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Dali-Day (1st Annual)

😀To counteract all the "blacks" (e.g., black Thursday night, black Friday, black cyber Monday, ...).


From Chateaubriand's Memoirs

Our existence flies past so swiftly, that if we do not write in the evening the events of the morning, the effort burdens us and we no longer have time to bring them to light. That does not prevent us wasting our lives, scattering to the winds those hours that for mankind are the seeds of eternity.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Grounded: Xmas Trees and the Colorado Lagoon [2016]

This year the lagoon is "under construction." Which means: this year -- at least floating Xmas-tree-wise -- we'll have to "make do."

Happy Holidays!



Excerpt: Chateaubriand's Mémoires d'outre-tombe ("Memoirs from Beyond the Grave")

Now I come to a moment when I need strength to confess my weakness. The man who attempts his own life shows the feebleness of his character rather than the power of his soul.

I owned a hunting rifle whose worn trigger often fired when un-cocked. I charged this gun with three bullets, and went to a remote part of the Great Mall. I cocked the weapon, placed the muzzle in my mouth, and struck the butt on the ground: I repeated the attempt several times: the gun did not fire; the appearance of a gamekeeper altered my resolution. An unconscious and involuntary fatalist, I concluded my hour had not yet come, and I deferred the execution of my plan to another day. If I had killed myself, all I have achieved would have been buried with me; nothing would have been known of the tale which led to my catastrophe; I would have swelled the crowd of nameless unfortunates, I would not have induced anyone to follow the trail of my sorrows, as a wounded man leaves a trail of blood.

Those who might be troubled by these scenes, and be tempted to imitate these follies, those who might attach themselves to my memory by means of my illusions, must remember that they hear only a dead man’s voice. Reader, whom I shall never know, nothing remains: nothing is left of me but that which I am in the hands of the living God who has judged me.

Chateaubriand: 1768 - 1848

François-René, Vicomte de Chateaubriand (/ʃæˌtbrˈɑːn/;[1] French: [fʁɑ̃swa ʁəne də ʃɑtobʁijɑ̃]; September 4, 1768 – July 4, 1848) was a French writer, politician, diplomat, and historian, who is considered the founder of Romanticism in French literature. Descended from an old aristocratic family from Brittany, Chateaubriand was a royalist by political disposition; in an age when a number of intellectuals turned against the Church, he authored the Génie du christianisme in defense of the Catholic faith. His works include the autobiography Mémoires d'outre-tombe ("Memoirs from Beyond the Grave"), published posthumously in 1849–1850).

Thanksgiving in Corona

Went to Starbucks everyday. Walked to the park or to where the "settlement" meets the mountain. Read Chateaubriand; played some cards.






Friday, November 18, 2016

Gide on Valery

Valery refuses to believe in the Muse of the Romantics, makes fun of what is called "inspiration." He adopted with pleasure the words of Flaubert: "Inspiration? That consists of sitting down to the table at the same time every day."


Union Station (Los Angeles)

Spent last Sunday morning there. Walked around, took a few pics. Finally, they arrived.












Saturday, November 12, 2016

From Andre Gide's "Autumn Leaves"

Flipping between Gide's Immoralist (almost finished) and a book of his essays: Autumn Leaves.

Excerpt from an essay entitled "My Mother":

     "Is what you said to me as we left our cousin's true?" she began with a great effort. "You really think so? I was ... well, as good as the others?"
     And as I began to exclaim, she continued mournfully:
     "If your father had told me so even once ... I never dared ask him, and I needed so terribly to know, when we went out together, if he was ..."
     She was silent for a moment. I looked at her trying to hold back the tears. She finished in a lower tone of voice, hardly audible:
     "... if he was pleased with me."
     I think that those were her exact words which suddenly let me understand how many worries, unasked questions and expectations could, under the appearance of happiness, still dwell in even the most united of couples. And such were my parents in the eyes of everyone and of their son. What my mother had vainly awaited was not a compliment from my father, but only the assurance that she had been able to prove herself worthy of him, that he had not been disappointed in her. But what my father thought, I knew no more than she; and I understood, that evening, that every soul carries to the tomb to hide it there, some secret. 

Portrait of Vladislav Khodasevich

Bucks, Bobbles, Walking,...



Sunday, November 6, 2016

Bolsa Chica [11. 6. 16]

Couldn't sleep past the old 6 (the new 5). Opened Bucks in Sunset Beach. Gide and few googles. Trailhead (off Warner). To the red rattler sign (in the shadow of the houses) and beyond. A circle of white pelicans. A pair of abandoned shoes. Traversed a narrow mole -- water on either side -- on the return.








Saturday, November 5, 2016

Walking [11.5.16]

Dripping fog when I got up. Nice. Coffee then the usual route (abridged by a friend). The floating white trees are out for Xmas. I guess they'll be absent from the lagoon this season.