17 December 2014

3 quotes (Jorge, Saul, Malcolm)

I tend to get absorbed in reading books and then forget to participate in the most important book of all: Facebook. Today, when on the verge of recommitting such folly, I stopped short and said to myself: You must not continue this bad habit – instead of neglecting your online duties entirely, at least share a quotation from what you read. So here are some words from three names.


This first quote is from an essay by Jorge Luis Borges (translated by Andrew Hurley) called “A Vindication of Basilides the False”:

Throughout the first centuries of our era, the Gnostics disputed with the Christians. They were annihilated, but we can imagine their possible victory. Had Alexandria triumphed and not Rome, the extravagant and muddled stories that I have summarized here would be coherent, majestic, and perfectly ordinary. Pronouncements such as Novalis’s “Life is a sickness of the spirit,” or the despairing one of Rimbaud, “True life is absent; we are not in the world,” would know the conditional assent of the pious laboratories. In any case, what better gift can we hope for, than to be insignificant? What greater glory for a God, than to be absolved of the world?


Next, here are some words that Saul of Tarsus included in his first epistle to the Corinthians (15: 12-19):

Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.


Finally, here are some words from the first chapter of the novel Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry:

Meantime do you see me as still working on the book, still trying to answer such questions as: Is there any ultimate reality, external, conscious and ever-present etc. etc. that can be realized by any such means that may be acceptable to all creeds and religions and suitable to all climes and countries? Or do you find me between Mercy and Understanding […] balancing, teetering over the awful unbridgeable void, the all-but-unretraceable path of God’s lightning back to God? […] Though it is perhaps a good idea under the circumstances to pretend at least to be proceeding with one’s great work on “Secret Knowledge,” then one can always say when it never comes out that the title explains this deficiency.


Below are some scraps of paper that I salvaged from old magazines and affixed to a piece of cardboard via “Matte Finish Magic Tape” (the transparent strips of which are clearly visible because, being impatient, I work too fast).

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