If I saw nothing there which revealed a Divinity, I would come to a negative conclusion; if I saw everywhere the signs of a Creator, I would remain peacefully in faith.
But, seeing too much to deny and too little to be sure, I am in a state to be pitied, […]Whereas in my present state, ignorant of what I am or of what I ought to do, I know neither my condition nor my duty.
My heart inclines wholly to know where is the true good, in order to follow it; nothing would be too dear to me for eternity.
When I see the blindness and the wretchedness of man, when I regard the whole silent universe, and man without light, left to himself, and, as it were, lost in this corner of the universe, without knowing who has put him there, what he has come to do, what will become of him at death, and incapable of all knowledge, I become terrified, like a man who should be carried in his sleep to a dreadful desert island, and should awaken without knowing where he is, and without means of escape. And thereupon I wonder how people in a condition so wretched do not fall into despair.
We do not rest satisfied with the present. We anticipate the future as too slow in coming, as if in order to hasten its course; or we recall the past, to stop its too rapid flight. So imprudent are we that we wander in the times which are not ours, and do not think of the only one which belongs to us; and so idle are we that we dream of those times which are no more, and thoughtlessly overlook that which alone exists. For the present is generally painful to us. We conceal it from our sight, because it troubles us; and if it be delightful to us, we regret to see it pass away. We try to sustain it by the future, and think of arranging matters which are not in our power, for a time which we have no certainty of reaching. Let each one examine his thoughts, and he will find them all occupied with the past and the future. We scarcely ever think of the present; and if we think of it, it is only to take light from it to arrange the future. The present is never our end. The past and the present are our means; the future alone is our end. So we never live, but we hope to live; and, as we are always preparing to be happy, it is inevitable we should never be so.
Human life is thus only a perpetual illusion; men deceive and flatter each other. No one speaks of us in our presence as he does of us in our absence. Human society is founded on mutual deceit; few friendships would endure if each knew what his friend said of him in his absence, although he then spoke in sincerity and without passion. Man is then only disguise, falsehood, and hypocrisy, both in himself and in regard to others. He does not wish any one to tell him the truth; he avoids telling it to others, and all these dispositions, so removed from justice and reason, have a natural root in his heart.
Excessive qualities are prejudicial to us and not perceptible by the senses; we do not feel but suffer them. Extreme youth and extreme age hinder the mind, as also too much and too little education. In short, extremes are for us as though they were not, and we are not within their notice. They escape us, or we them. This is our true state; this is what makes us incapable of certain knowledge and of absolute ignorance. We sail within a vast sphere, ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end. When we think to attach ourselves to any point and to fasten to it, it wavers and leaves us; and if we follow it, it eludes our grasp, slips past us, and vanishes for ever. Nothing stays for us. This is our natural condition, and yet most contrary to our inclination; we burn with desire to find solid ground and an ultimate sure foundation whereon to build a tower reaching to the Infinite. But our whole groundwork cracks, and the earth opens to abysses.
Certain authors, speaking of their works, say, “My book,” “My commentary,” “My history,” etc. They resemble middle-class people who have a house of their own, and always have “My house” on their tongue. They would do better to say, “Our book,” “Our commentary,” “Our history,” etc., because there is in them usually more of other people’s than their own.
Since we cannot be universal and know all that is to be known of everything, we ought to know a little about everything. For it is far better to know something about everything than to know all about one thing. This universality is the best. If we can have both, still better; but if we must choose, we ought to choose the former. And the world feels this and does so; for the world is often a good judge.
When we see a natural style, we are astonished and delighted; for we expected to see an author, and we find a man. Whereas those who have good taste, and who seeing a book expect to find a man, are quite surprised to find an author. Plus poetice quam humane locutus es. “You have spoken more poetically than humanly.“
Poetical beauty. …We know well what is the object of mathematics, and that it consists of proofs, and what is the object of medicine, and that it consists of healing. But we do not know in what grace consists, which is the object of poetry.
Eloquence is an art of saying things in such a way—(1) that those to whom we speak may listen to them without pain and with pleasure; (2) that they feel themselves interested, so that self-love leads them more willingly to reflection upon it.
When a natural discourse paints a passion or an effect, one feels within oneself the truth of what one reads, which was there before, although one did not know it. Hence one is inclined to love him who makes us feel it, for he has not shown us his own riches, but ours. …such community of intellect that we have with him necessarily inclines the heart to love.
When we wish to correct with advantage, and to show another that he errs, we must notice from what side he views the matter, for on that side it is usually true, and admit that truth to him, but reveal to him the side on which it is false. He is satisfied with that, for he sees that he was not mistaken, and that he only failed to see all sides.
The greater intellect one has, the more originality one finds in men. Ordinary persons find no difference between men.
There are then two kinds of intellect: the one able to penetrate acutely and deeply into the conclusions of given premises, and this is the precise intellect; the other able to comprehend a great number of premises without confusing them, and this is the mathematical intellect. The one has force and exactness, the other comprehension. Now the one quality can exist without the other; the intellect can be strong and narrow, and can also be comprehensive and weak.
Man must not think that he is on a level either with the brutes or with the angels, nor must he be ignorant of both sides of his nature; but he must know both.
I blame equally those who choose to praise man, those who choose to blame him, and those who choose to amuse themselves; and I can only approve of those who seek with lamentation.
What does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object, in other words by God himself.
What a chimera then is man! What a novelty! What a monster, what a chaos, what a contradiction, what a prodigy! Judge of all things, imbecile worm of the earth; depositary of truth, a sink of uncertainty and error; the pride and refuse of the universe!
He was never just an ordinary man. He was a useless husband, an unstable father and the biggest ladies man in the town, with multiple families. He had eyes that couldn’t stop staring and touching all those beautiful bodies that constantly surrounded him. How could he resist? Everyone wanted to have a piece of this tall, handsome man with deep blue eyes. And of course, he had a ‘generous’ soul. Another Diego Rivera, among many.
The only difference was that he didn’t paint. Instead he wrote deeply, preached passionately and when he sang, the whole world around him fell quiet. For a second, all the worries were forgotten and the walls echoed back only the sound of the guitar and his voice.
His dream was to become the pastor of his local church. He was loved by his men. In his prayer group, he was just a simple man with a honest and sincere heart, that had the ability to comfort every weary soul. But his dream of becoming a missionary, a follower of Mother Theresa, never came true. Like every other place in the society, he realized even his church was no different to it’s tricks and games that it played to it’s people. He wanted to bring in the change and make a difference, but was quickly considered as a threat instead and therefore rejected.
His men were his life and losing them broke him. He never recovered from this fall and lost all his faith. After that all the former habits of seeking pleasure of all kinds came running back- women, alcohol, excess sleeping and smoking. He left everyone in his life, including his second family.
Last years of his life were spent as an ordinary man- a truck driver, delivering goods to the local stores. Sometimes alone, sometimes together with his youngest daughter. It’s when he also started to form a genuine friendship with his wife again.
But before he died, he saw a dream which warned him to either return to his family or continue his lustful ways and be punished. He made the wrong choice and disappeared forever…
She loved her hometown, small and quiet. The big yellow house where she lived in, just right next to the road that lead to the seaside. You just had to walk straight, for twenty minutes until you could go further, no longer. She loved to stop and watch, along the way, little squirrels jumping from one tree to another. The big green fields, full of dandelions.
The summers were always warm and green; winters- white and crisp. In the summer she would make hundreds of dandelion braids and spend most of the days in beach. In winter, it would be time to build snow castles and go ice skating.
Those were the brightest memories that she got. Spending her days running around outside, eating apples from the trees, teasing boys across the street, climbing the fences, playing silly games, riding the bicycle, reading storybooks from a local library, speaking in secret language with her neighbour girl- the only friend that she got. A small Russian girl, who had the most beautiful mother that she had ever seen. Her elegance and grace would struck her whole being, every time she saw her walking in the street. But anyone could notice that she wasn’t happy, living together with an abusive husband. What a waste of all that she could have and be!
Then everything changed. The green field, next to her house was destroyed. It was replaced by a massive luxury apartment. Her friend became distant and finally moved to live in another place. When they would meet by chance, in town, they couldn’t speak to each other anymore. Years had passed. Secret languages forgotten. Neither of them could speak either Estonian or Russian.
Technology bloomed. After the first computer was introduced to her household, it became like a holy altar. And of course, she was the small ‘Devil’ to be kept it away from.
Climate changed too. Summers were cold and rainy. Winters warm and grey. Or perhaps it was her perception of life that had changed? Maybe now, instead of noticing all the beautiful things, she only noticed the ugly, the bad, the worse. As if a magic spell had suddenly wore off.
“Tiina..Stop for a minute and look here! You seem different!” her brother would finally say to her, one summer morning, before heading outside. Had he suddenly realized, that his little sister had grown into a young woman, when in fact, it had happened quite a while ago. Men are always so slow to notice things.
Those were the days in the big yellow house.
It was another night. Doors locked. Heavy footsteps coming closer. A drunken man behind the door. Shouting, screaming, pulling out the electricity plug. She and her brother, always two of them, in the middle of the same war. War of parents, who hated each other.
The little girl was scared. Crying, in her bed, hiding under the blanket. And it was the first time that her elder brother seemed to be scared too. The first time that he wrapped his arms around her, saying everything was going to be okay. Although both of them knew these were just empty words.
But for once, they had an understanding. They knew they were alone and forced to grow up as quickly as possible, because the only place where It should had been safe- their home, it wasn’t. So they held each other tightly. In the dark.
Two soldiers, growing up in a battlefield.
Why did she always had to put her down? Nothing was ever good enough- Her body was never right. Her personality too straightforward and wild. She wasn’t allowed to speak to her father. She would be too childish to still kiss and hug him. She was a demon. A drama queen. A manipulator. And always too stupid, to choose the right man for her.
All she ever wanted was some acceptance.
Instead, she accepted all those false-beliefs projected on her and carried those around for years, until it had become part of her.
She punished herself, because she didn’t know… No one does.
That you don’t have to.
“You are not flowing as free as you should. I can sense a lot of pain in you. You need the sea.”
And the sea needed her. Someone to admire her tranquility and ferocity, the life force that she so freely provides to every soul in need. Although she never liked to think she needed anything or anyone.
Abandoned and locked away, she had drowned every day into her own sea of tears, begging for mercy. It never came. So she surrendered and decided she would never again let anyone to see her so helpless, so vulnerable. Instead she locked her heart away willingly, into her own hands, where she could keep it safe.
Years passed. She would enter into many peoples hearts, but never let anyone truly see hers. She had forgotten all about it and liked to keep it that way. For all it contained were the same weeping tears and a desperate need to be heard. Why would anyone let willingly themselves to be drowned by such a horrendous flood? It would make some people feel already uncomfortable from a faraway distance. And those that were close would be blinded from it’s existence altogether.
Not sure, which one was worse, but it all lead to one conclusion- No one ever saw the real her. No one ever treated her as an equal. She had always been either ‘The Alien’ or ‘The Goddess’. Never, for once, a human.
Hypnotised, she kept on humming. But no words could capture the essence of her emotions- feelings of loneliness, despair.. confusion. She thought she had left it all behind her. In her dark past. She thought she had found her perfect life, the light she was searching for. It had been simple and plain- never something too grand to wish for. But even simple things can lead into an illusion.
Suddenly, a childhood memory of her brother and her, playing together, took her away… Back to the ‘Neverland’, where he used to “fly” her by jumping from one bed to another. Eyes closed, she knew it wasn’t real but decided to believe otherwise, by never opening them again. Until twenty five years later, when she had finally realized that one would not be better from the other.
An illusion within an illusion.