a waste of time

It is a waste of time to reproach anyone who is incapable of reproaching themselves.

poverty

Our epoch completes the disappearance of the layabout, the rake, the useless dandy whose sole function was to waste his life and money. We instituted a new honour: that of earned money.

Anything that does not earn money is despised. A curious twist in the morals proclaimed by democracy and socialism. The masses, in their typical idiocy, have proclaimed that only those who work have any right to live, even the wealthy are to be put to work. Yet the wealthy have not become poorer, to the contrary, nor have the masses improved their lot.

This theory that the producer, the labourer alone are worthy of living is so ridiculous these days,  when so many labourers and producers only make useless things! If rigorously followed, few would retain the right to be alive outside of peasants, bakers, masons, tailors… Young rich people invade industry, banking, commerce, arts and literature. As, in the first of these (industry, banking, commerce), they buy the best places, the common people, in short, lose them, and in the latter two (arts and literature) since rich folks have the means to buy fame and, to deceive by any means, even talented people are forced into poverty.

always there

I must no longer see myself and must forget
To speak to people whom I do not know
To shout without being heard
For no reason all alone
I know everyone and each of your steps
I would like to talk but no one listens
Heads and eyes turn away from me
Towards the night
My head is a ball full and heavy
Rustling as it rolls along the ground

Faraway
Nothing behind me nothing ahead
In the void where I descend
A few strong drafts
Swirl around me
Cruel and cold
From doors left ajar
Upon yet-to-be forgotten memories
The world like a pendulum has come to a standstill
People suspended for all eternity
An aviator descends like a spider by a thread

Relieved everyone dances
Between heaven and earth
But a ray of light comes
From the lamp that you forgot to turn off
In the stairwell
Ah it’s not over
Oblivion is not complete
I must still learn to know myself

false modesty

Sure, false modesty is loathsome. However, if not in pursuit of a hypocritical aim, affecting modesty prepares one for practicing the truth.

strength

He who knows his weakness is actually stronger than he who blindly believes in his strength.

self-loathing

Due to self-love we come to self-loathing. When, due to being jostled, struck, wounded, we find the world unbearable and despise our neighbours, we realize that we can no longer bear ourselves, that we loathe ourselves, that the greatest evil always comes from ourselves.

self-importance

When one sees what important people are made of, one suddenly doesn’t desire to be important. But when one also sees those who aren’t important yet who think that they should be…

writing vs thinking

For some, what they think but don’t write gives them a better idea of themselves than what they write.

late in life

I am callous
I am tender
And I have wasted my time
Dreaming without sleeping
Sleeping while walking
Everywhere that I have been
I have found myself absent
I belong nowhere
Except the void
But I carry hidden high up in my bowels
At the spot where lightning has struck too often
A heart where each word has left its mark
And whence my life trickles away with the slightest movement

(from La liberté des mers)

bashfulness

Bashfulness accompanied by pride sometimes produces the same behaviour as modesty.

morality

Morality is solely a human concern. One doesn’t realize God by being moral, but by relying on God one can understand and accept the necessity of morality.

cogito ergo sum

Neither a tree nor an animal can say to themselves: “I think, therefore I am.”

Do they exist any less for that? And if a deep thinker comes to doubt his existence, whereas a simple thoughtless man does not, and would laugh at anyone who does, does that provide any assurance that thinking constitutes the best proof of existence?

misery

Misery is a kind of dark reflection of hell. While poverty burdens us under the weight of slavery.

Without these chains poverty would not be a suffering and it would perhaps lose all its value.

***

Misery inspires a physical disgust, luxury a moral disgust. Yet it is misery that leads to the worst moral degradations.

posthumous glory

People put their affairs in order before they die, they don’t plan anything beyond that.

An artist who hopes for posthumous glory is like someone who says, “When I’m dead, I will do this and that.”

revolution vs. evolution

Revolution occurs in the form, evolution in the ground.

moulting

Poetry is moulting. It has shed its old skin. It has remained naked and stripped like those animals who have cast off their skins and are about to put on a new one that is even finer and more beautiful.

If poetry doesn’t die, it too will become more beautiful.

religious art

Religious sentiment has given rise to admirable works of art. These days the Church approves of religious trinkets, the selling of which is a disgrace and which are, from an aesthetic point of view, indefensible. But one can easily overlook that, for they at least avoid the danger into which aesthetes fall by considering beautiful artworks as veritable idols; whereas they are simple memory aids or points of focus. The mediocrity of these works can easily be excused if one remembers that one must not forget oneself while admiring the most beautiful forms of matter, when one should actually be contemplating the formless, invisible beauty of the Spirit.

***

Art is useless to saints. Thus it is not an indispensible vehicle for religious sentiment. This is consolation for the fact that our epoch is so incapable of creating any fine religious art.

And if one’s religious sentiment is too weak one must not pretend to sustain it by taking the support of art. Worldly art will more readily absorb the strength of the artist than religious sentiment.

Faith risks being frustrated by the earthly demands of art.

***

The mystic gives himself to God unreservedly, and by doing so acquires an unparalleled freedom.

The artist gives himself to art, and by doing so finds himself stuck. It would be better if he could, occasionally, take a break from it.

One’s bond with God is liberating because it detaches one from the things of this world and alone grants a truly disinterested mind.

The artist is chained to the world by a double interest: That of drawing the material for his art from it and that of creating something more elevated above the world. But he always falls back down to earth, and more heavily at that, for with each new artwork that he creates he forges another chain.

style

Style is the form of expressed thought and not the form of the phrase.

By seeking the form of the phrase, style will be lost.

The love of words kills style.

***

Style is the correct expression of a thought, its image.

A style’s quality and power are thus dependent upon the quality and power of the thought.

the beautiful, the good and the true

The beautiful is the perceptible form of the good.

But how can it be the good, if it is not at the same time the true?

sacrifice

Blind are those artists who sacrifice themselves for their art, but above all for themselves.

If all those who are capable of the sacrifices, often heroic, demanded by art and the pursuit of glory were turned toward God, there would be fewer bad artists and more saints.

But they too are victims of this misuse of the sense of grandeur that God has instilled in us.