'Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the earth.'
 
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 "There can be no recompense..."

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PostSubject: "There can be no recompense..."   Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:00 am

There can be no recompense for that mighty liberty which, bounded only by birth and death, is called Life. Not with pain, love, malice, or joy can it be rewarded, for these belong unto it, but only by the man himself. Earth claims earth, life has no end other than itself, and the heavens regard only their own: this law is what the Greeks named fate which, in great opposition to our conception of it, offers itself as a limit to man, world, and god, rather than an indifferent litany of their impending tragedies, failures, and victories. This truth cannot be realized in the visions of the saint and does not lie within the grasp of contemplation, but must be resolved in the movements of life- ethos anthropos daimon. Like all real truths, destiny confers to us no maxim of conduct, but rather that light in which the image of human life, once diffused and disunited in time, is concentrated and beheld sub species aeternitas, which is to say in its unity. All great symbols, as all great ideas which stand as representative of some portion of human existence, suggest one another in their finite number as naturally as the musical notes induce their own infinite combination and recombination in the soul of the artist, and because life offers up to us essentially the same incorruptible, indivisible experience the genius of their unity is realized only to the extent that one has indwelled in life. The beauty of a supreme work of art or philosophy is a refrain of the indivisible sum of experience that is called human life which, however much of a variation upon the eternal theme it may offer, is nonetheless equivalent to it, and recognizes its birth and death, its fate, in it. The world is a poem for the poet, a cross for the saint, a sphinx for the philosopher. There is a universal justice, but it is that which we render upon ourselves in following upon the course of thought like a dying star in slow extinction before the pale bound of the firmament. In this slow death do we finally recover something of life; that sweet dialogue which is attended to in secret between ourselves and our own soul, to speak with Plato, which is incapable of communicating itself to all but the most superficial periphery of our existence in words and deeds and is resolved silently in the drama of the ideal. The suffering of Empedoclean man, of the longing for personal immortality, and the suffering of Faustian man, that all-embracing hunger which clamors in its own pain but to taste existence, are reconciled in the heroic annihilation of being in becoming; the forgery of human happiness, the idol of virtue, all the mortal and immortal powers of the earth and heavens strike us as a remarkable fatuity when beheld against this secret and this silence, against that unfathomed peace to use the expression of Leopardi, the unknowable basis of that dialogue which is after all only the rarest species of the knowable, be it called sin by the saint, desire by the Buddhist, or death, for it must lead us into heaven, nirvana, and life, for it must lead us to that point where the transient play of appearances ceases to offer up to us vacant forms and we, at last peering into the remote fulcrum of our life for we are at last peering into the remote fulcrum of our own self, declare with Tasso, ich weib es, sie sind eqig, denn sie sind. [Only what truly is endures.] Our character is but the extremity of the ideal; our personality, only the degree of some predominant conception raised to the highest power. Every mind has its own nycht or hemera in that general nychthemeron of the soul; every personality, as the high point and the moment of greatest vitality of some conception, as necessarily only a moment of tension in the idea, can find a repulsive note and answering strain in the progress of the intellect and thereby awaken to that desire to reconcile knowledge and being, to the daemonic, and to recognize what is called fate. Philosophy is nothing less than the aspiration to complete humanity.


-- Hamartia, Essays Toward A Speculative Ethic, Afterword.

 

___________
A sik þau trûðu


Nisus ait, "Dine hunc ardorem mentibus addunt,
Euryale, an sua cuique deus fit dira cupido?"

Have the gods set this ruling passion in my heart,
or does each man's furious passion become his god?
- Virgil.


It is not opium which makes me work but its absence, and in order for me to feel its absence it must
from time to time be present.-- Antonin Artaud
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