Wednesday, May 28, 2008


"Mahler is matter-of-fact even in the supreme metaphysical sense, in that he jettisoned the aesthetic illusion of meaningful totality which no longer existed, if indeed it ever did. Mahler, whose uncompromising spirituality separated him from the hedonism of his age, from Debussy and from Strauss and whose mind selflessly strove to conceive of something that goes beyond mere existence - Mahler discovered the impossibility of such a task simply by refusing to be deflected from his path. A metaphysician like no other composer since Beethoven, he made the impossibility of metaphysics his central belief, even while battering his head against the brick wall this represented. His world, like that of his compatriot Franz Kafka, is a world infinitely full of hope, although not for us."

- Adorno, Quasi una Fantasia


More tears are shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.

- St. Teresa of Avila

Guest entry by Anne Gibbs of THE LOST SOCIETY OF COLLECTORS

Thursday, May 15, 2008


"Friendship cannot be separated from reality any more than the beautiful. It is a miracle, like the beautiful. And the miracle consists simply in the fact that it exists."

"The essence of created things is to be intermediaries. They are intermediaries leading from one to the other, and there is no end to this."

"…It is necessary to be dead in order to see things in their nakedness."

Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace

- Guest entry by Louise Despont

Sunday, May 11, 2008

What seems paradoxical about everything that is justly called beautiful is the fact that it appears.

- Benjamin, Schriften I, 349


Josephine's road, however, must go downhill. The time will soon come when her last notes sound and die into silence. She is a small episode in the eternal history of our people, and the people will get over the loss of her. Not that it will be easy for us; how can our gatherings take place in utter silence? Still, were they not silent even when Josephine was present? Was her actual piping notably louder and more alive than the memory of it will be? Was it not rather because Josephine's singing was already past losing in this way that our people in their wisdom prized it so highly? So perhaps we shall not miss her so much after all, while Josephine, redeemed from earthly sorrows which to her thinking lay in wait for all chosen spirits, will happily lose herself in the numberless throng of the heroes of our people, and soon, since we are no historians, will rise to the heights of redemption and be forgotten like all her brothers.

(Kafka, Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk)

Image: The dancer Wera Ouckama Knoop, whose sudden illness and death at the age of 19 inspired Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus.