Everyone has his own reality in which, if one is not too cautious, timid or frightened, one swims. This is the only reality there is.
I had a microscopic eye for the blemish, for the grain of ugliness which to me constituted the sole beauty of the object.
Ik kwam er achter dat ik er mijn hele leven heus niet naar had verlang om te leven - als wat anderen doen tenminste leven genoemd kan worden - maar wel om mezelf te kunnen uitdrukken.
Imagination is the voice of daring. If there is anything godlike about God, it is that. He dared to imagine everything
No man is great enough or wise enough for any of us to surrender our destiny to. The only way in which anyone can lead us is to restore to us the belief in our own guidance.
Surely every one realizes, at some point along the way, that he is capable of living a far better life than the one he has chosen.
...the monstrous thing is not that men have created roses out of this dung heap, but that, for some reason or other, they should want roses. For some reason or other man looks for the miracle, and to accomplish it he will wade through blood. He will debauch himself with ideas, he will reduce himself to a shadow if for only one second of his life he can close his eyes to the hideousness of reality. Everything is endured- disgrace, humiliation, poverty, war, crime, ennui- in the belief that overnight something will occur, a miracle, which will render life tolerable. And all the while a meter is running inside and there is no hand that can reach in there and shut it off.
He is trying to recapture his innocence, yet all he succeeds in doing (by writing) is to inoculate the world with a virus of his disillusionment.
He saw that science had become as great a hoax as religion, that nationalism was a farce, patriotism a fraud, education a form of leprosy, and that morals were for cannibals
And for that one moment of freedom you have to listen to all that love crap... it drive me nuts sometimes... I want to kick them out immediately... I do now and then. But that doesn't keep them away. They like it, in fact. The less you notice them the more they chase after you. There's something perverse about women... they're all masochists at heart.
We came together in a dance of death and so quickly was I sucked down into the vortex that when I came to the surface again I couldn't recognize the world. When I found myself loose the music had ceased the carnival was over and I had been picked clean.
A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition. Like money, books must be kept in constant circulation... A book is not only a friend, it makes friends for you. When you have possessed a book with mind and spirit, you are enriched. But when you pass it on you are enriched threefold.
I believe that today more than ever a book should be sought after even if it has only one great page in it. We must search for fragments, splinters, toenails, anything that has ore in it, anything that is capable of resuscitating the body and the soul.
And when he got through I felt for the first time that there had really been a war and that the man I was listening had been in it and that despite his bravery the war had made him a coward and that if he did any more killing it would be wide-awake and in cold blood, and nobody would have the guts to send him to the electric chair because he had performed his duty toward his fellow men, which was to deny his own sacred instincts and so everything was just and fair because one crime washes away the other in the name of God, country and humanity, peace be with you all.
Who but the artist has the power to open man up, to set free the imagination? The others - priest, teacher, saint, statesman, warrior - hold us to the path of history. They keep us chained to the rock, that the vultures may eat out our hearts. It is the artist who has the courage to go against the crowd; he is the unrecognized hero of our time - and of all time.
You can forgive a young cunt anything. A young cunt doesn't have to have brains. They're better without brains. But an old cunt, even if she's brilliant, even if she's the most charming woman in the world, nothing makes any difference. A young cunt is an investment; an old cunt is a dead loss. All they can do for you is buy you things. But that doesn't put meat on their arms or juice between their legs.
Previously, when I began to write this tale, I set out by saying that Mlle. Claude was a whore. She is a whore, of course, and I'm not trying to deny it, but what I say now is--if Mlle. Claude is a whore then what name shall I find for the other women I know?
Whoever uses the spirit that isin him creatively is an artist. Tomake living itself an art, that isthe goal.
To paint is to love again, live again, see again. To get up at the crack of dawn in order to take a peek at the water colors one did the day before, or even a few hours before, is like stealing a look at the beloved while she sleeps. The thrill is even greater if one has first to draw back the curtains. How they glow in the cold light of early dawn! … Is there any writer who rouses himself at daybreak in order to read the pages of his manuscript? Perish the thought!
Art consists in going the full length. If you start with the drums you have to end with dynamite, or TNT.
He is sure to be more happy who has eaten well and slept well and has besides a little money in his jeans. Such men are rare to find for the simple reason that most men are incapable of appreciating the wisdom of such a simple truth. The worker thinks he would be better off if he were running the factory, the owner of the factory thinks the would be better off if he were a financier, and the financier knows he would be better off if he were clean out of the bloody mess and living the simple life.
The world is not to be put in order. The world is order. It is for us to put ourselves in unison with this order.
Out yonder they may curse, revile, and torture one another, defile all the human instincts, make a shambles of creation (if it were in their power), but here, no, here, it is unthinkable, here there is abiding peace, the peace of God, and the serene security created by a handful of good neighbors living at one with the creature world.
The continent is full of buried violence, of the bones of antediluvian monsters and of lost races of man, of mysteries which are wrapped in doom. The atmosphere is at times so electrical that the soul is summoned out of its body and runs amok. Like the rain everything comes in bucketsful - or not at all. The whole continent is a huge volcano whose crater is temporarily concealed by a moving panorama which is partly dream, partly fear, partly despair. From Alaska to Yucatan it's the same story. Nature dominates. Nature wins out. Everywhere the same fundamental urge to slay, to ravage, to plunder. Outwardly they seem like a fine, upstanding people - healthy, optimistic, courageous. Inwardly they are filled with worms. A tiny spark and they blow up.
My mind is curiously alert; it's as though my skull had a thousand mirrors inside it. My nerves are taut, vibrant! the notes are like glass balls dancing on a million jets of water. I've never been to a concert before on such an empty belly. Nothing escapes me, not even the tiniest pin falling. It's as though I had no clothes on and every pore of my body was a window and all the windows open and the light flooding my gizzards. I can feel the light curving under the vault of my ribs and my ribs hang there over a hollow nave trembling with reverberations. How long this lasts I have no idea; I have lost all sense of time and place. After what seems like an eternity there follows an interval of semiconsciousness balanced by such a calm that I feel a great lake inside me, a lake of iridescent sheen, cool as jelly; and over this lake, rising in great swooping spirals, there emerge flocks of birds of passage with long slim legs and brilliant plumage. Flock after flock surge up from the cool, still surface of the lake and, passing under my clavicles, lose themselves in the white sea of space. And then slowly, very slowly, as if an old woman in a white cap were going the rounds of my body, slowly the windows are closed and my organs drop back into place.
What strikes me now as the most wonderful proof of my fitness, or unfitness, for the times is the fact that nothing people were writing or talking about had any real interest for me. Only the object haunted me, the separate, detached, insignificant thing. It might be a part of the human body or a staircase in a vaudeville house; it might be a smokestack or a button I had found in the gutter. Whatever it was it enabled me to open up, to surrender, to attach my signature. To the life about me, to the people who made up the world I knew, I could not attach my signature. I was as definitely outside their world as a cannibal is outside the bounds of civilized society. I was filled with a perverse love of the thing-in-itself - not a philosophic attachment, but a passionate, desperately passionate hunger, as if in this discarded, worthless thing which everyone ignored there was contained the secret of my own regeneration.
To have her here in bed with me, breathing on me, her hair in my mouth—I count that something of a miracle.