Nothing Personal

Photo by Rose @Maple Farm in Hadley, MA

“It is the miracle of love, love strong enough to guide or drive one into the great estate of maturity, or, to put it another way, into the apprehension and acceptance of one’s own identity. For some deep and ineradicable instinct—I believe—causes us to know that it is only this passionate achievement which can outlast death, which can cause life to spring from death.”

“Nevertheless, sometimes, at four AM, when one feels that one has probably become simply incapable of supporting this miracle, with all one’s wounds awake and throbbing, and all one’s ghastly inadequacy starting and shouting from the walls and the floor—the entire universe having shrunk to the prison of the self—death glows like the only light on a high, dark, mountain road, where one has, forever and forever! Lost one’s way.—And many of us perish then.”

“But if one can reach back, reach down—into oneself, into one’s life—and find there some witness, however unexpected or ambivalent, to one’s reality, one will be enabled, though perhaps not very spiritedly, to face another day. What one must be enabled to recognize, at four o’clock in the morning, is that one has no right, at least not for reasons of private anguish, to take one’s life. All lives are connected to other lives and when one man goes, much more than the man goes with him. One has to look on oneself as the custodian of a quantity and quality—oneself—which is absolutely unique in the world because it has never been here before and will never be here again. But it is extremely difficult, in this place and time, to look on oneself in this way. Where all human connections are distrusted, the human being is very quickly lost.”

“…This is one of the reasons, as it seems to me, that we are so badly educated, for to become educated (as all tyrants have always known) is to become inaccessibly independent, it is to acquire a dangerous way of assessing danger, and it is to hold in one’s hands a means of changing reality. This is not at all the same thing as “adjusting” to reality: the effort of “adjusting” to reality simply has the paradoxical effect of destroying reality, since it substitutes for one’s own speech and one’s own voice an interiorized public cacophony of quotations. People are defeated or go mad or die in many, many ways, some in the silence of that valley, WHERE I COULDN’T HEAR NOBODY PRAY, and many in the public, sounding horror where no cry or lament or song or hope can disentangle itself from the roar. And so we go under, victims of that universal cruelty which lives in the heart and in the world, victims of the universal indifference to the fate of another, victims of the universal fear of love, proof of the absolute impossibility of achieving a life without love.”

Header photos by Rose @western Massachusetts, USA

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