Great men are excellent topics of conversation, but the superior man, the superior men, the masters, the universal spirits on horseback, have to stop and search their memories merely to know who these so-called great men might be. And so the great man is left with the crowd, the worthless majority...for his admirers.
The intelligent poor individual was a much finer observer than the intelligent rich one. The poor individual looks around him at every step, listens suspiciously to every word he hears from the people he meets; thus, every step he takes presents a problem, a task, for his thoughts and feelings. He is alert and sensitive, he is experienced, his soul has been burned...
Do you know what constitutes a great poet? He is a person without shame, incapable of blushing. Ordinary fools have moments when they go off by themselves and blush with shame; not so the great poet.... If you really have to quote someone, quote a geographer; that way you won't give yourself away. (p 44)
A few days back someone sent me two feathers. Two bird's feathers in a sheet of note-paper with a coronet, and fastened with a seal. Sent from a place a long way off; from one who need not have sent them back at all. That amused me too, those devilish green feathers.
But now the world breaks in on us, the world is shocked, the world looks upon our idyll as madness. The world maintains that no rational man or woman would have chosen this way of life - therefore, it is madness. Alone I confront them and tell them that nothing could be saner or truer! What do people really know about life? We fall in line, follow the pattern established by our mentors. Everything is based on assumptions; even time, space, motion, matter are nothing but supposition. The world has no new knowledge to impart; it merely accepts what is... Read more »
I suffered no pain, my hunger had taken the edge off; instead I felt pleasantly empty, untouched by everything around me and happy to be unseen by all. I put my legs up on the bench and leaned back, the best way to feel the true well-being of seclusion. There wasn't a cloud in my mind, nor did I feel any discomfort, and I hadn't a single unfulfilled desire or craving as far as my thought could reach. I lay with open eyes in a state of utter absence from myself and felt deliciously out of it.
I was conscious all the time that I was following mad whims without being able to do anything about it … . Despite my alienation from myself at that moment, and even though I was nothing but a battleground for invisible forces, I was aware of every detail of what was going on around me.
An increasing number of people who lead mental lives of great intensity, people who are sensitive by nature, notice the steadily more frequent appearance in them of mental states of great strangeness ... a wordless and irrational feeling of ecstasy; or a breath of psychic pain; a sense of being spoken to from afar, from the sky or the sea; an agonizingly developed sense of hearing which can cause one to wince at the murmuring of unseen atoms; an irrational staring into the heart of some closed kingdom suddenly and briefly revealed.
The other one he loved like a slave, like a madman and like a beggar. Why? Ask the dust on the road and the falling leaves, ask the mysterious God of life; for no one knows such things. She gave him nothing, no nothing did she give him and yet he thanked her. She said: Give me your peace and your reason! And he was only sorry she did not ask for his life.
What if one were up there, drifting about among suns and feeling the tails of comets fan one's forehead! How small the earth was and how puny the people; a Norway of two million provincial souls and a mortgage bank to help feed them! What was life worth at such a rate? You elbowed yourself ahead in the sweat of your face for a few mortal years, only to perish all the same, all the same!
There are some people who cannot help giving. Why? Because they experience a real psychological pleasure in doing so. They don't do it with an eye to their own advantage, they do it on the quiet; they detest doing it openly because that would take away some of the satisfaction. They do it in secret, with quick trembling hands, their breasts rocked by a spiritual well being which they do not themselves understand.