I also am other than what I imagine myself to be. To know this is forgiveness.
When we are disappointed by a pleasure which we have been expecting and which comes, the disappointment is because we were expecting the future, and as soon as it is there it is present. We want the future to be there without ceasing to be future. This is an absurdity of which eternity alone is the cure.
The process as we move our eyes from word to word is corrective and revisionary rather than progressive. Each new word revises the complex picture we had before.
On the train home I contemplated removing certain authors from my library. As the number of writers to be banished grew, I realized that libraries are defined not by what they have on their shelves, but by what they exclude from them.
Despite its intangibility, all of existence must fit within the present moment, for the present is all there ever is. Even the past and the future, as myths experienced in the present, exist within it. Thus, out of the quasi-nothingness of the now somehow comes everything. ... The present moment is the cosmic egg described in many religious myths … It is a singularity that births all existence into form. It seeds our mind with fleeting consensus images that we then blow up into the voluminous bulk of projected past and future. These projections are like a cognitive ‘big bang’ unfolding in our mind. They stretch out the intangibility of the singularity into the substantiality of events in time. But unlike the theoretical Big Bang of current physics, the cognitive ‘big bang’ isn’t an isolated occurrence in a far distant past. It happens now; now; now. It only ever happens now. ... Existence only appears substantial because of our intellectual inferences, assumptions, confabulations and expectations. What is actually in front of our eyes now is incredibly elusive. The volume of our experiences—the bulk of life itself—is generated by our own internal myth-making. We conjure up substance and continuity out of sheer intangibility. We transmute quasi-emptiness into the solidity of existence through a trick of cognitive deception where we play both magician and audience. In reality, nothing ever really happens, for the scope of the present isn’t broad enough for any event to unfold objectively. That we think of life as a series of substantial happenings hanging from a historical timeline is a fantastic cognitive hallucination. Roger Ebert’s last words, illuminated by the clarity that only fast-approaching death can bring, seem to describe it most appropriately: 'This is all an elaborate hoax.' And who do you think is the hoaxer?
We can say nothing but what has been said; the composition and method is ours only.
Says Burton in the Anatomy.
We don’t give other people credit for the same interior complexity we take for granted in ourselves, the same capacity for holding contradictory feelings in balance, for complexly alloyed affections, for bottomless generosity of heart and petty, capricious malice. We can’t believe that anyone could be unkind to us and still be genuinely fond of us, although we do it all the time.
Years ago a friend of mine had a dream about a staircase you could descend deep underground, in which you heard recordings of all the things anyone had ever said about you, both good and bad. The catch was, you had to pass through all the worst things people had said before you could get to the highest compliments at the very bottom. There is no way I would ever make it more than two and a half steps down such a staircase, but I understand its terrible logic: if we want the rewards of being loved we have to submit to the mortifying ordeal of being known.
"One's self-image becomes a social fact through action, and its meaning can then no longer be tied to the intention or will of the agent alone. This is, of course, exactly why many people forever postpone action, never write that book, send off that manuscript, finish that dissertation."
"It is as if, oddly, you were waiting for someone but you didn’t know who they were until they arrived. Whether or not you were aware that there was something missing in your life, you will be when you meet the person you want. What psychoanalysis will add to this love story is that the person you fall in love with really is the man or woman of your dreams; that you have dreamed them up before you met them; not out of nothing — nothing comes of nothing — but out of prior experience, both real and wished for. You recognize them with such certainty because you already, in a certain sense, know them; and because you have quite literally been expecting them, you feel as though you have known them for ever, and yet, at the same time, they are quite foreign to you. They are familiar foreign bodies."