Spent last weekend in Paris. Now I want to go back (and I will).
Photo by me: joshi-photo.com
“The whole conception of “Sin” is one which I find very puzzling, doubtless owing to my sinful nature. If “Sin” consisted in causing needless suffering, I could understand; but on the contrary, sin often consists in avoiding needless suffering. Some years ago, in the English House of Lords, a bill was introduced to legalize euthanasia in cases of painful and incurable disease. The patient’s consent was to be necessary, as well as several medical certificates. To me, in my simplicity, it would seem natural to require the patient’s consent, but the late Archbishop of Canterbury, the English official expert on Sin, explained the erroneousness of such a view. The patient’s consent turns euthanasia into suicide, and suicide is sin. Their Lordships listened to the voice of authority, and rejected the bill. Consequently, to please the Archbishop-and his God, if he reports truly-victims of cancer still have to endure months of wholly useless agony, unless their doctors or nurses are sufficiently humane to risk a charge of murder. I find difficulty in the conception of a God who gets pleasure from contemplating such tortures; and if there were a God capable of such wanton cruelty, I should certainly not think Him worthy of worship. But that only proves how sunk I am in moral depravity.”
“Glauben Sie an Gott?”, “Glauben Sie an ein Leben nach dem Tode?” Ach ich habe nicht mit Augustinischen Bekenntnissen geantwortet, sondern ganz abwartend; immer sonderbarer mutet mich diese Ungeduld des Geistes an, die alles überspringt, um fragen zu können. Dieses An-den-Rand-Laufen, wie naiv ist es, gerade als dächte man, vom nächsten Bergrand aus in den Weltraum zu schauen.”
“People who don’t like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn’t have such funny beliefs.”
“At this stage of the proceedings I was handed a large colored reproduction of the well-known self-portrait by Cézanne—the head and shoulders of a man in a large straw hat, red-cheeked, red-lipped, with rich black whiskers and a dark unfriendly eye. It is a magnificent painting; but it was not as a painting that I now saw it. For the head promptly took on a third dimension and came to life as a small goblin-like man looking out through a window in the page before me. I started to laugh. And when they asked me why, “What pretensions!” I kept repeating. “Who on earth does he think he is?” The question was not addressed to Cézanne in particular, but to the human species at large. Who did they all think they were?”
© Clouds over Canterbury
We are so small between the stars, so large against the sky,
and lost among the subway crowds I try to catch your eye.
Leonard Cohen, Stories of the Streets
“Parce que, dans la vie, il y a certes un dangereux quotient de rêve, mais dans les rêves aussi, il faut savoir lire sa vie, voir plus loin qu’elle. Voir plus loin que soi. Je sais d’expérience que c’est difficile et que souvent, cela fait mal. Mais si vous voulez qu’au moins en une chose je me vante, je vous dirai que, de cette vie gâchée qui fut la mienne, il me reste pourtant un sujet d’orgueil : j’ai appris quand j’ai mal, à ne pas crier.
Cela m’a beaucoup servi ces jours-ci.”