-illustrated by JMKhapra
“Education doesn’t make you happy. Nor does freedom. We don’t become happy just because we’re free – if we are. Or because we’ve been educated – if we have. But because education may be the means by which we realize we are happy. It opens our eyes, our ears, tells us where delights are lurking, convinces us that there is only one freedom of any importance whatsoever, that of the mind, and gives us the assurance – the confidence – to walk the path our mind, our educated mind, offers.”
― Iris Murdoch
I recently saw the film ‘Iris’, a film about Iris Murdoch’s tragic spiral into the unforgiving disease of the mind, alzheimer disease. It is very painful to watch the life of someone who loved language so much only to lose the capability to use it in the end. Powerfully played by Judi Dench and Kate Winslet. Had me in tears when the credits rolled.
I’ll be searching for her books and I hope I will be able to read as much as I can since she had written a lot!
Words shimmer, a darting cloud of tiny minnows ripples beneath the surface of the water.
Ungraspable. We sleeptogether in onelargeroom laid outin rowslike smallfishhungtodry . . .
But something’s gone wrong with the words in time—syllables linger, refusing to dissipate or fall into
silence—so that now there’s a pileup of sounds, like cars colliding on a highway, turning meaning
into cacophony, and before she knows it, she is adding to the din, wordlessly, soundlessly, with a
cry that rises from her throat and goes on and on forever. Time swells, overwhelming her. She tries
not to panic. Tries to relax and hold herself loosely, resisting the instinct to tense and flee. But
where would she go?
-Tale For The Time Being, Ruth Ozeki
“Tomorrow I will die in battle,” said Captain Crow.
Montaigne wrote that death itself is nothing. It is only the fear of death that makes death seem
important. Am I afraid? Certainly, and yet . . .
“Que sais-je?” Montaigne asked. The answer is nothing. In reality, I know nothing.
And yet, at night I lie on my bed, counting my beads, one for every thing on earth I love, on and on,
in a circle without end.
– Tale For The Time Being, Ruth Ozeki
The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument, which he offers to the reader to permit him to discern what, without the book, he would perhaps never have seen in himself. The reader’s recognition in his own self of what the book says is the proof of its truth.
—Marcel Proust, Le temps retrouvé
to confine yourself to a single thought that one day stands still like a star in the world’s sky.”
― Martin Heidegger, Basic Writings
“A sensible person does not read a novel as a task. He reads it as a diversion. He is prepared to interest himself in the characters and is concerned to see how they act in given circumstances, and what happens to them; he sympathizes with their troubles and is gladdened by their joys; he puts himself in their place and, to an extent, lives their lives. Their view of life, their attitude to the great subjects of human speculation, whether stated in words or shown in action, call forth in him a reaction of surprise, of pleasure or of indignation. But he knows instinctively where his interest lies and he follows it as surely as a hound follows the scent of a fox. Sometimes, through the author’s failure, he loses the scent. Then he flounders about till he finds it again. He skips.”
– Somerset Maugham, Ten Novels And Their Authors
“He destroyed in her the knowing, doubting, sophisticated Ella, and again and again he put her intelligence to sleep, and with her willing connivance, so that she floated darkly on her love for him, on her naivety, which is another word for a spontaneous creative faith. And when his own distrust of himself destroyed this woman-in-love, so that she began thinking, she would fight to return to naivety.”
― Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook
‘Anyone could tell us two writers shouldn’t be together. Or rather, that a competitive American shouldn’t be with a woman who has written a book.’
‘That’s right,’ he said. ‘It’s a challenge to my sexual superiority, and that isn’t a joke.’
‘I know it isn’t. But please don’t give me any more of your pompous socialist lectures about the equality of men and women.’
‘I shall probably give you pompous lectures because I enjoy it. But I won’t believe in them myself. The truth is, I resent you for having written a book which was a success. And I’ve come to the conclusion I’ve always been a hypocrite, and in fact I enjoy a society where women are second-class citizens, I enjoy being boss and being flattered.’
‘Good,’ I said. ‘Because in a society where not one man in ten thousand begins to understand the ways in which women are second-class citizens, we have to rely for company on the men who are at least not hypocrites.’
‘And now we’ve settled that, you can make me some coffee, because that is your role in life.’
‘It will be a pleasure,’ I said, and we had breakfast in good-humour, liking each other.
– from The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing