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What does the poet say: Arseny Tarkovsky

Credit: Arseny Tarkovsky in the mid 1930s; Wikipedia

EURYDICE


Man has but one body,
as lone as a loner,
The soul has had enough of
This sheer shell
With ears and eyes
the size of fivepense coins
And skin, all scars,
hung on the skeleton.

The soul flies through the cornea
To the well of heaven,
To the icy wheel spoke of
the bird-drawn chariot,
And through the bars
of its living prison, it hears
the rattle of forests and fields,
the trumpet of the seven seas.

the soul without a body is piteous,
like a body without a shirt, —
stripped of intent, or deed,
design, or strophe.
A riddle without a key:
Who will return again
having danced on that stage
Where no one's left to dance?

I dream of another soul,
in another garment:
It burns, flickering back and forth
From timidity to hope,
Turning to flame, like alcohol, it departs
With no shadow, through the land,
Leaving gathered lilacs
On the table, as a souvenir.

Run, child, don't lament
Over poor Eurydice,
And roll your bronze hoop
Around the world with a stick,
As long as, at a quarter of a sound,
In reply to each step,
The earth roars in your ears
Both merrily and dryly.


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Sunday Brainy Quotes: Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde in 1882; via Wikipedia
Egoism vs Egotism vs Egocentrism

There is a widely spread misunderstanding of these three terms. Often they are used interchangeably thus a negative shadow has been cast over all of them. Egocentrism is a childish (nevertheless it could frequently be observed in adults behavior) state of mind in which one is unable to accurately assume or understand an opinion or perspective different from one's own; egotism is defined as the drive or tendency to overestimate one's own personality, qualities, and values; whereas egoism stands for the philosophical presumption of the profound importance of individualism usually opposed to the moral censure of self-interest supported by the more conservative and dogmatic parts of society. Therefore, the first and the second are somehow deviations from the clear perception of one's own place in the world, while the third is the acceptance of the personal rights that each individual embody. In that regard, egoism is to principally base your convictions on the belief that the most genuine and true source of knowledge for one is the individual's experience of world phenomena.

Of course, preoccupation exceptionally with one's own personality and beliefs could end up in egocentric or egotistic behavior. However, egoism is a precondition for, on the one hand, the recognition of the Other as an individual and thus as someone worthy of consideration, and on the other hand, for the inner drive for personal development and improvement. After all, the best that one could give to the world is his unique point of view and talents. Or, as Oscar Wilde might say – playing someone else role is boring, better play yourself!

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."

― Oscar Wilde


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Thoughts to reflect on: Hermann Hesse

Photo credit: newstatesman.com

The Steppenwolf

Called "the last romanticist", Hermann Hesse (2 July 1877 – 9 August 1962 ) made a major impact on 20th-century western literature and culture. Hesse inspired authors like Thomas Mann, Sam Shepard, Colin Wilson, and Timothy Leary, the composer Richard Strauss, the musician Carlos Santana and many more. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize, of which he wasn't really enthusiastic, though. His works reflect upon the nature of the self, the search for meaning and authenticity, the complicated relation between the individual and the others, and the enigmatic nature of collective archetypes and unconsciousness. The German-Swiss writer was a true traveler in the universe inside us. A few people in the history of literature possessed such eloquence and abilities to represent so genuinely the depth of the inner world, emotions, and dreams of their characters. Hesse's studies of Eastern knowledge became a significant inspiration and theme in his novels, some of which are considered as the most refined and "true translations" of Eastern wisdom into the terms of Western culture. There was something of a cult of Hermann Hesse's "Magical theater" of the self. Rock bands, artists, and writers, part of the 60's counter-culture partly embraced his visionary and imaginative narratives, evidently without his approval or identification with any of them. Hermann Hesse has lived, especially in his late ages, a peculiarly secluded life. Notoriously, in front of his door in Switzerland, there was a sign saying "No Visitors".

Probably his most-known books are Demian, Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, and The Glass Bead Game. All of them enacting the psychological inner dramaturgy of the individual. Hermann Hesse's stories embody the timeless existential journey of one towards his destiny and mission in this world. He became one of the finest voices of the human condition, soul, and personality.

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10 quotes from one of the greatest American writers and philosophers of the 20th century

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Robert Pirsig

Robert M. Pirsig is the author of only two books - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974) and Lila: An Inquiry into Morals (1991). Someone could say: Well, then what is so special about him? There were other incredible minds in the States and they were definitely more prolific writers. It could be regarded as impossible but inside these two books, Pirsig managed to say more than other writers in 30 volumes. He was able to synthesize the inconceivable number of theories, researches, and personal experiences that he had gone through during his long life in less than 1000 pages. And that is not because he had nothing more to say. Matter of fact, the biography of Robert Pirsig is quite interesting. He was a prodigy child who had an alleged IQ of 170 at the age of nine. Several years later he graduated high school at the age of 14. He studied Biochemistry, entered the U.S. Army, which brought him to South Korea and when he came back to the States he became a professor at the age of 30, teaching creative writing. At the age of 33, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was treated with electroconvulsive therapy on numerous occasions. One of his sons – Chris – who is a main character in his first book, got stabbed to death at the age of 22. And while all of that happened, Pirsig never stopped his ardent and vigorous researches into the essence of quality, metaphysics, truth, and existence in general.

Here are some of the pearls that crystallized inside his two books:

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On this date, more than six centuries ago...

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What Happened on April 17, 1387 and 1397

Geoffrey Chaucer is considered the greatest English poet before Shakespeare. He is also famous as one of the first scholars along with Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, and Desiderius Erasmus, to use vernacular language for writing his most renowned work – The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer was an important civil servant, diplomat, and courtier who was trusted by three successive kings – Edward III, Richard II, and Henry IV. However, history remembers him mostly with his poetic works, which embody a great variety of subject matter, genres, styles, and approaches towards the complex themes of the human condition, religion, and existence.

Canterbury Tales was written between 1387 and 1400. According to the scholars, the date when Chaucer's characters started their fictional pilgrimage was the 17th of April 1387. It was today, 634 years ago when one of the greatest journeys in the world of Literature began and it is still inspiring poets and artists from all around the globe. It could be a coincidence but ten years later, the same date (17.04.1397) was the first time that Geoffrey Chaucer publicly tells the Canterbury Tales at the court of King Richard II.

Sometimes fictional events could have even a greater impact upon human culture than historical ones. In that regard, factual and fictional worlds intertwine and together they influence human reality and the way our civilization progresses. Today, we celebrate one of these cases when a body of Literature changed our perception and had a great effect on our future activities.


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