Cause and Effect

The course of nature, although it is supposed to be perfectly regular, yet it does not appear to us so, and many events are unsafe and many more disappoint our expectations.

Jeff_Faust

When we look around for the outer objects and consider the action of the causes, we are never able to discover any necessary force or connection, any quality that combines the effect to the cause, making it one of the infallible consequence of the other, considering only one case.

We just find that in reality the effect comes after the cause. The momentum of a billiard ball is followed by the second ball. This is all that appears to our outer senses.

We can see that this influence, just like all other natural events, can only be known through experience and can never be predicted on the basis of any energy or force that would bind it to effect and make the last infallible consequence of the first.

The movement of our body follows the command of our will and we are aware of it every moment. But as to the means by which this operation is performed or the energy through which the will performs such an extraordinary operation, we are so far away from being directly aware that they will always escape our most thorough research.

So, first of all,  is there any more mysterious principle in the whole nature than the union of soul and body by which the supposed spiritual substance has such an influence on the material one that the most subtle thought is capable of moving the grossest matter ?

If we had the power that by a mysterious desire to move the mountains or control the planets in their orbits, such an immense power would be no more extraordinary and far beyond our power of understanding.

from David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

Midnight

Abilene

The leaves have started now

A lazy, pathetic dance !

And I cry, and my cry in the night

Is the brother of the outside osier.

 

Midnight is approaching slowly,

And the dance of leaves is heard,

I run from room to room

When satanic hour rings.

George Bacovia, Miezul noptii

translated from Romanian by Marcel Rus

Self-Conceit

A homeless man in the suburbs of Madrid begged in a noble manner; a pedestrian tells him: “Aren’t you ashamed to practice such an infamous profession, although you could work ?”

“Sir,” answered the beggar, “I asked you for money, not for advice”; then he turned his back, preserving all his Castilian dignity.

amorpropriu

This homeless man was proud, and his vanity felt wounded for a trifle. He begged because of self-love, and he doesn’t stand to be reprimanded because of the same kind of self-love.

A missionary traveling in India met a fakir naked as a monkey, loaded with chains and  lying on the ground, and who was whipped for the sins of his Indian countrymen, instead receiving a few coins. “How self-sacrifice !”, the spectators said. “What self-sacrifice of myself ?”, replied the fakir. “Now find that I’m beaten in this world only to beat you in the other world where you will be horses and I ride”.

Those who said self-conceit was the base of all our feelings and all our actions, they were right in India, in Spain and throughout the inhabited earth; and how we don’t write to prove to people that they had faces, so there is no need to prove them they had self-conceit.

This self-conceit is the tool of our conversations; it is similar to the species perpetuation tool: it is necessary, we love it, it enjoy us, but we have to hide it.

from Voltaire, Dictionnaire philosophique

Fanciful Verse

ashadow1

A waltz

Cried from afar…

It was sometimes heard

In the sad hours.

 

A demonic infinity

And bitter ironies,

Pain that echoed

In solitary shadows.

George Bacovia, Verset fantast

translated from Romanian by Marcel Rus

About Friendship

Friendship is a tacit contract between two sensitive and virtuous people. I say sensitive because a monk, a solitary may not be a bad man and yet he lives without knowing what friendship is.

guitarplayer

 Charlotte Yealey – Sing Along

 I say virtuous because the bad people have only accomplices, voluptuous people have only comrades for lechery, interested people have associates, politicians gather rebels, lazy man has connections, and princes have courtiers. Only virtuous people have friends.

Cethegus was Catiline’s accomplice, and Maecenas was Octavianus’s courtier; but Cicero was a friend of Atticus.

What does this contract between two affectionate and honest souls mean ? Obligations are higher or lower depending on the degree of sensitivity of souls and the number of favors made, etc.

The enthusiasm of friendship was stronger to the Greeks and the Arabs than it is now to us. The stories of friendship, invented by these nations, are wonderful; we do not have any like, we are devoid of depth.

To the Greeks, friendship was a religious and a legislative matter. The people of Thebes had a regiment of lovers: beautiful regiment ! Some said it was a Sodomite regiment. But they were mistaken, for it was as if they had taken what was secondary as the principal.

Greek friendship was prescribed by law and religion. Unfortunately, homosexuality was tolerated by morals, but we must not reproach the law for these shameful abuses. But we shall have the opportunity to talk about it.

from Voltaire, Dictionnaire philosophique

The Cloud

cloud

Beyond the obsession railway

There is a white chapel,

A silver cloud,

A “bushy silver” in which

I shall surely disappear.

There was someone who

Taught me this way

To the rescue cloud, but now

He will say that

The student has surpassed his master.

He said

That innocence responds to innocence,

And that in exasperation

The disappearance in the silver cloud

Can happen.

But the cloud takes you

Only when it wants,

So let me disappear

Without despair,

My love.

Ioana Diaconescu, Norul

translated from Romanian by Marcel Rus

Kafka’s Stories – The Everyday Absurdity

Kafka’s singular and strange work expresses the protest of the isolated man against the crushing of his personality by the hostile forces of society. Kafka depicts man’s despondent destiny.

kafka

Franz  Kafka

His artistic vision is hallucinating, grotesque, penetrated by restlessness and resignation, and from which the aspirations towards a better fate, to a humanist ideal sometimes echo, but they are quickly stifled by the hostile environment.

His stories and novels express the drama of the existence of ordinary man, a man exposed to the oppression of the monstrous bureaucratic state apparatus, his impossibility to decipher the meaning of his existence in society and the dehumanization of family relations.

Dramatic tension and nightmare vision are characteristics of Kafka’s work, being determined by the alternation of the real and the fantastic plans, overlapping absurdity over perfectly logical and rational elements.

The preliminary study of Kafka’s stories is a useful exercise in understanding his novels. The Judgment is a drama of sensibility until near to its end. Georg Bendemann enters his father’s room, being full of endless affection and caution. He stripes him and then puts his father in bed, but the old man has a senile dementia crisis and accuses his son of ingratitude and falsity, then pronounces the sentence: “I blame you for death by drowning”.

Until here we are on the ground of the most authentic reality, but suddenly it goes into the absurd field through a surprising change of plans. Georg is hallucinated and as he climbs the parapet of the nearby river, then he throws himself in the water saying the words: “Dear parents, I still loved you”.

metamorphosis

With The Metamorphosis the story suddenly enters the fantastic, incredible field. The  vendor Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning and finds that he has been metamorphosed in a horrific millipede. It’s easy to imagine the stupor of his parents and sister when they saw what Gregor turned into. He is avoided and isolated in his room, which has soon been transformed wasteful warehouse. Gregor dies in silence and suffering.

In the Penal Colony an explorer is taken by an officer to the execution venue where a convict will be executed. The verdict was given by the officer who is also the judge, and the convict will be executed by a torture machine. The explorer declares himself against such methods, saying that he will protest in front of the commander. Then the officer releases the prisoner and he executes himself, but the machine is defective and increases his pain.

Being a precursor of existentialism, Kafka included in his writings surrealist and expressionist elements. His work is a continuous allegory that is crossed by myths and symbols of disorientation and despair resulting from the obsession of the immunity of a world whose objective mechanism cannot be understood by its heroes.

from Ovidiu Dramba, Franz Kafka