Sunday, January 13, 2008

the work of a meister

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my choice of christmas reading this year was a gamble which paid off spectacularly well. i read daniel martin by john fowles. and lo, there was much to ponder...

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"Narcissim: when one grows too old to believe in one's uniqueness, one falls in love with one's complexity - as if layers of lies could replace the green illusion; or the sophistries of failure, the stench of success"

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"Just as I believe in God is generally a synonym for "I believe in not thinking", only too frequently "I love you" is a euphemism for "I want to own you""

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"My own personality had undergone a very thorough revolution since adolescence .... I had rejected so much. I was writing myself, making myself the chief character in a play, sdo that I was not only the written personage, the character and its actor, but also the person who sits in the back of the stalls admiring what he has written"

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"He enjoyed both his comparitively casual and his longer term affaires; he occasionally felt sad when they were over, but never for very long. Very simply, he enjoyed the process of knowing each. Indeed as he grew older, this pleasure became less and less dependent on sexual involvement; almost more fun, that one had to decipher Caro or as just now, a Jane, without the benefit of the closer context"

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"'And why are writers bad at relationships?'
'Because we can always imagine better ones. With much less effort. And the imaginary ones grow much more satisfying than the real ones'"

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"Love is so strange, so conducted, since time began, under the illusion that it brings the lovers closer together; which it does, of course, in all sorts of physical and psychological ways. But it is also based on some profoundly blind assumptions, the prime fantasy being that the nature of the loved one during the first passionate phase is the everlasting true nature. But that phase is an infinitely delicate balance of reciprocal illusion, a meshing of wheels so fin ely cogged that the slightest atom of dust - the intrusion of hitherto unrecognized desires, tastes, twists of character, any new information thrust into the idyll - can wreck the movement. I knew this, I hasd learnt to watch for it as one learns to watch for signs of familiar disease in certain plants."

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"Failure is the salt of life"

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"Being French is a state of mind"

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"He was too English of course to take the Zen philosophy very seriously, but it had strengthened in him a feeling that some inner truth lay in the perception of the transient"

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