We have to endure the discordance between imagination and fact. It is better to say ‘I am suffering ‘ than to say ‘this landscape is ugly’.
Weil, Simone, quoted by W H Auden, A Certain World (Faber, 1971).
ULYSSES see LIFE, 10/91
Negative capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.
Keats, letter to G and T Keats, December 1817.
Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguished the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real condition of life and his relations with his kind.
Marx, Karl, Communist Manifesto.
The subterranean miner that works in us all, how can one tell whither leads his shaft by the everlasting muffled sound of his pick?
Melville, Herman, Moby Dick, Chapter 41.
If the unconscious can be recognised as the co-determining factor along with consciousness, and if we can live in such a way that conscious and unconscious demands are taken into account as far as possible, then the centre of gravity of the total personality shifts its position. It is then no longer in the ego, which is merely the centre of consciousness, but in the hypothetical point between conscious and unconscious. This new centre might be called the Self.
Jung, Carl, commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower, quoted Anthony Storr, Solitude, 194.
Banished from the outer world, soul and its daimons were forced to take refuge in the only place left to them — the human psyche. But this inner world had in turn been straitened to a brilliant but inhospitable consciousness, compelling them to hide in the darkness behind…. The modern unconscious was created by the new ego-consciousness’s separation of itself from the rest of the psyche and from the world at large. Although I have described this separation as two different movements, they are really one because… psyche is the world.
Harpur, Patrick, The Philosophers Secret Fire (Penguin, 02), 48.
UNCONSCIOUS see PROJECTIONS, 7/87; AWARENESS, THE UNCONSCIOUS, AND LOVE, 5/89
UNCONSCIOUS, GODS FROM
This is what I believe:
“That I am I.
That my soul is a dark forest.
That my known self will never be more than a little clearing in the forest.
That gods, strange gods, come forth from the forest into the clearing of my known self, and then go back.
That I must have the courage to let them come and go.
That I will never let mankind put anything over me, but that I will try always to recognise and submit to the gods in me and the gods in other men and women.”
Lawrence, D H, Studies in Classic American Literature, Benjamin Franklin.
UNCONSCIOUS, SPIRITUAL SEARCH IN
… Brilliantly lit —
That threshold of the great lake…//
… The voice urged on
Into an unlit maze of crying and loss.
What voice? ‘Find your souls’, said the voice.
‘Find your true selves. This way. Search, search.’
The voice had never heard of the shining lake.
‘Find the core of the labyrinth.’ Why? What opens
At the heart of the maze? Is it the doorway
Into the perfected vision? Masterfully
The voice pushed us, hypnotised, bowing our heads
Into its dead-ends, its reversals,
Dreamy gropings, baffled ponderings….
[Sylvia Plath’s dead face is at the maze’s centre.]
Hughes, Ted, from ‘Fishing Bridge’ in Birthday Letters (Faber, 1998), 87.
The greatest thoughts are accessible to the least of men. Why do we have to struggle so? Because understanding is a function not of ratiocination but of the psyche’s stage of growth. [Pursewarden is writing.]
Durrell, Lawrence, Clea (Faber), 138.
The picture we form in our minds of nature will be the more beautiful for being brightly lit. [See also p 21.]
Medawar, Peter, Pluto’s Republic (Oxford University Press, 1984), 240.
I have found you an argument; I am not obliged to find you an understanding.
Johnson, Samuel, in Life of Johnson (Boswell). Vol. viii. Chap. v. 1784.
Learn of the pine from the pine.
Basho, quoted in Kenneth White, The Bird Path (Mainstream, Edinburgh, 1989), 79.
UNDERSTANDING see OPENNESS, 12/87
I speak and I speak, but the listener retains only the words he is expecting… It is not the voice that commands the story: It is the ear. [Marco Polo speaking.]
Calvino, Italo, Invisible Cities, quoted in London Review of Books, 29 July 1999, 29.
Whatever interrupts the even flow and luxurious monotony of organic life is odious to the primeval animal.
Santayana, George, quoted Eiseley, The Firmament of Time, 123.
You complain of being treated unjustly. Console yourself. Real unhappiness lies in acting unjustly.
Pythagoras, attributed to, in a letter to a friend. In Ian Stephenson, Children who Remember Previous Lives (University of Virginia, 1987), 260.
At midnight I wept and sobbed
Because I lacked you.
Then night spirits came
And I was ashamed.
Night spirits, I said,
Weeping and sobbing
You find me whom you used
To pass by asleep.
Great possession I’ve lost.
Don’t think less well of me
Whom you used to call wise;
Great affliction besets him! –
And the night spirits
With long faces
Not caring a jot
Whether I’m wise or foolish.
Goethe, translated by Hamburger. In Goethe, Poems and Epigrams (Anvil, 1983).
UNICORN see MYSTERY, 8/92; SCHOLARSHIP, 8/92
[The narrator is seeking]… a pathway which could lead me to a deeper understanding of myself – the self which seemed to be only a huge, disorganised and shapeless society of lusts and impulses.
Durrell, Lawrence, Justine (Faber), 98.
I am a parcel of vain strivings tied
By chance bonds together,
Dangling this way and that, their links
Were made so loose and wide,
For milder weather.
Thoreau, H D, “I am a parcel…”.
What is this man? A knot of savage serpents that are seldom at peace among themselves – thus they go forth alone and seek prey in the world.
Nietzsche, Zarathustra, “Of the Pale Criminal”.
UN-INTEGRATION see PERSONALITY, 12/87
UNITY OF MAN
Man, the common denominator of peoples and nations…. In my civilisation, he who is different from me does not impoverish me – he enriches me. Our unity is constituted in something higher than ourselves – in Man. When we of Group 2-33 [French Airforce] argue of an evening, our arguments do not strain our fraternity, they reinforce it. For no man seeks to hear his own echo, or to find his reflection in the glass. Staring into the glass called Man, the Frenchman of France sees the Norwegian of Norway; for Man heightens and absorbs them both…
St.-Exupery, Flight to Arras, 152.
UNITY OF MAN
[Virginia Woolf] had a beautiful vision of generation[s] interlinked in this way: of how ‘minds are threaded together – how any live mind is of the same stuff as Plato’s and Euripides’ … it is this common mind that binds the whole world together and all the world is mind’.
Bakewell, Sarah, How to Live: A Life of Montaigne, quoted Observer Review, 24/01/2010, 23.
UNITY see ONENNESS, 6/85; SELF-TRANSCENDENCE, 3/92
Hitherto there have been a thousand gods, for there have been a thousand peoples. Only fetters are still lacking for these thousand necks, the one goal is still lacking.
Yet tell me my brothers: if a goal for humanity is still lacking, is then not still lacking – humanity itself?
Nietzsche, Zarathustra, “Of the Thousand and One Goals”.
Man is always, all the time and forever, on the brink of the unknown. The minute you realise this, you prick your ears in alarm. And the minute any man steps alone, with his whole naked self, emotional and mental, into the everlasting hinterland of consciousness, you hate him and you wonder over him. Why can’t he stay cosily playing word games around the camp fire?
Lawrence, D H, Phoenix (1961 ed.), 323.
There are a thousand paths that have never yet been trodden, a thousand forms of health and hidden islands of life. Man and man’s earth are still unexhausted and undiscovered.
Watch and listen, you solitaries! From the future come winds with a stealthy flapping of wings; and goods tidings go out to delicate ears.
You solitaries of today, you who have lived seceded from society, you shall one day be a people: from you, who have chosen out yourselves, shall a chosen people spring – and from this chosen people, the Superman.
Nietzsche, Zarathustra, “Of the Bestowing Virtue II”.
UNKNOWN REALITY, INTIMATION OF
He that once too nearly hears
The music of forefended spheres,
Is thenceforth lonely, and for all
His days like one who treads the Wall
Of China, and, on this hand, sees
Cities and their civilities,
And on the other, lions.
UNKNOWN, THE see DEATH, 3/88
Narcotics cannot still the Tooth
That nibbles at the soul.
Dickinson, Emily, ‘This World is not Conclusion’.
Live by the foma (harmless untruths) that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.
Vonnegut, Kurt, Cat’s Cradle (Penguin, 1963), 6.
USEFULNESS AND BEAUTY see BEAUTY AND USEFULNESS, 10/93
Avoid misuse, evil use and wrong use, and learn first advantageous use…, then loving use, pure use, finally spiritual use.
Sessan, in Leggett, trs, A First Zen Reader (Tuttle, Rutland Vm., 1960), 194.