Dienstag, 30. November 2010

Opinions

'Most people are nothing and count for nothing until they have clad themselves in general convictions and public opinions- in accordance with the tailor's philosophy: clothes make the man. In regard to exceptional men, however, the saying should read: only the wearer creates the costume; here opinions cease from being public and become something other than masks, finery and camouflage.' (Friedrich Nietzsche: Human, All Too Human [325].)

Samstag, 27. November 2010

Seneca: On the Happy Life

"When we discuss the happy life, there is no reason for you to give me the well-known reply familiar from vote-counting [in the Senat]: "This side seems to be in the majority." For that is why it is the worse side.
Human concerns are not so happily arranged that the majority favours the better things: evidence of the worst choice is the crowd." [De Vita Beata II,1]

Ikkyū Sōjun



‘Do not worry:
Wherever you are
You are always you.’

Ikkyū is accredited as one of the great influences on the Japanese tea ceremony, and renowned as one of medieval Japan's greatest calligraphers and sumi-e artists. Known to drink in excess he would often upset [his teachers] with his remarks and actions to guests.

He was among the few Zen priests who argued that his enlightenment was deepened by consorting with pavilion girls, and entered brothels wearing his black robes, since for him sexual intercourse was a religious rite. At the same time he warned Zen against its own bureaucratic politicizing. After training Ikkyū quickly left the temple and lived many years as a vagabond. He was not alone, however, as he had a regular circle of notable artists and poets from that era. Around this time, he also established a relationship with a blind singer Mori who became the love of his later life. (Cobbled together from here)

If, at the end of our journey,
There is no place to rest,
We need not worry about
Losing the way.

(Translations of poems by me.)

Cover your path
With fallen pine-needles
So no one will be able
To locate your
True dwelling place.

Thomas Mann über die künstlerisch-poetische Weltsicht (1938):

[…]...muß man nicht, ob man will oder nicht, in dem Phänomen eine Erscheinungsform des Künstlertums wieder erkennen? Es ist, auf eine gewisse beschämende Weise, alles da: die "Schwierigkeit", Faulheit und klägliche Undefinierbarkeit der Frühe, das Nichtunterzubringensein, das Was-willst-du-nun-eigentlich?, das halb blöde Hinvegetieren in tiefster sozialer und seelischer Bohème, das im Grunde hochmütige, im Grunde sich für zu gut haltende Abweisen jeder vernünftigen und ehrenwerten Tätigkeit – auf Grund wovon? Auf Grund einer dumpfen Ahnung, vorbehalten zu sein für etwas ganz Unbestimmbares, bei dessen Nennung, wenn es zu nennen wäre, die Menschen in Gelächter ausbrechen würden. Dazu das schlechte Gewissen, das Schuldgefühl, die Wut auf die Welt, der revolutionäre Instinkt, die unterbewußte Ansammlung explosiver Kompensationswünsche, das zäh arbeitende Bedürfnis, sich zu rechtfertigen, zu beweisen…[…] (Bruder Hitler)

http://www.cicero.de/97.php?ress_id=4&item=266&aktion=blaettern&teil_num=1&teil_gesamt=2

The most common trait of the petit bourgeois:

His need to be 'correct' and his insurmountable crave for praise of his opinions by the others.

Dienstag, 23. November 2010

A Season inHell


(Bag by Timberland- fake-distressed but recommended, they did a good job there;
Loafers by K&K Schuhmanufaktur Alt Wien.)

As you all know I am a well-integrated, conforming citizen but in the winterly months, especially during carnival-season, I sometimes tend towards the eccentric. Today, shortly before dusk, we arrived at some small, provincial airport on the Eastern outskirts of our former empire- the region where snowflakes dance and wolves howl just beyond the border of vision- when I spontaneously decided to buy this fine-looking bottle of vodka from an honourable fringe dweller of proto Indian descent. Good, inflammatory stories begin like that, those that I never will write since I am but a mere poseur of the arts; but- as I keep repeating: I am the poet of poets- I am the one who the poets read for inspiration! Aye, and now I’ll enter the gates of Ereshkigal with my heroic compatriots via a communal sample of that fine-looking beverage!

The Schoolsystem in this country:

Sucks. I was reading a history of the political development of Austria in the 20th century the other day that said that public education was (re)-introduced and made widely popular by the Socialist party in the 1920s. That was quite revelatory to me. ‘So that’s why I always hated it so much’, I thought, I could smell that inferior conformism, that sweaty labour-mentality intuitively even as a child- that system was not designed to educate but to infiltrate persons like me. So, consequently, I had refused to learn anything from it. All that I know today, I have taught myself.

Samstag, 20. November 2010

Non so più cosa son cosa faccio...


Non so più cosa son cosa faccio...
Or di foco, ora sono di ghiaccio,
Ogni donna cangiar di colore,
Ogni donna mi fa palpitar.

Solo ai nomi d'amor, di diletto,
Mi si turba, mi s'altera il petto,
E a parlare mi sforza d'amore
Un desio ch'io non posso spiegar.

Parlo d'amore vegliando,
Parlo d'amor sognando,
All'acqua, all'ombra, ai monti,
Ai fiori, all'erbe, ai fonti,
All'eco, all'aria, ai venti,
Che il suon de'vani accenti
Portano via con se.
E se non ho chi m'oda,
Parlo d'amor con me!

[I don't know any more what I am,
what I'm doing,
Now I'm fire, now I'm ice,
Any woman makes me change color,
Any woman makes me quiver.
At just the names of love, of pleasure,
My breast is stirred up and changed,
And a desire I can't explain
Forces me to speak of love.
I speak of love while awake,
I speak of love while dreaming,
To the water, the shade, the hills,
The flowers, the grass, the fountains,
The echo, the air, and the winds
Which carry away with them
The sound of my vain words.
And if there's nobody to hear me,
I speak of love to myself!]

Freitag, 12. November 2010

Gottfried Benn



One of the best modern German poets- apart from Eichendorff and Rilke- that I know of. He was the last one to be able to express genuine mythical, emotive 'pathos' in his work before the rather dark period of the last 50 years set in. Here are two of my favourite poems by Benn; to all who don't speak German I can only say: It is worth learning it in order to be able to read them.

Benn also said that, if one already concerns onself with something as futile and seemingly useless as poetry, one better should try to give ones very best.

Nur zwei Dinge

Durch so viel Form geschritten,
durch Ich und Wir und Du,
doch alles blieb erlitten
durch die ewige Frage: wozu?
Das ist eine Kinderfrage.
Dir wurde erst spät bewußt,
es gibt nur eines: ertrage
- ob Sinn, ob Sucht, ob Sage -
dein fernbestimmtes: Du mußt.
Ob Rosen, ob Schnee, ob Meere,
was alles erblühte, verblich,
es gibt nur zwei Dinge: die Leere
und das gezeichnete Ich.


Dennoch die Schwerter halten

Der soziologische Nenner,
der hinter Jahrtausenden schlief,
heißt: ein paar große Männer
und die litten tief.

Heißt: ein paar schweigende Stunden
in Sils-Maria-Wind,
Erfüllung ist schwer von Wunden,
wenn es Erfüllungen sind.

Heißt: ein paar sterbende Krieger
gequält und schattenblaß,
sie heute und morgen der Sieger -:
warum erschufst du das?

Heißt: Schlangen schlagen die Hauer
das Gift, den Biß, den Zahn,
die Ecce-homo-Schauer
dem Mann in Blut und Bahn -

heißt: so viel Trümmer winken:
die Rassen wollen Ruh,
lasse dich doch versinken
dem nie Endenden zu -

und heißt dann: schweigen und walten,
wissend, daß sie zerfällt,
dennoch die Schwerter halten
vor die Stunde der Welt.

Montag, 8. November 2010

Water


I love water, apart from wine it is the best 'invention' of God-; one could live exclusively on water and wine (and love, of course!).

Jade

In Asia it is said that jade will cool down a person with overly prominent emotions like myself. I have found this to be true: try to wear it around your neck on a pendant, I would suggest one in the shape of your (Chinese) astrological sign, mine for example is Tiger. If it is genuine jade, it will always feel cool against your skin even when you are in a hot, tropical climate!

(picture/screen from my private collection)

Hercules

Since I have discovered that drink and physical fitness needn’t be mutually exclusive, I have become a happier man; only mental fitness suffers from it but that is no problem to me since I was born with too much intelligence, anyway.

Samstag, 6. November 2010

Donnerstag, 4. November 2010

A Romantic Vision of Old Europe



Some people only learn to realize and appreciate the worth of their own culture by viewing it through the romantic, idealized vision of someone from outside of it. Miyazaki Hayao does a good job, there!

Musicals

I do not like post WWII musicals but I like some music-plays by Gilbert and Sullivan and Cole Porter:

Per esempio: HMS Pinafore, or:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrCn6G7cp5I

I asked a Chinese friend if she understood what the actress is singing there and she didn't have a clue; my guess is that it is Shanghainese (nearly not-understandable for other Chinese) pronounced in a completely faulty way...

There are actually quite a few songs in 'Anything Goes' that I like: You're the Top, I Get A Kick Out of You, It's De-lovely, et cetera...

Mittwoch, 3. November 2010

A very old one:

The professor rapped on his desk and shouted,
"Gentlemen - order!"
The entire class yelled, "Beer"!