05 January 2014

winter readings

Finished 2 more books by Alain de Botton, The Pleasure and Sorrows of Work was alright though I liked The Art of Travel a lot better. Both books are well written, but I don't feel compelled to continue reading (took a lot of effort to finish both books).

There are good quotations though!
from work:
Our work will have at least distracted us, it will have provided a perfect bubble in which to invest our hopes for perfection, it will have focused out immeasurable anxieties on a few relatively small-scale and achievable goals, it will have given us a sense of mastery, it will have made us respectably tired, it will have put food on the table. It will have kept us out of greater trouble.
from travel:
Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conductive to internal conversation than a moving plane, ship or train. There is an almost quaint correlation between what is in front of our eyes and the thoughts we are able to have in our heads: larger thoughts at times require larger views, new thoughts new places. Introspective reflections are liable to stall are helped along by the flow of the landscape.

'the imagination could provide a more-than-adequate substitute for the vulgar reality of actual experience.' Actual experience where what we have come to see is always diluted in what we could see anywhere, where we are drawn away from the present by an anxious future and where our appreciation of aesthetic elements remain at the mercy of perplexing physical and psychological demands.

When I consider...the small space I occupy and which I see swallowed up in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I know nothing and which nothing knows of me [l'infinie immensité des espace que j'ignore et qui m'ignorent]
the french grammar seems much more eloquent
Sublime  places gently move us to acknowledge limitations that we might otherwise encounter with anxiety or anger in the ordinary flow of events. It is just not nature that defies us. Human life is just as overwhelming, but it is the vast space of nature that perhaps provide us with the finest, the most respectable reminder of all the exceeds us. If we spend more time in them, they might help us to accept more graciously the great unfathomable events that molest our lives and will inevitably return us to dust.

A dominate impulse on encountering beauty is the desire to hold on to it: to possess it and give it weight in our lives. There is an urge to say, 'I was here, I saw this and it mattered to me.'
But beauty is fugitive, it is frequently found in places to which we may never return or else it results from a rare conjunction of the season, light and weather. How then to possess it, how to hold on to the floating train, the halva-like bricks or the English valley?
Bonus from NatGeo:
Walking is falling forward.
Each step we take is an arrested plunge, a collapse averted, a disaster braked. In this way, to walk becomes an act of faith. We perform it daily: a two-beat miracle - an iambic teetering, a holding on and letting go.

No comments: