"You had almost forgotten the tranquil moon above the
empty streets. Every year, the beauties of nature reveal
themselves anew, and the emotion they evoke is always: 'You had
The difficulty of art is to present things you know well
in such a way that they are surprising. If you did not know
them well, you would not be sufficiently interested in them
re treat them in a way that makes them surprising.
The delight of art: perceiving that one's own way of
life can determine a method of expression."
*The Burning Brand*
Every night this month, I've been struck,
even dazed, by the loveliness of the
of the phases of the moon.
A constant pleasure: to realize, without yet comprehending
the specifics, that some specific understanding is
unfolding; to notice it instead, in the little forward
and backward emotional fluctuations; what used to
be called, in a more sympathetic literary/ philosophical
The connected pleasure of discovering parallel insights
in others. Why diaries, journals, blogs, have for so long
completely enthralled me. Why psychoanalysis and
psychotherapy have almost always done the same.
Pavese realized, or hoped, he could piece together
an understanding, a grip on life out of such insights.
What a moving struggle to see so sadly end in suicide.
The phases of the moon: the necessity of priorities;
the necessity of occasionally forgetting them; the
inexorable, yet paradoxical companionship of the
inevitable. On the verge of Aurelius' stoical,
to find calm and solace, even reassurance
in all the cycles,
large and small, not disappointment.
Why? Because this is , in fact,
what life is composed of, and life
is all we have.
Two quotes from Marcus Aurelius:
"Always remember the saying of
Heraclitus: that the death of earth
is to become water, and the death of
water to become air, and the death
of air is to become fire, and reversely.
And think too of those who forget
whither the way leads, and that people
quarrel with that with which they are
most constantly in communion, the reason
which governs the universe; and the things
which they daily meet with seem to them
strange: and consider that we ought
not to act and speak as if we were
asleep, for even in sleep we seem
to act and speak; and that we ought
not, like children who learn from their
parents, simply to act and speak as
we have been taught."
"There is no nature which is inferior
to art, for the arts imitate the nature
of things. But if this is so, that nature
which is the most perfect and the most
comprehensive of all natures cannot
fall short of the skill of art. Now all arts
do the inferior things for the sake of the
superior; therefore the universal nature
does so too. And, indeed, hence is the
origin of justice, and in justice the other
virtues have their foundation: for justice
will not be observed if we either care for
middle things [things indifferent], or are
easily deceived and careless and