She refers to a phenomenon of moviegoing which I have called certification. Nowadays when a person lives somewhere, in a neighborhood, the place is not certified for him. More than likely he will live there sadly and the emptiness which is inside him will expand until it evacuates the entire neighborhood. But if he sees a movie which shows his very neighborhood, it becomes possible for him to live, for a time at least, as a person who is Somewhere and not Anywhere. (1.7) .
A repetition is the re-enactment of past experience toward the end of isolating the time segment which has lapsed in order that it, the lapsed time, can be savored of itself and without the usual adulteration of events that clog time like peanuts in brittle. .
Christians talk about the horror of sin, but they have overlooked something. They keep talking as if everyone were a great sinner, when the truth is that nowadays one is hardly up to it. There is very little sin in the depths of the malaise. The highest moment of a malaisian's life can be the moment when he manages to sin like a proper human (Look at us, Binx — my vagabond friends as good as cried out to me — we're sinning! We're succeeding! We're human after all!) .
Not a single thing do I remember from the first trip but this: the sense of the place, the savor of the genie-soul of the place which every place has or else is not a place...there it is as big as life, the genie-soul of the place which, wherever you go, you must meet and master first thing or be met and mastered. (4.3) .
My aunt is convinced I have a "flair for research." This is not true. If I had a flair for research, I would be doing research. Actually I'm not very smart. My grades were average. My mother and my aunt think I am smart because I am quiet and absent-minded–and because my father and grandfather were smart. They think I was meant to do research because I am not fit to do anything else–I am a genius whom ordinary professions can't satisfy. .
For some time now the impression has been growing upon me that everyone is dead. It happens when I speak to people. In the middle of a sentence it will come over me: yes, beyond a doubt this is death. There is little to do but groan and make an excuse and slip away as quickly as one can. .
To tell the absolute truth, I’ve always been slightly embarrassed by Walter’s company. Whenever I’m with him, I feel the stretch of the old tightrope, the necessity of living up to the friendship of friendships, of cultivating an intimacy beyond words. The fact is that we have little to say to each other. There is only this thick sympathetic silence between us. We are comrades, true, but somewhat embarrassed comrades. It is probably my fault. For years now I have had no friends. I spend my entire time working, making money, going to movies and seeking the company of women. .
He was a young man of pleasant appearance. Of medium height and exceedingly pale, he was nevertheless strongly built and quick and easy in his ways. Save for his deafness in one ear, his physical health was perfect. Handsome as he was, he was given to long silences. So girls didn't know what to make of him. But men liked him. After a while they saw that he was easy and meant no harm. He was the sort whom classmates remember fondly; they liked to grab him around the neck with an elbow and cuff him around. Good-looking and amiable as he was, however, he did not strike one as remarkable. People usually told him the same joke two or three times. .
Once again he began to feel bad in the best of environments. And he noticed that other people did too. So bad did they feel, in fact, that it took the worst of news to cheer them up. On the finest mornings he noticed that people in the subway looked awful until they opened their newspapers and read of some airliner crashing and killing all hundred and seven passengers. Where there had been misery in their happiness, now as they shook their heads dolefully at the tragedy they became happy in their misery. .
Christ should leave us. He is too much with us and I don't like his friends. We have no hope of recovering Christ until Christ leaves us. There is after all something worse than being God-forsaken. It is when God overstays his welcome and take up with the wrong people. .
Where does one start with a theory of man if the theory of man as an organism in an environment doesn't work and all the attributes of man which were accepted in the old modern age are now called into question: his soul, mind, freedom, will, Godlikeness? There is only one place to start: the place where man's singularity is there for all to see and cannot be called into question, even in a new age in which everything else is in dispute. That singularity is language... .
The lives of other people seemed even more farcical than his own. It astonished him that as farcical as most people's live were, they generally gave no sign of it. Why was it that it was he not they who had decided to shoot himself? How did they manage to deceive themselves and even appear to live normally, work as usual, play golf, tell jokes, argue politics? Was he crazy or was it rather the case that other people went to any length to disguise from themselves the fact that their lives were farcical? He couldn't decide. .
What struck him was not sadness or remorse or pity but the wonder of it. How can it be? How can it happen that one day you are young, you marry, and then another day you come to yourself and your life has passed like a dream? They looked at teach other curiously and wondered how they could have missed each other, lived in the same house all those years and passed in the hall like ghosts. .
He thought he was a good poet but he was not. He thought books could tell him how to live but they couldn't. He was a serious but dazed reader. He read Dante and Shakespeare and Nietzsche and Freud. He read modern poetry and books on psychiatry. He had taken a degree in English, couldn't, decided to farm, bought a goat farm, managed a Confederate museum in a cave on his property, wrote poetry, went broke, became a golf pro. .
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