Category Archives: quotes

>The Road


I still return to The Road, now probably because the movie is just around the corner, but ever since I first read it in December 2006 (read more here) I’ve been reading bits and pieces over and over again. Just like one does with good poetry. The way that Cormac McCarthy deals with the love and the darkness of mankind just overwhelms me every time. There are many passages where the dialogue between the man and the boy is so sparse, yet so very tense. There is all the room in the world for long and intricate conversations, but there are none. Simply because they are getting ready to die in a world where everything is lost, where everything is ashes and darkness and hopelessness.
The mother of the boy chose suicide when she realized that this was the end, when she watched distant cities burn. This makes the tenderness and the love shared between father and son even more heartwrenching. The post apocalypse has never been better.

This excerpt, where the man and the boy meet up with a lone traveller, a very old and torn man, is a good example of how the atmosphere, the cold, wet, ashen landscape, slowly devours the human bodies, but cannot fully erase the human emotions. Mind over matter.

 How long have you been on the road?
 I was always on the road. You cant stay in one place.
 How do you live?
 I just keep going. I knew this was coming.
 You knew it was coming?
 Yeah. This or something like it. I always believed in it.
 Did you try to get ready for it?
 No. What would you do?
 I dont know.
 People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didnt believe in that. Tomorrow wasnt getting ready for them. It didnt even know they were there.
 I guess not.
 Even if you knew what to do you wouldnt know what to do. You wouldnt know if you wanted to do it or not. Suppose you were the last one left? Suppose you did that to yourself?
 Do you wish you would die?
 No. But I might wish I had died. When you’re alive you’ve always got that ahead of you.
 Or you might wish you’d never been born.
 Well. Beggars cant be choosers.
 You think that would be asking too much.
 What’s done is done. Anyway, it’s foolish to ask for luxuries in times like these.
 I guess so.
 Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave. He lifted his head and looked across the fire at the boy. Then he looked at the man. The man could see his small eyes watching him in the firelight. God knows what those eyes saw. He got up to pile more wood on the fire and he raked the coals back from the dead leaves. The red sparks rose in a shudder and died in the blackness overhead. The old man drank the last of his coffee and set the bowl before him and leaned toward the heat with his hands out. The man watched him. How would you know if you were the last man on earth? he said.
 I don’t guess you would know it. You’d just be it.
 Nobody would know it.
 It wouldnt make any difference. When you die it’s the same as if everybody else did too.
 I guess God would know it. Is that it?
 There is no God.
 There is no God and we are his prophets.

>Eric Arthur Blair


 One must choose between God and Man, and all “radicals” and “progressives”, from the mildest liberal to the most extreme anarchist, have in effect chosen Man.

Eric Arthur Blair, British writer, better known as George Orwell, died at age 46. He was one of the best when it comes to explaining the brutal consequences we face when turning away from the truth.
If you still haven’t read Nineteen Eighty-Four – published in 1949 – now is the time.


>The louse of holy name


 How much longer will you keep up the worm-eaten cult of this god, who is insensible to your prayers and to the generous sacrifices that you offer him as an expiatory holocaust? Can you not see that this horrible manitou is not grateful for the bowls of blood and brains which you lay on his altars, piously decorated with garlands of flowers. He is not grateful… for earthquakes and tempests have been raging uninterruptedly since the beginning of all things. And nonetheless (this is a spectacle worthy of observation), the more indifferent he is, the more you admire him. It is clear that you are wary of his attributes, which he hides; and your reasoning is based on the consideration that a divinity of such extreme power can only show disdain for the faithful who obey the commandments of his religion. For that reason different gods exist in each country: here, the crocodile, there, the prostitute.

But when it comes to the louse, of holy name, the nations of the earth, one and all kissing the chains of their slavery, kneel together in the august sanctuary before the pedestal of this shapeless and bloodthirsty idol. Any people that did not obey its own grovelling instincts and made as if to rebel, would sooner or later disappear from the face of the earth like an autumn leaf, destroyed by the vengeance of the inexorable god.
Lautrémont, Maldoror 1868-1869
[more here]

>"We’re sympathetic towards the occult…"


We’re sympathetic towards the occult and the secret arts. We are not occultists, however. We weren’t born with the kind of will it takes, let alone the patience to educate and develop such a will into the perfect instrument of a wizard or hypnotist. But we sympathize with occultism, especially since it tends to express itself in ways that many who read and even think they understand it don’t understand a thing. Its arcane attitude is arrogantly superior. It is, in addition, a rich source of mysterious and terrifying sensations: astral larvae, the strange beings with strange bodies evoked in its temples by ritual magic, and the immaterial presences that hover all around our unperceiving senses, in the physical silence of inner sound – all of this comforts us in darkness and distress with the caress of its sticky, horrid hand.
But we don’t sympathize with occultists when they act as apostles and champions of humanity; this strips them of their mystery. The only valid reason for an occultist to operate in the astral realm is for the sake of a higher aesthetic, not for the insidious purpose of doing good to others.
Almost unawares we harbour an ancestral sympathy for black magic, for the forbidden forms of transcendental science, and for the Lords of Power who sold themselves to Condemnation and degenerate Reincarnation. The eyes of our weak, vacillating souls lose themselves – like a bitch in heat – in the theory of inverse degrees, in corrupted rites, and in the sinister curve of the descendent, infernal hierarchy.
Like it or not, Satan exerts an attraction on us like a male on a female. The serpent of Material Intelligence has wound around our heart, as around the symbolic caduceus of the God who communicates: Mercury, lord of Understanding.

Those of us who aren’t homosexuals wish we had the courage to be. Our distaste for action can’t help but feminize us. We missed our true calling as housewives and idle chatelaines because of a sexual mix-up in our current incarnation. Although we don’t believe this one bit, to act as though we do smacks of irony’s very blood.

None of this is out of meanness, just weakness. In private we adore the Bad, not because it’s bad, but because it’s stronger and more intense than the Good, and all that is strong and intense is attractive to nerves that should have belonged to a woman. Pecca fortiter can’t apply to us, for we have no force,not even the force of intelligence, which is the only one we could ever claim. To think of sinning forcefully – that’s the most we can do with this severe dictum. But even this is not always possible, for our inner life has its own reality which we sometimes find painful just because it is a reality. The existence of laws governing the association of ideas (along with all other mental operations) is insulting to our inherent lack of discipline.

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet, published for the first time 50 years after his death. Pessoa died in 1935.


Plötsligt en ångest…
Åh, vilken ångest, vilken kväljning från mage till själ!
Vilka vänner jag har haft!
Vilken tomhet i alla städer jag har passerat igenom!
Vilken metafysisk dynga alla mina föresatser!

En ångest,
en tröstlöshet i själens hud,
armarna hänger vanmäktiga vid krafternas solnedgång…
Jag förnekar.
Jag förnekar allt.
Jag förnekar mer än allt.
Jag förnekar i ord och handling alla gudar
och förnekelsen av dem.
Men vad är det som fattas mig,
som jag känner fattas i mage och blodomlopp?
Vad är det för tom förvirring som tröttar ut min hjärna?

Skall jag dricka något eller ta livet av mig?
Nej, jag skall leva vidare. Seså! Jag skall leva vidare.
Le-va vi-da-re…

Gode Gud! Vilken buddism kommer mitt blod att stelna!
Att avstå från vidöppna dörrar,
inför ett landskap alla landskap
utan hopp i frihet
utan samband,
en tillfällighet i tingens ytas inkonsekvens,
monoton men sömndrucken,
och vilka vindar när dörrar och fönster slås upp på vid gavel!
Vilken angenäm sommar, de andras!

Ge mig något att dricka, för jag är inte törstig!

Fernando Pessoa (under heteronymen Álvaro de Campos), 1930




Arbetsmarknaden stöter bort en som om man vore ett artfrämmande dödssmittat organ, och man har varken hyfs eller vett nog att känna den verkligt djupa tacksamheten… De storståtligaste, mest högkvalificerade, olidligt pösande platsannonser, hel- och halvsidiga, hela bilagor fulla i de tristaste och mest aktade blaskor (Frankfurter Arschgemeine är grotesk i det avseendet) betyder mycket litet för den och dess tänkbara gelikar. Så underbart att vara fri och någorlunda fattig, inte mer kompetent eller rangordnad eller beroende av någons uppskattning än en aldrig av människoglosöga skådad djuphavsvarelse!


Tillgodogör dej alla befriande avarter av bildning, och förbli fientligt främmande för middagsskålarnas och cocktailpladdrarnas parasitvärld. Inse att ingen vill ha med dej att göra om de inte tjänar något på det, hur subtilt och till synes människovänligt detta vinstsyfte än må vara, och alldeles oavsett om det är medvetet eller inte. Att du förväntas roa eller inspirera dem, eller att du rentav, som “ensam och utanför”, skulle må så väl av lite “mänsklig kontakt”, vilket får de bättre ställda att känna sej goda och generösa… Och med hela dej vill ingen befatta sej, endast med en tillrättalagd, skönfärgad, mildrad och rundad populärversion, som i allt ådagalägger sin betryggande samstämda harmlöshet. Därför blir sällskapsväsendet till en ömklig vämjelighet?


Människoföraktets frigörande folkliga möjlighet: om det drivs så långt att inget utrymme lämnas åt ledarkult, laglydighet, undersåtlighet.


Demonregissören Gud bygger kraftverk drivna av kreatursångest, och vi kan endast välja mellan att skildra eländet och vända bort blicken.


Någon säger: “Jag förstår mej verkligen inte på den människan” – ett yttrande som blottar en ögats grumlighet och tankens svaghet hos den talande, inte alls ett tecken på att denne skulle vara “bättre beskaffad” i jämförelse med den “svårförståelige”, ofta betraktad som moraliskt “ond”.

>Now reading: Chomsky and Erik Wijk

Understanding Power – Noam Chomsky

…if the U.S. public remains marginalized, there isn’t going to be much history left to worry about. We’re not living in the eighteenth century anymore. The problems may be sort of similar, but they’re quite different in scale, and the problems now have to do with human survival. So if the general population in the most powerful country in the world remains marginalized, we aren’t going to have to worry very much about history, because there isn’t going to be any. And that’s not very far away at this point.
The rich and the powerful are going to survive longer, but the effects are very real – and they’re getting worse very quickly as more and more people get marginalized because they play no role in profit-making, which is considered the only human value. Well, the environmental problems are simply much more significant in scale than anything else in the past. And there’s a fair possibility – certainly a possibility high enough so that no rational person would exclude it – that within a couple hundred years the world’s water level will have risen to the point that most human life will have been destroyed.

Allt vi här drömma om – Erik Wijk

I en låda – stor som systembolagets kartonger – ligger ett gigantiskt pussel av tätt sammanpressade papper. Det är hundratals, kanske ett tusental, sidor av diagram och tabeller, ord, citat och bibelhänvisningar – ofta hoptejpade tre eller fyra blad till stora ark. Men den gamla tejpen har slutat fästa, pappren är vårdslöst nerpressade i lådan och uppställningarna känns först lika omöjliga att få rätsida på som en hopknöglad origamifigur.
Efter några timmars sorterande har jag nått lådans botten.
Pappa har fyllt två kollegieblock med ungefär femtusen namn och ord i strikt alfabetisk ordning – vilket betyder att han först måste ha skrivit ned alla ord i ett lösbladssystem – åtföljt av nummer på de stycken i Arcana Coelestia där ordet återfinns. Det är allt. Inga kommentarer, inga slutsatser.
I buntar om fem-tio lösa A4-papper har han med anteckningar och citat från Swedenborg och Bibeln fördjupat en del begrepp: Ankomst, Kristus, Messias, Konungen, Den Smorde, Vandra, Guds son, Herren är livet, Klippa, Tron, Svärd, Sitta etc.
Pärmen innehåller också ett annat stort projekt. Något mer självständigt, om än rent mekaniskt. Pappa har alfabetiskt listat alla ord i Psaltaren och angett kapitel och vers. Det har ingen gjort förut.
Men ingen analys, inga förklaringar.
Så småningom växte Olofs största ambition fram. Han skulle själv göra det som mästaren inte hann eller mäktade. Han skulle angripa Nya testamentet och finna evangeliernas egentliga mening. Han skulle dra fram sanningen ur berättelserna om Kristus.
Åtskilliga hundra blad i den andliga kartongen består av uppställningar av kristendomens mest centrala texter: Evangelium enligt Lukas, Matteus, Markus och Johannes.

Pappa har gått till väga på två olika vis. Det ena är en uppspaltning av ord, begrepp eller företeelser med hänvisning till de olika ställena i evangelierna där de förekommer. Det har blivit ytterst minutiösa diagram där han för hand med hjälp av linjal ordnat kolumner och rader så de passar hans syften. Han arbetar smått och prydligt. Dessa rutsystem på blanka vita papper är så perfekta att jag måste titta mycket nära och länge för att avgöra om de inte i själva verket är tryckta – men det är de inte.
Hans andra metod är att utgå från händelserna i Jesu liv, eller de budskap som Jesus framför, och söka efter paralleller mellan de olika evangelierna. Det är då han tvingas tejpa ihop flera blad för att sida vid sida få plats med de fullständiga citat som hos de olika evangelierna motsvarar varandra. Detta gör han kanske hundra gånger, ibland är citaten först utskrivna på maskin i smala kolumner så att resultatet liknar ett lapptäcke. Ofta är citaten nedskrivna för hand, lika prydligt.
Jag tror de flesta av oss kopplar mening till nytta. Och nytta reduceras ofta till ekonomisk försörjning. Har vi bara ett arbete och uträttar det vi är ålagda så har vi gjort rätt för oss och behöver inte tänka så mycket mer på det. Ytterst är det lönebeskedet som legitimerar existensen.
Om man som pappa inte behöver arbeta för att få mat på bordet blir meningsfrågan mer akut. Då måste man ta den brottningen varje dag. Olof får inte ett månadsbelopp som bevis för utfört arbete. Han får ingen hjälp av jobbarkompisar att bekräfta någonting. Heller ingen familj eller umgänge som får honom att känna att han betyder något. Han måste på ett helt annat sätt tro på en stor mening och vara övertygad om att han har en uppgift i detta meningsfulla.
Jag kan inte riktigt föreställa mig hur det känns att i åratal, i decennier, arbeta på en stor men inbillad uppgift – och till slut tvingas pressa ned misslyckandet i en sliten pappkartong.

>Repetition III



1 And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean.
3 And this shall be his uncleanness in his issue: whether his flesh run with his issue, or his flesh be stopped from his issue, it is his uncleanness.
4 Every bed, whereon he lieth that hath the issue, is unclean: and every thing, whereon he sitteth, shall be unclean.
5 And whosoever toucheth his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
6 And he that sitteth on any thing whereon he sat that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
7 And he that toucheth the flesh of him that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
8 And if he that hath the issue spit upon him that is clean; then he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
9 And what saddle soever he rideth upon that hath the issue shall be unclean.
10 And whosoever toucheth any thing that was under him shall be unclean until the even: and he that beareth any of those things shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
11 And whomsoever he toucheth that hath the issue, and hath not rinsed his hands in water, he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
12 And the vessel of earth, that he toucheth which hath the issue, shall be broken: and every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water.
13 And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean.
14 And on the eighth day he shall take to him two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, and come before the LORD unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and give them unto the priest:
15 And the priest shall offer them, the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD for his issue.
16 And if any man’s seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even.
17 And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even.
18 The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even.
19 And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.
20 And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean.
21 And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
22 And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
23 And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even.
24 And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean.
25 And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean.
26 Every bed whereon she lieth all the days of her issue shall be unto her as the bed of her separation: and whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation.
27 And whosoever toucheth those things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
28 But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean.
29 And on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles, or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
30 And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for her before the LORD for the issue of her uncleanness.
31 Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile my tabernacle that is among them.
32 This is the law of him that hath an issue, and of him whose seed goeth from him, and is defiled therewith;
33 And of her that is sick of her flowers, and of him that hath an issue, of the man, and of the woman, and of him that lieth with her that is unclean.