As usual this morning I managed to get myself out of bed about 07.30 and return to its warmth with a cup of tea to start the day with some reading. There were just a couple of Kindle pages left of Sloterdijk’s The Art of Philosophy: Wisdom as Practice, and he finishes with a quotation from an old friend Fernando Pessoa which I must repeat here:
‘The nocturnal glory of being great without being anything! The somber majesty of unknown splendour . . . and all at once I experience the sublime state of the monk in the wilderness or of the hermit in his retreat, acquainted with the substance of Christ in the stones and in the caves of withdrawal from the world. And at this table in my room I’m less of a petty, anonymous employee. I write words as if they were the soul’s salvation and I gild myself with the impossible sunset of high and vast hills in the distance, and with the status I received in exchange for life’s pleasures and with the ring of renunciation on my evangelical finger, stagnant jewel of my ecstatic disdain.’
Great stuff! And then having finished Sloterdijk I turn to another book I am currently reading: Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman and read:
‘That’s not all, though. In The Book of Disquiet, Pessoa writes: “The only attitude worthy of a superior man is to persist in an activity he recognises as useless, to observe a discipline he knows is sterile, and to apply certain norms of philosophical and metaphysical thought that he considers utterly inconsequential.”
A little later Alameddine writes:
‘Whether we find Walter Benjamin’s lost suitcase, civilisation will march forward and backward, people will trot the globe, wars will rage, lunches will be served. Whether anyone reads Pessoa. None of this art business is of any consequence. It is mere folly.’
So? Yes it must be true that my writing which is only published on this blog and maybe is glanced at by one or two people is of no consequence; yet . . . yet it feels like vital work and, yes, which simultaneously is a stupid waste of time.
On we go!