‘To those human beings who are of any concern to me, I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities, profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust and the wretchedness of the vanquished… Don’t talk about giftedness or inborn talents. One can name all kinds of very great people who were not very gifted. They acquired greatness. They became geniuses; and they did so by overcoming difficulties.’
‘There’s another disadvantage to the use of the flashlight: like many other mechanical gadgets it tends to separate a man from the world around him. If I switch it on my eyes adapt to it and I can see only the small pool of light which it makes in front of me; I am isolated. Leaving the flashlight in my pocket where it belongs, I remain a part of the environment I walk through and my vision though limited has no sharp or definite boundary.’
Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey
‘Look straight ahead. What’s there?
If you see it as it is
You will never err.’
Ah, Harry, we have to stumble through so much dirt and humbug before we reach home. And we have no one to guide us. Our only guide is our homesickness.
Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse
‘…several things dove-tailed in my mind, and at once it struck me what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in Literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously—I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason…’
‘Enclosure did not just physically transfer the control over grasslands from the peasants to the lord. It marked a radical change in the attitudes of society toward the environment. Before, in any juridical system, most of the environment had been considered as commons from which most people could draw most of their sustenance without needing to take recourse to the market. After enclosure the environment became primarily a resource at the service of ‘enterprises’ which, by organizing wage-labor, transformed nature into the goods and services on which the satisfaction of basic needs by consumers depends. This transformation is the blind spot of political economy… Enclosure allows the bureaucrat to define local community as impotent to provide for its own survival.’
In the Mirror of the Past Ivan Illich
Do you know the land where the lemon trees bloom
And oranges glow from the leaves’ dark gloom
And a soft wind wafts from a cloudless sky
And the myrtles stand calm and the laurels high,
You must know that land?
It is there, there,
I long to go with you, my beloved.
(Johann Wolfgang von Goeth)