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I’ve been busy lately.

Perhaps you see very little link between the Charles of 1267 with all his newfangled French notions of chastity and chasing after Holy Grails, the Charles of 1867 with his loathing of trade, and the Charles of today, a computer scientist deaf to the screams of the tender humanists who begin to discern their own redundancy. But there is a link: they all rejected or reject the notion of possession as the purpose of life, whether it be of a woman’s body, or of high profit at all costs, or of the right to dictate the speed of progress. The scientist is but one more form; and will be superseded.

Now all this is the great and timeless relevance of the New Testament myth of the Temptation in the Wilderness. All who have insight and education have automatically their own wilderness; and at some point in their life they will have their temptation. Their rejection may be foolish; but it is never evil. You have just turned down a tempting offer in commercial applied science in order to continue your academic teaching? Your last exhibition did not sell as well as the previous one, but you are determined to keep to your new style? You have just made some decision in which your personal benefit, your chance of possession, has not been allowed to interfere? Then do not dismiss Charles’s state of mind as a mere conditioning of futile snobbery. See him for what he is: a man struggling to overcome history. And even though he does not realize it.

Anunțuri

The supposed great misery of our century is the lack of time; our sense of that, not a disinterested love of science, and certainly not wisdom, is why we devote such a huge proportion of the ingenuity and income of our societies to finding faster ways of doing things—as if the final aim of mankind was to grow closer not to a perfect humanity, but to a perfect lightning flash. But for Charles, and for almost all his contemporaries and social peers, the time signature over existence was firmly adagio. The problem was not fitting in all that one wanted to do, but spinning out what one did to occupy the vast colonnades of leisure available.

One of the commonest symptoms of wealth today is destructive neurosis; in his century it was tranquil boredom.

Only I have no luck any more. But who knows? Maybe today. Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.

The setting of the sun is a difficult time for all fish.

 

[Later edit:] This was almost prophetic. Sometimes I can’t believe it.

„You haven’t really been anywhere until you’ve got back home.”

„TAKE THESE THINGS, NOW, said Death, fingering a passing canape. I MEAN, MUSHROOMS YES, CHICKEN YES, CREAM YES, I’VE NOTHING AGAINST ANY OF THEM, BUT WHY IN THE NAME OF SANITY MINCE THEM ALL UP AND PUT THEM IN LITTLE PASTRY CASES?”

I am learning new lessons: Simplicity – Solitude – Intermittency…

I cannot explain myself to the world. For the reasons that trigger my very existence are simply irrelevant to the rest, and defending them would be as useless as trying to convince a wolf to rely on salad. However, my quest for tranquillity, purity and balance is unblemished. And no dreadful memories, no fears or doubts would stain the most important moments.

I took the Gift from the Sea and embraced it all, realizing that it is the preaching of my practice.

One comes in the end to realize that there is no permanent pure-relationship and there should not be. It is not even something to be desired. The pure relationship is limited, in space and in time. It excludes the rest of life, other relationships, other sides of personality, other responsibilities, other possibilities in the future. It excludes growth.

But, what life taught me the most, and only acknowledged it recently… is the fact that good things always return, teasing, lingering, tormenting. Sitting, waiting, wishing, enjoying every step.

Perhaps this is the most important thing for me to take back from beach-living: simply the memory that each cycle of the tide is valid; each cycle of the wave is valid; each cycle of a relationship is valid. And my shells? I can sweep them all into my pocket. They are only there to remind me that the sea recedes and returns eternally.

„and colder the thought of all the brine and foam, destined, as it seemed, to rush between me and the master”

Am terminat azi noapte Jane Eyre cu o fervoare pe care n-am mai simtit-o demult. Dar sa va explic. Rasfoind cu ceva timp in urma cartea, mi-a sarit in ochi celebra fraza – serios, literele parca s-au desprins de pe foaie tipand la mine:

„Reader, I married him.”

Dar n-am indraznit sa descifrez mai mult, am reluat cititul de acolo unde il lasasem, nestiind exact cu cine se maritase sau, macar, in ce capitol.

Asa ca in ultima parte am agonizat la ideea ca ar putea ramane cu St John. Mi-e greu sa accept moralitatea acelor vremuri, cand o casatorie intre veri buni era de preferat preteniei dintre un misionar si tanara sa rubedenie.

De altfel, nu voi intelege niciodata de ce a trebuit sa ma chinui mai bine de doua capitole cu interminabila discutie dintre cei doi. Singurul motiv pentru care Jane ii acorda atata atentie e promisiunea raiului, pe care nu o pot percepe. Eu parca stiam ca daca spui „fac asta si merg in rai”, sigur nu mai ajungi acolo. Lasam, trecem peste.

Mi-am dorit, de asemenea, sa nu mai existe nebanuite legaturi si imbarligaturi intre Jane si oamenii care i-au aratat bunavointa si au primit-o in casa lor. Adica, ce sanse sunt sa pleci de nebuna, sa nu stii incotro mergi, si sa iti gasesti familia pe care nici macar nu stiai ca o aveai. Dar vorbim de romantism – din coincidente, mistere, situatii si personaje extreme se hraneste un astfel de roman. Deci iertam si de data aceasta.

Weekendul acesta am capatat obiceiul sa imi notez citate intr-un carnetel. M-am amuzat uneori incercand sa anticipez ce fragmente ar fi asteptat profa mea de romana din liceu. Desigur, nu cele pe care le-am ales eu. Pe ea ar fi interesat-o culoarea sortului lui Janet cand gatea cheesecake si French pastries pentru her beloved master.

De ce m-a vrajit, totusi, cartea asta siropoasa? Pentru ca incepe bine, lucid si avantgardist pe alocuri.

„Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a constraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.”

Pentru ca in ratacirile sale ma regasesc:

„It is a very strange sensation to inexperienced youth to feel itself quite alone in the world, cut adrift from every connection, uncertain whether the port to which it is bound can be reached, and prevented by many impediments from returning to that it has quitted. The charm of adventure sweetens that sensation, the glow of pride warms it; but then the throb of fear disturbs it; and fear with me became predominant when half-an-hour elapsed and still I was alone.”

Pentru ca, spre deosebire de alte carti considerate mari romane de dragoste, aici se vorbeste mult despre armonie. De obicei, personajele trec unul pe langa altul, desincronizate, evitand sa-si deschida sufletul. In Jane Eyre, cei doi se potrivesc perfect. Cat chin in ultima intalnire dintre Anna Karenina si Vronsky si cat de induiosatoare sunt gesturile lui Edward Rochester. Intreaga poveste e tatonare si tachinarie. Crezi ca a uitat-o complet si descoperi ca o asteapta dincolo de usa inchisa. Ti se pare ca totul e sortit pieirii, iar finalul fericit vine cu atata usurinta, incat te miri de ce nu s-a intamplat asta mai repede. Recunosc, lumea lui Tolstoi e mai aproape de realitate, dar mai avem nevoie si de vise. Din cand in cand.

 

„I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you – especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous Channel, and two hundred miles or so of land come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I’ve a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly. As for you, – you’d forget me.”

 

Words such as: haughty, preternatural, piquant, genial, ere, or inextricably. Or the fact that the ladies wore dresses made of cheese cloth, which they called muslin; and had pinafores on top of those. And their maids were named abigails, they would look sometimes awry and feared the fiend. But, mostly, they admired mien gentlemen and worshipped God.

Motto:

„loving someone is helping them when they get into trouble, and looking after them, and telling them the truth”

Stiu ca e restanta de anul trecut, dar abia acum ma incumet sa va povestesc ce impresii mi-a lasat „The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”. Dupa cum bine stiti, am citit cartea in engleza si, intr-un fel, ma bucur, pentru ca ‘And’-ul englezesc la fiecare inceput de fraza e, pare-mi-se, mai suportabil decat suieratorul ‘şi’ romanesc.

Dupa cum autorul afirma la un moment dat, Haddon a scris cartea fara sa faca un studiu asupra sindromului Asperger, iar lucrul acesta se simte. Romanul inglobeaza clisee binecunoscute despre geniile fara sentimente si despre stiinta, dar conditia (mi-e greu sa-i zic boala) lui Christopher e un pretext perfect pentru comentarii geeky, puzzle-uri si probleme de matematica.

M-a impresionat enorm prapastia dintre evenimentele grav relatate si aparenta lipsa de emotii a protagonistului. Nimic nu pare sa-l atinga, intr-o prima instanta. Totul e inregistrat mecanic, pentru ca, mai apoi, sa se transforme intr-un uragan de senzatii, percepand sentimentele intr-un mod organic si imposibil de controlat. Asta nu inseamna ca textul nu transmite nici o emotie. Dimpotriva, povestea e atat de bizara, iar situatia atat de induiosatoare, incat, in momentul in care Christopher gaseste scrisorile mamei sale, n-am mai putut citi mai departe si am simtit nevoia sa fac o pauza. Femeile pot fi incredibil de egoiste. O spun pentru ca o simt uneori, dar incerc sa inhib astfel de porniri. Iar combinat cu sentimentul inutilitatii, depresia si renuntarea isi fac culcus. Si totusi, decizia ei de a-i parasi, e pur egoism, e dorinta de a se simti implinita si importanta, in centrul atentiei, nu invizibila.

„And I remember looking at the two of you and seeing you together and thinking how you were really differant wit him. [..] And it made me so sad because it was like you didn’t really need me at all. „

Pe de alta parte, aceeasi seninatate cu care Christopher priveste lumea ii permite sa treaca dincolo de conveniente si sa se exprime cu o sinceritate adesea taioasa, dar atat de savuroasa pentru cititorul care s-a trezit de multe ori razand in mijlocul unei foarte importante conferinte:

„All the other children at my school are stupid. Except I’m not meant to call them stupid, even though this is what they are. I’m meant to say that they have learning difficulties or that they have special needs.  But this is stupid because everyone has learning difficulties because learning to speak French or understanding Relativity is difficult, and also everyone has special needs, like Father who has to carry a little packet of artificial sweetening tablets around him to put in his coffee to stop him getting fat, or Mrs Peters who wears a beige-coloured hearing aid, or Siobhan who has glasses so thick that they give you a headache if you borrow them, and none of these people are Special Needs, even if they have special needs.”

Desi e un copil care nu intelege metaforele, Christopher se pricepe tare bine la comparatii, iar viziunea lui asupra vietii si lumii, in general, e una proaspata si surprinzatoare.

„I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical, but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.”

Pentru cei din jur, „maths wasn’t like life because in life there are no straightforward answers at the end.”

„People always think there is something special about what they can’t see, like the dark side of the moon, or the other side of a black hole, or in the dark when the wake up at night and they’re scared.”

Pentru Christopher, „intuition can sometimes get things wrong. And intuition is what people use in life to make decisions. But logic can help you work out the right answer.”

Argumetarile lui sunt uneori inspaimantator de reusite, aproape m-a convins ca ne asemaman cu un calculator mai mult decat ne-ar placea sa credem.

„Also people think they’re not computers because they have feelings. But feelings are just having a picture on the screen in your head of what is going to happen tomorrow or next year, or what might have happened instead of what did happen, and if it is a happy picture they smile and if it is a sad picture they cry.”

Exprimarea stangace contrasteaza puternic cu ideile profunde. Trebuie sa recunosc, mi-a placut la nebunie povestea asta amestecata, mi-am notat o groaza de citate despre timp si extraterestri, si Occam’s razor, si cat de minusculi si neglijabili suntem prin comparatie. Dar ma opresc aici, nu vi le transcriu pe toate, pentru ca le-ati citit si voi si sunt sigura ca v-au placut. Dupa cum bine zicea,

„I think that there are so many things just in one house, that it would take years to think about all of them properly.”

Pe alocuri, simt ca ma aseman cu personajul acesta curios: jocurile de Minesweeper, stanjeneala pe care o creeaza intrebarea „Ce mai faci?” („And I said, ‘I’m doing very well, thank you’, which is what you’re meant to say.), vidul pe care il simt cand vad meniul intr-un restaurant, teama de locuri noi si necunoscute (nu de metroul londonez, mai degraba de ala din Viena m-as teme), momentele in care prefer sa tac si sa ascult, decat sa ma angajez in discutii.  Nu mai zic ca am si ajuns in Willesden Junction, dar n-am poze sa va demonstrez pentru ca discutasem cu colegii de birou si stabilisem ca e un „dodgy place”, ceea ce s-a dovedit a fi perfect adevarat. 😀 Mi-ar fi placut sa pot face cautari in memorie precum el, dar …nah, asta e. Finalul fericit imi da sperante.

„And then I will get a First Class Honours Degree and I will become a scientist. And I know I can do this because I went to London on my own (almost, in my case), […] and I was brave and I wrote a book (if dissertation counts) and that means I can do anything.”

Concluzia:

„And it is funny, because economists are not real scientists, and because logicians think more clearly, but mathematicians are the best.”

BookFrenzy

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O pata gri intr-un ocean de culoare.

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