n; 2. To change anything you must first accept it.
age: n; 6. I have always been older than my age, and younger than my contemporaries.
allegiance: n; The creative life is founded on the understanding that one’s allegiance to this world is partial.
ambiguity: n; 7. The gift of ambiguity is not one that most people will accept… and they will certainly not open it.
argument: n;. 4. Every simple argument is an argument from absurdity.
artist: n; 30. “It is not so much where my motivation comes from but how it has managed to survive” – Louise Bourgeois.
autumn: n; 4. A day comes when every leaf realizes that what it thirsts for is not to be found in trees.
capacity: n; Statistical laws “express our inability to know or act rather than the nature of physical reality”. - Gillespie.
complicity: n; There is a point at which one becomes complicit with the sadistic impulses of one’s jailer, or one’s interrogator— this point is birth.
consolation: n; 2. We are born with access to two doors. One of them is suicide, the other is creativity. The fact that sometimes the door of creativity opens onto a room where one finds only the door to suicide is an architectural peculiarity that is neither cruel nor significant.
consummation: n; We are all offered the possibility of proceeding, even if only for one or two steps, towards an inconceivable consummation.
contribution: n; 2. If it is true, as M. Polanyi said, that the articulate life of a man’s mind is his specific contribution to the universe, then the most apposite response of universe would be thanks for nothing.
defense: n; 2. All prolonged creative activity is always a defense of the spirit against all those forces which are inimical towards it— which is to say, all forces.
dictionary: n; 5. I have described the contents of these pages as paths of thinking; Hannah Arendt is more precise: they are the paths saved by thinking.
discovery: n; 7. The scientist who fails to understand that every discovery leads to ruinous consequences has failed to understand his science.
divergence: n; In my words you can hear the receding footsteps of the one you have come to meet.
dogma: n; A statement which cannot be refuted yet makes a claim to truth is often mistaken for food by domesticated animals.
dream: n; 2. A dream lies because a dream’s only desire, and sole talent, is to please
endurance: n; 3. A creative artist (and not simply a technically proficient artist) is an attempt to endure truth. It is also the only such attempt that has any chance of success.
evolution: n; 5. To be perfectly adapted to a contemptible situation is not a form of progress.
good; n; The greater good is littered with corpses, necessarily— this is its allure.
happiness: n; 8. Any happiness that cannot be disappointed by concrete experiences supports itself by exhausting the happiness of others.
illness: n; 5. Illness is the most resolute emissary of the necessary.
majesty: n; As words become more impressive they become more demanding. Eventually we are commanded to endure words that we are unable to endure. It is only through evincing such inadequacies that words are able to achieve their true majesty.
pleasure: n; 2. Pleasure is how suffering suffers.
poet: n; 60. The incommunicability of the earned privilege of poetic experience is what the poet communicates. 61. What begins in the poet must never end there.
poetry: n; 39. Those who do not know the difference between a poem and poetry, and claim that they are writing poetry, will always be far closer to poetry while they remain silent.
present: n; 2. The present is the name of our battle with what is not.
sanity: n; 3. If you cannot see the walls of the asylum it does not mean you are sane.
slogan: n; 2. A slogan is evidence that thinking has pawned all of its possessions.
society: n; A man will consent to being destroyed by society because, were he to live outside of society, he would be destroyed.
truth: n; 18. The truth asks you to disrobe. When you refuse it does it for you.
write: v; 9. What we do not write for those do exist, we write for those who do not exist.
from Mortivations (preparatory exercises for catharsis)
(recent excerpts from A Personal Dictionary)
© Mike Schertzer, 2011