(Prompted by a wonderful paper presented at U2: The Hype and the Feedback.)

"There remains an experience of incomparable value.  We have for once learned to see the great events of world history from below, from the perspective of the outcast, the suspects, the maltreated, the powerless, the oppressed, the reviled - in short, from the perspective of those who suffer. The important thing is that neither bitterness nor envy should have gnawed at the heart during this time, that we should have come to look with new eyes at matters great and small, sorrow and joy, strength and weakness, that our perception of generosity, humanity, justice and mercy should have become clearer, freer, less corruptible.  We have to learn that personal suffering is a more effective key, a more rewarding principle for exploring the world in thought and action than personal good fortune.  This perspective from below must not become the partisan possession of those who are eternally dissatisfied; rather, we must do justice to life in all its dimensions from a higher satisfaction, whose foundation is beyond any talk of 'from below' or 'from above'.  This is the way in which we may affirm it."

- Letters and Papers from Prison, 1942
"Admit the mystery of the people we are not.

If we are convinced we know them, we don't. If we choose to act upon the emotions aroused by blind knowledge, we make a public reality of internal presumption. Whether we throw brickbats or bouquets, whether the emotion is a fierce infatuation or an abdominal disgust, then-- to the extent of our social power-- we imprison humans of genuine mystery in the cells of our simplicities."


- Walter Wangerin
flyingrat: (young wizards)
(From Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet".)

...But let me make this request right away: Read as little as possible of literary criticism - such things are either partisan opinions, which have become petrified and meaningless, hardened and empty of life, or else they are just clever word-games, in which one view wins today, and tomorrow the opposite view. Works of art are of an infinite solitude, and no means of approach is so useless as criticism. Only love can touch and hold them and be fair to them. - Always trust yourself and your own feeling, as opposed to argumentations, discussions, or introductions of that sort; if it turns out that you are wrong, then the natural growth of your inner life will eventually guide you to other insights. Allow your judgments their own silent, undisturbed development, which, like all progress, must come from deep within and cannot be forced or hastened. Everything is gestation and then birthing. To let each impression and each embryo of a feeling come to completion, entirely in itself, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one's own understanding, and with deep humility and patience to wait for the hour when a new clarity is born: this alone is what it means to live as an artist: in understanding as in creating.

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flyingrat

March 2011

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