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Tag: Pascal

Silence and Mortality

Silence and Mortality

No more words! A funny thing for a writer to demand. Not for an artist or a composer, necessarily. But it’s a strange call coming from an author, who obviously depends on words for his/her brick and mortar. Silence. The fear of. The desire for. The demand, the scream, the crying out loud. Stop!!!     “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”     – Ludwig Wittgenstein     “The silence of these infinite spaces frightens me.”     – Blaise…

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Multiplicity, Faith and History

Multiplicity, Faith and History

Pascal said: “The eternal silence of these infinite spaces terrifies me.” He was thinking about the heavens, the stars, galaxies, night. He said in another pensée: “For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either.” I imagine most of us have these feelings from time to time. The immensity of the universe dwarfing us, subduing us, making…

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Camus and the Absurd

Camus and the Absurd

There was a lot of absurdity in Camus’s life. When he published The Stranger in 1942, France was occupied by the Germans. Even though it was a rebuke of the Vichy government, among many other things, the German censors let it go. Camus had his Goya and Velasquez mojo working, so Vichy and the Nazis didn’t see what he was up to. Nor did they know about his work for the Resistance, and Combat, until it was too late. It…

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Van Gogh’s Nightsong

Van Gogh’s Nightsong

 There have been thousands of interpretations of Van Gogh’s most famous painting. Some find comfort in reduction. Reduced to a mere figment of his infected brain, reduced to a painting of scenery outside his asylum in Saint Remy, reduced to something your kid sister could do. Reduced. Thing is, the most important thing, this is a painting of a world without end, a million worlds without beginning or end that fight against reduction to the death. Or, if there is…

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