memories of the future


Side trip to Moscow

p68: A city knows nothing of separations–that never dispersing crowd, music without pauses–the people in it are too close together to be close to one another. The narrow streets along which you and I are now wandering, Sonata, are forever knocking into each other for want of space, physical or otherwise // The person who doesn’t want this soup rattles his spoon and pushes the plate away; but people with no appetite for each other tend to rattle on and on, unable to push away what is unnecessary

p67: I recognized the restrained sorrow of the first movement, Les Adieux // but then Stuart Mill was right: to understand is to transgress // unable to take my leave of the sonata of leave-takings // so I invited the sonata, as it alighted from the keys, to walk with me along the muddy cobles in the lanes across the river. In exchange for the emotion the music had given me, I offered to help it finish what it had begun. Happiness, I argued, doesn’t like to oblige people because people don’t give it (happiness) any holidays. If people knew how to live like the sonata, in three movements, interspersing meetings with partings, allowing happiness to go off for short spells, for a few bars at least, they mightn’t be so unhappy

side trip to irreality

p100: Pascal was the first to separate the world of reality from the world of dreams. ‘Reality,’ he asserted, ‘is constant, whereas dreams are flimsy and variable; if a man always dreamed the same dream, and if he woke up every day among new people and new surroundings, then reality would seem to him a dream, while his dream would have all the qualities of reality.’ // reality since Pascal’s time has lost much of its constancy and invariability // nearly every day the morning papers give waking up a new reality, whereas dreams … haven’t we managed to unify dreams?

side trip to resignation

p109: Resignation to one’s fate takes practice. Like any art. Or so citizen Shushashin maintains. He begins every day–after putting on his shoes and washing his face, before throwing on his jacket–with an exercise. Again, the expression is his. This exercise works like this: he walks over to the wall, puts his back up against it and stands there in an attitude of utter resignation. For a minute or two. And that’s all. The exercise is over. He can begin to live.

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