Entries from April 2008 ↓

“When you consider something like death, after which (there being
no news flash to the contrary) we may well go out like a candle
flame, then it probably doesn’t matter if we try too hard, are
awkward sometimes, care for one another too deeply, are
excessively curious about nature, are too open to experience,
enjoy a nonstop expense of the senses in an effort to know life
intimately and lovingly. It probably doesn’t matter if, while
trying to be modest and eager watchers of life’s many spectacles,
we sometimes look clumsy or get dirty or ask stupid questions or
reveal our ignorance or say the wrong think or light up with
wonder like the children we all are. It probably doesn’t matter
if a passerby sees us dipping a finger into the moist pouches of
dozens of lady’s slippers to find out what bugs tend to fall into
them, and thinks us a bit eccentric. Or a neighbor, fetching her
mail, sees us standing in the cold with our own letters in one
hand and a seismically red autumn leaf in the other, its color
hitting our sense like a blow from a stun gun, as we stand with a
huge grin, too paralyzed by the intricately veined gaudiness of
the leaf to move.”

– Diane Ackerman, from A Natural History of the Senses.

“Suppose there were an iron room with no windows or doors, a room
it would be virtually impossible to break out of. And suppose
you had some people inside that room who were sound asleep.
Before long they would all suffocate. In other words, they would
slip peacefully from a deep slumber into oblivion, spared the
anguish of being conscious of their impending doom. Now let’s
say that you came along and stirred up a big racket that awakened
some of the lighter sleepers. In that case, they would go to a
certain death fully conscious of what was going to happen to
them. Would you say that you had done those people a favor?”

– Lu Xun (1881-1936), Chinese writer, from Diary of a Madman and
Other Stories, translated by William A. Lyell.