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Old 05-14-2008   #31
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

Quote Originally Posted by Daisy View Post

As TL points out in The Conspiracy Against the Human Race, this lineage can be traced back to the eighteenth century, to writers like La Rochefoucauld and the Marquis de Sade. To these I would add Jonathan Swift. In this excerpt from A Tale of A Tub (published 1704), Swift anticipates Peter Wessel Zapffe, who identifies distraction as the means through which we maintain our illusions and keep the darkness at bay:
And in 1670, Blaise Pascal, in his Pensees, anticipates Swift, preferring the term diversion:

"Being unable to cure death, wretchedness and ignorance, men have decided, in order to be happy, not to think about such things."

"The only good thing for men therefore is to be diverted from thinking of what they are, either by some occupation which takes their mind of it, or by some novel and agreeable passion which keeps them busy, like gambling, hunting, some absorbing show, in short by what is called diversion. That is why gaming and feminine society, war and high office are so popular." To this list of diversions, I would add: posting with my fellow Ligottians on TLO, not to mention solving Ligottian crossword puzzles (nod of the head to G.S. Carnivals).

And who hasn't felt like this: "I feel that it is possible that I might never have existed, for my self consists in my thought; therefore I who think would never have been if my mother had been killed before I had come to life; therefore I am not a necessary being. I am not eternal or infinite either..." [and here is where Monsieur Pascal and I part company] "...but I can see that there is in nature a being who is necessary, eternal, and infinite." Bah! And here we realize, my friends, that we have been taken for a ride, that what we thought was pessimism, was in fact a ruse... How few writers fail to betray their readers! In dejection I turn once more to the journal of J.P. Drapeau... "Ahhh, the music of graveyards..."

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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Old 05-14-2008   #32
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

Quote Originally Posted by gveranon View Post
Quotes attributed to Samuel Beckett:
Another one, being quoted in the 'Cone Zero' book:

“Well on the way to inexistence. As zero to the infinite.”
--Samuel Beckett (Ill Seen Ill Said 1981)
des

PS> Thanks, GSC, for your embroidering on the Toilet Mythos.

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Old 05-14-2008   #33
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

"I am not, as you will have observed, a man greatly enamored of his fellow human beings. I do not enter lightly into the foibles and whimsicalities of others, I do not suffer fools gladly, I seem able, in conversation, only to needle or be needled. My relationships, as a result, are few, and those few are tenuous, prickly sorts of arrangements, altogether lacking in the spontaneity and intimacy for which human beings, I'm told, have an instinctive need. I am aware of no such instincts in myself. But there is a type of dour and taciturn individual in whose company I can, I find, be at ease--men with strong, uncomplicated natures and no interest in chatter. Silent, stolid men. My gardener, George Lecky, was just such a man, and it is high time, I think, after listening to Sidney's fatuous nonsense, and witnessing the furtive mockery of Fledge, that you were introduced to him." -- Patrick McGrath, The Grotesque

A little misanthropy to go with your pessimism.

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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Old 05-14-2008   #34
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

"I turned to Sidney and asked him what he knew about the life cycle of the bot-fly. The poor dummy blushed scarlet; he had never even heard of the bot-fly, so I told him all about it. Do you know the life cycle of the bot-fly? Gastrophilus equi? It lays its eggs on the fore-quarters of a horse. When the eggs hatch out, the irritation makes the horse lick the hairs and swallow the larvae. The larvae feed on the inner lining of the horse's stomach for a year, and then lodge in its dung and are excreted. They bury themselves in the ground and pupate--and the process starts all over again. Elegant, no? Elegant, invariable--and pointless." -- Patrick McGrath, The Grotesque

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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Old 05-14-2008   #35
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

“They lived in a great city, a metropolis of many narratives that converged briefly and then separated for ever, discovering their different dooms in that crowd of stories through which all of us, following our own destinies, had to push and shove to find our way through, or out.”
from THE GROUND BENEATH HER FEET by Salman Rushdie

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Old 05-14-2008   #36
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

PRESCRIPTION: Take one passage three times a day. If symptoms of hope and optimism persist, increase the dosage. Avoid contact with human beings, and keep the curtains drawn. Drink plenty of whiskey, and read the fictions of Thomas Ligotti. Should these measures fail to cleanse your system of hope, I will have no option but to refer you to Dr. Thoss, a shadowy physician, assisted by none other than Dr. Zirk-- together they operate a medical establishment of sorts in a town over the northern border, the name of the town, for the moment, escapes me...

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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Old 05-14-2008   #37
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

PRESCRIPTION: Take one passage three times a day
======================

I find this passage pessimistic and I need to take it intravenously:

Wrzesmian wasn't too popular. The works of this strange man, saturated with rampant fantasy and imbued with strong individualism, gave a most unfavourable impression by inverting accepted aesthetic-literary theories and by mocking established pseudo-truths. His output was eventually acknowledged as the product of a sick imagination, the bizarre work of an eccentric, maybe even a madman. Wrzesmian was an inconvenience for a variety of reasons and he disturbed unnecessarily, stirring peaceful waters. Thus his premature eclipse was received with a secret sigh of relief.
FROM "THE AREA" BY STEFAN GRABINSKI.

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Old 05-14-2008   #38
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

Quote Originally Posted by Bleak&Icy View Post
"The only good thing for men therefore is to be diverted from thinking of what they are, either by some occupation which takes their mind of it, or by some novel and agreeable passion which keeps them busy, like gambling, hunting, some absorbing show, in short by what is called diversion. That is why gaming and feminine society, war and high office are so popular." To this list of diversions, I would add: posting with my fellow Ligottians on TLO, not to mention solving Ligottian crossword puzzles (nod of the head to G.S. Carnivals).
Thank you, Bleak&Icy. I am comforted to know that someone is attempting to solve the crossword puzzles. Their creation was for me a true diversion and distraction. Devising these helped to get me through a winter which I thought would never end.

"What does it mean to be alive except to court disaster and suffering at every moment?"

Tibet: Carnivals?
Ligotti: Ceremonies for initiating children into the cult of the sinister.
Tibet: Gas stations?
Ligotti: Nothing to say about gas stations as such, although I've always responded to the smell of gasoline as if it were a kind of perfume.
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Old 05-14-2008   #39
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

"Life is painful and disappointing. It is useless, therefore, to write new realistic novels. We generally know where we stand in relation to reality and don't care to know any more. Humanity, such as it is, inspires only an attenuated curiosity in us. All those prodigiously refined 'notations', 'situations', anecdotes... All they do, once a book has been set aside, is reinforce the slight revulsion that is already adequately nourished by any one of our 'real life' days."

--Michel Houellebecq, first paragraph of H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life (trans. Dorna Khazeni, ellipsis in original)
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Old 05-14-2008   #40
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

Here are excerpts from a multi-page Bernhardian rant: a potent mixture of pessimism, misanthropy, and Zapffe-like declarations favoring extinction. The raving eventually self-destructs with the admission that it was all "a nonsense." There is some uncharacteristic clumsiness in the prose, and I don't know whether to blame the translators or the fact that this is a relatively early work.

"...this prompts Oehler to continue his remarks on the making of children. To make a human being about whom we know that he does not want the life that has been made for him, says Oehler, for the fact that there is not a single human being who wants the life that has been made for him will certainly come out sooner or later, and before that person ceases to exist no matter who it is: to make such a person is really criminal. People in their baseness – disguised as helplessness – simply convince themselves that they want to have their lives, whereas in reality they never wished to have their lives.... All of these people convince themselves of this unbelievable lie. Millions convince themselves of this lie. They wish to have their lives, they say, and bear witness to it in public, day in day out, but the truth is that they do not want to have their lives. No one wants to have his life, says Oehler, everyone has to come to terms with his life, but he does not want to have it, if he once has his life, says Oehler, he has to pretend to himself that his life is something, but in reality and in truth it is nothing but horrible to him. Life is not worth a single day, says Oehler, if you will only take the trouble to look at these hundreds of people here on this street, if you keep your eyes open where the people are.... In point of fact, right here in this street, this individual sickness, which runs into the thousands. Uncomprehending and helpless, says Oehler, you have to watch, day in day out, the making of masses of new and ever greater human misfortune, so much human ugliness, so much human atrocity, he says, every day, with unparalleled regularity and stupidity. You know yourself, says Oehler, just as I know myself, and all these people are also no different from us, but only unhappy and helpless and fundamentally lost. He, Oehler, to speak radically, stood for the gradual, total demise of the human race, if he had his way, no more children not a single one and thus no more human beings, not a single one. The world would slowly die out, says Oehler. Ever fewer human beings, finally no human beings at all, not a single human being. But what he has just said, the earth gradually dying out and human beings growing fewer and fewer in the most natural way and finally dying out altogether, is only the raving of a mind that is already totally, and in the most total manner, working with the process of thinking and, in Oehler's own words, a nonsense."

--Thomas Bernhard, Walking (trans. Peter Jansen and Kenneth J. Northcutt)
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