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Old 10-29-2008   #201
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

Another exchange from Sylvester's Interviews with Francis Bacon:
DS At what age did you come to realize that death was going to happen to you too?

FB I realized when I was seventeen. I remember it very, very clearly. I remember looking at a dog-#### on the pavement and I suddenly realized, there it is—this is what life is like. Strangely enough, it tormented me for months, till I came to, as it were, accept that here you are, existing for a second, brushed off like flies on the wall.

DS You often quote Gloucester's lines, 'As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; / They kill us for their sport.' I've not heard you quote Edgar's lines, 'The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices / Make instruments to plague us.' I take it that the first statement is the one with which you would tend to identify your own view of life.

FB I think of life as meaningless; but we give it meaning during our own existence. We create certain attitudes which give it a meaning while we exist, though they in themselves are meaningless, really.

DS A meaning in which sense?

FB A way of existing from day to day.

DS A purpose?

FB A purpose for nothing.

DS So that, in spite of the sense that life is ultimately futile, nevertheless one finds the energy to do something which one believes in.

FB Exactly. But believes in for nothing—but believes in. I know it's a contradiction in terms; it's nevertheless how it is. Because we are born and we die, but in between we give this purposeless existence a meaning by our drives.
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Old 10-30-2008   #202
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

From Chapter XIII of Là-Bas (1891), by J.-K. Huysmans (trans. Terry Hale)

He put out the lamp. In the darkness his distress augmented. With death in his heart he whispered to himself, ‘How right I was when I wrote that the only women you go on loving are the ones you haven’t had.

'Ah! Only to discover three years later, when the woman is unobtainable, married, no longer in Paris, in France even, perhaps dead, that she had once loved you, though you would hardly have dared believe it at the time, that must surely be the dream! This is the only kind of love that matters, one which is entirely intangible, a love made up of past sorrows and present regrets! That is the only way the filth and squalor of the flesh are to be avoided!

‘What a matchless ideal—absolutely unattainable! To love from afar, without hope, never to possess each other, to dream chastely of pale charms and of an impossible kiss bestowed on a brow extinguished by death! All the rest is abominable and without meaning! But, if that is the only happiness, the only pure happiness that heaven vouchsafes us, miserable sceptics that we are, terrified by the abject nature of life here below, then it must necessarily imply that existence itself is abominable.’
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Old 10-30-2008   #203
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

"'Show me the worst,' I said, eyeing the undersized door before us.

The situation here was as transparent as the others. Only this time it wasn't pet leopards, pathetic clowns, or paranoid shadows. It was, in fact, two new characters: a wicked witch and her assistant in the form of an enchanted puppet. The clumsy little creature, due to an incorrigibly mischievous temperament, had behaved badly. Now the witch was in the process, which she had down to perfection, of putting him back in line. She swept across the room, her dark dress swirling like a maelstrom, her hideous face sunken into an abundant hood. Behind her a stained-glass window shone with all the excommunicated tints of corruption. By the light of this infernal rainbow of wrinkled cellophane, she collared her naughty assistant and chained him hands and feet to a formidable-looking stone wall, which buckled aluminum-like when he collapsed against it. She angled down her hooded face and whispered into his wooden ear.

'Do you know what I do with little puppets who've been bad?' she inquired. 'Do you?'

The puppet trembled a bit and would have beamed bright with perspiration had he been made of flesh and not wood.

'I'll tell you what I do,' the witch continued half-sweetly. 'I make them touch the fire. I burn them from the legs up.'

Then, surprisingly, the puppet smiled.

'And what will you do,' the puppet asked, 'with all those old dresses, gloves, veils, and capes when I'm gone? What will you do in your low-rent castle with no one to stare, his brow of glittering silver, into the windows of your dreams?'

Perhaps the puppet was perspiring after all, for his brow was now glistening with tiny flecks of starlight."
Thomas Ligotti - "Eye of the Lynx"

"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 11-03-2008   #204
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

Laziness is just another word for dying - some of us doing it more quickly than others. Ambition walks hand in hand with birth and death like a near mindless toddler being escorted by its parents. Suicide is being fostered out to oblivion. Happiness is simply grief disguised. Such sayings mean nothing. Nothing means something called death. Most of us are too lazy or too scared to care. Fear grows from a sub-conscious that even pre-dates birth itself; a sub-conscious we all share, whether we're ever alive or not. Again, at the end of the day, who cares? Nobody.
D. F. Lewis - "Nobody"

"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 11-04-2008   #205
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

"What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists?
In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet."

- Woody Allen

"The failed magician waves his wand, and in an instant the laughter is gone." - Martin Gore
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Old 11-04-2008   #206
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

There are quirks and misalignments of nature – mismatches of mind and muscle – lumps of gristle erupting from the unlikeliest of mental and biological processes – with various unsightly excrescences – all by-passing that one optimum moment of non-existence.

The furtherance of such motivational blobs of existence has an inverse ratio to the geometric progression of such theoretically untenable creatures actually re-creating themselves.

And that would lead me to hypothesise that people are their own mistakes, if I had the misfortune of possessing a bodily and mental existence of my own which could thus hypothesise.
D. F. Lewis - "Misfortune"

"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.

Last edited by G. S. Carnivals; 11-04-2008 at 07:37 PM..
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Old 11-05-2008   #207
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

"All of us end up, one day, in our own Earth’s Core of dark unconscious pain."
D. F. Lewis - Klaxon City

"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 11-10-2008   #208
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

From "Death to the Keeper" by Barry N. Malzberg:
Thirteen seasons ago, when I was young and full of promise, I acted in repertory theatre on the black and arid coast of Maine... a cluster of barely reconverted buildings on some poisoned farmland, a parking lot filled with smashed birds and the scent of oil; those dismal seawinds coming uninvited into all the spaces of the theatre. From this, I learned everything I know about the human condition.

How could I not? Life, you see, is a repertory theatre; each of us playing different roles on different nights, but behind the costume, always the same bland, puzzled face. Oh, we wear our masks of so many hues night after night that the face is never seen: tonight a clown and last night a tragic hero and tomorrow perhaps the amiable businessman of a heavy comedy of manners, and next week... off to another barn. But underneath the same sadness, the same unalterability: the same, the same, the same.
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Old 11-11-2008   #209
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

"Absurdity was sometimes preferable to common sense. Indeed, some events were more memorable because of their negative points. And what was existence without the stickability of memories? Bad memories were preferable to none. Black letter days, if not so good as red ones, stood out – became landmarks in an otherwise waste-ground of amnesic blandness. Or had he got his red and black confused? Death was the ultimate amnesia, of course, without which there could have been no life in the first place."
D. F. Lewis - The Angel Megazanthus

"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 11-16-2008   #210
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Re: Pessimistic Passage of the Day...

MARY (bitterly). Because he's always sneering at someone else, always looking for the worst weakness in everyone. (Then with a strange, abrupt change to a detached, impersonal tone.) But I suppose life has made him like that, and he can't help it. None of us can help the things life has done to us. They're done before you realize it, and once they're done they make you do other things until at last everything comes between you and what you'd like to be, and you've lost your true self forever.

-- Eugene O'Neill, Long Day's Journey into Night

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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