maandag 24 maart 2014



Of all the little man-made parks 

I think the one in Jacksonville,
Florida is perhaps the meanest, drabbest, shabbiest. 
It belongs in a George Grosz picture. 
It reeks with tuberculosis, halitosis, varicose
veins, paranoia, mendacity, onanism and occultism. 
All the misfits, the unfits, the has-beens and the would-bes of America seem to drift here eventually. 
It is the emotional swamp which one has
to wade through in order to get to the Everglades. 
Fifteen years ago, when I first sat in this park, I attributed my feelings and impressions
to the fact that I was down and out, that I was hungry and
could find no place to sleep. 
On the return visit I was even more depressed. 
Nothing had been altered. 
The benches were littered as of yore with the dregs of humanity-not the seedy sort as in London or New York, not the picturesque sort that dot the quais of Paris, but that pulpy, blemished American variety which issues from the respectable middle class: clean clots of phlegm, so to speak.
 The kind that tries to elevate the mind even when there is no mind left.
The flotsam and jetslfm which drifts like sewer water in and out of
Christian Science churches, Rosicrucian tabernacles, astrology parlors,
free clinics, evangelist meetings, charity bureaus, employment
agencies, cheap lodging houses and so on 
The American type par excellence,
ever ready to believe what is written in the newspapers, ever on the
look-out for a Messiah. Not a speck of human dignity left. The white
worm squirming in the vise of respectability.


He was a killer, a man who hunts down human prey-and accepts
money for it. He was unclean, unfit to associate with human kind,
even with those misfits behind the bars. As long as I live I shall
never forget that cruel, ash-gray face, those cold, beady man-hunter's
eyes. I hate him and all that he stands for. I hate him with an
undying hatred. I would a thousand times rather be the most
incorrigible convict tha~ this hireling of those who are trying to
maintain law and order. Law and orderl Finally, when you see it
staring at you through the barrel of a rifle, you know what it
means. A bas puissance, justice, histoire! If society has to be protected by these inhuman monsters
 then to hell with society! If at the bottom of law and order there 
is only a man armed to the teeth. a man without a heart, without a conscience,
 then law and order are meaningless.





"The greatest men in the world have passed away unknown.
The Buddhas and the Christs that we know are but second·rate
heroes in comparison with the greatest men of whom the world
knows nothing. Hundreds of these unknown heroes have lived
in every country working silently. Silently they live and silently
they pass away; and in time their thoughts find expression in
Buddhas or Christs; and it is these latter that become known
to us. The highest men do not seek to get any name or fame
from their knowledge. They leave their ideas to the world; they
put forth no claims for themselves and establish no schools or
systems in their name. Their whole nature shrinks from such
a thing. They are the pure Sattvikas, who can never make any
stir but only melt down in loVe

In the life of Gautama Buddha we notice him constantly say·
ing that he is the twenty-fifth Buddha.
 The twenty·four beforehim are unknown to history, although the Buddha known to
history must have built upon foundations laid by them. The
highest men are calm, silent and unknown. They are the men
who really know the power of thought; that even
if they go into a cave and close the door and simply think five
true thoughts and then pass away, these five thoughts of theirs
will live throughout eternity. 
Indeed such thoughts of theirs will penetrate through the mountains, cross the oceans and travel
through the world. 
They will enter deep into human hearts and
brains and raise up men and women who will give them practical
expression in the workings of human life . 
 The Buddhas and the Christs will go from place to place preaching these truths. 

These Sattvika men are too near the Lord to be
active and to fight:, to be working, struggling, preaching and
doing good, as they say, here on earth to humanity 

-SWAMI Vivekananda

That I happened to be born here is no reason why the American way of life should seem the best; 
that I chose to live in Paris is no reason
why I should pay with my life for the errors of the French politicians.
To be a victim of one's own mistakes is bad enough, but to be
a victim of the other fellow's mistakes as well is too much. Moreover, I see no reason why I should lose my balance because a madman named Hitler goes on a rampage. 
Hitler will pass away, as did Napoleon, Tamerlane, Alexander and the others. 
A great scourge never appears unless there is a reason for it. There were a thousand excellent reasons for the emergence of the European and Asiatic dictators. 
We have our own dictator, only he is hydra-headed. 
Those who believe that the only way to eliminate these personifications of evil is to destroy them, let them destroy. 
Destroy everything in sight, if you think that's the way to get rid of your problems. 
I don't believe in that kind of destruction. I believe only in the destruction which is natuRAl, incidental to and inherent in creation.
As John Marin said in a letter to Stieglitz once: "Some men's singing
time is when they are gashing themselves,some when they are

gashing others."

Now that the trip is over I must confess that the experience which
stands out most strongly in my mind is the reading of Romain
Rolland's two volumes on Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. 
The most beautiful woman I encountered, a queen in every sense
of the word, was the wife of a Negro poet. The most masterful
individual, the only perrson I met whom I could truly call ((a great
soul", was a quiet Hindu swami in Hollywood. 
The man with the greatest vision of the future was a Jewish professor of philosophy whose name is practically unknown to Americans though he has
been living in our midst for almost ten years. 
The most promising
book in progress was that of a painter who had never written a
line before. The only mural I saw worthy of being called a mural
was the one in San Francisco done by an American expatriate.

The Air-Conditioned Nightmare

“The earth is not a lair, neither is it a prison. 
The earth is a Paradise, the only one we'll ever know. 
We will realize it the moment we open our eyes. 
We don't have to make it a Paradise-it is one. 
We have only to make ourselves fit to inhabit it. 
The man with the gun, the man with murder in his heart, cannot possibly recognize Paradise even when he is shown it.”

“Begin this moment, wherever you find yourself, and take no thought of the morrow. Look not to Russia, China, India, not to Washington, not to the adjoining county, city or state, but to your immediate surroundings. Forget Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed and all the others. Do your part to the best of your ability, regardless of the consequences. Above all, do not wait for the next man to follow suit.”

“America is no place for an artist: to be an artist is to be a moral leper, an economic misfit, a social liability. 
 A corn-fed hog enjoys a better life than a creative writer, painter or musician. 
 To be a rabbit is better still.”
“What are our conductors giving us year after year? 
Only fresh corpses. 
Over these beautifully embalmed sonatas, toccatas, symphonies and operas the public dance the jitterbug.
 Night and day without let the radio drowns us in a hog-wash of the most nauseating, sentimental ditties. 
From the churches comes the melancholy dirge of the dead Christ, a music which is no more sacred than a rotten turnip.”
“Most of the young men of talent whom I have met in this country give one the impression of being somewhat demented. Why shouldn't they? They are living amidst spiritual gorillas, living with food and drink maniacs, success-mongers, gadget innovators, publicity hounds. God, if I were a young man today, if I were faced with a world such as we have created, I would blow my brains out.”
“Le besoin de se surpasser doit être instinctif et non pas théorique ou seulement plausible. ”
“C'est un monde fait pour des monomaniaques obsédés par l'idée de progrès... mais d'un faux progrès qui pue. C'est un monde encombré d'objets inutiles que, pour mieux les exploiter et les dégrader, on a enseigné aux homes et femmes à considérer comme utiles.”
“The most difficult adjustment an expatriate has to make, on returning to his native land, is in this realm of conversation.
 The impression one has, at first, is that there is no conversation. We do not talk—we bludgeon one another with facts and theories gleaned from cursory readings of newspapers, magazines, and digests.

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