I do not want to recollect. I should be afraid of preventing the future and of allowing the past to encroach on me. It is out of the utter forgetfulness of yesterday that I create every new hour's freshness. It is never enough for me to have been happy. I do not believe in dead things and cannot distinguish between being no more and never having been.
The secret seemed to me much more mysterious than that; it was the secret, I thought, of one who had known death; for I moved a stranger among ordinary people, like a man who has risen from the grave, and at first I merely felt rather painfully out of my element; but soon I became aware of a very different feeling. Was it pride now? Perhaps; but at any rate there was no trace of vanity mixed with it. It was rather, for the first time, the consciousness of my own worth. What separated me - distinguished me - from other people was crucial; what no one said, what no one could say but myself, that was my task to say.
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Terre en vacance d'oeuvres d'art. Je meprise ceux qui ne savent reconnae®tre la beaute que transcrite deje et toute interpretee. Le peuple arabe a ceci d'admirable que, son art, il le vit, il le chante et le dissipe au jour le jour; il ne le fixe point et ne l'embaume en aucune oeuvre. C'est la cause et l'effet de l'absence de grands artistes. J'ai toujours cru les grands artistes ceux qui osent donner droit de beaute e des choses si naturelles qu'elles font dire apre¨s e qui les voit : 'Comment n'avais-je pas compris jusqu'alors que cela etait aussi beau?...
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Do you know the reason why poetry and philosophy are nothing but dead-letter nowadays? It is because they have severed themselves from life. In Greece, ideas went hand-in-hand with life; so that the artist's life was already a poetic realisation, the philosopher's life a putting into action of his philosophy; in this way, as both philosophy and poetry took part in life, instead of remaining unacquainted with each other, philosophy provided food for poetry, and poetry gave expression to philosophy - and the result was admirably persuasive. Nowadays beauty no longer acts; action no longer desires to be beautiful; and wisdom works in a sphere apart.
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Yet I'm sure there's something more to be read in a man. People dare not - they dare not turn the page. The laws of mimicry - I call them the laws of fear. People are afraid to find themselves alone, and don't find themselves at all. I hate this moral agoraphobia - it's the worst kind of cowardice. You can't create something without being alone. But who's trying to create here? What seems different in yourself: that's the one rare thing you possess, the one thing which gives each of us his worth; and that's just what we try to suppress. We imitate. And we claim to love life.
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I hoped at first to find a rather more direct comprehension of life in one or two novelists and poets; but if they really had such a comprehension, it must be confessed they did not show it; most of them, I thought, did not really live - contented themselves with appearing to live, and were on the verge of considering life merely as a vexatious hindrance to writing.
Most people believe it is only by constraint they can get any good out of themselves, and so they live in a state of psychological distortion. It is his own self that each of them is most afraid of resembling. Each of them sets up a pattern and imitates it; he doesn't even choose the pattern he imitates: he accepts a pattern that has been chosen for him. And yet I verily believe there are other things to be read in man. But people don't dare to - they don't dare to turn the page. Laws of imitation! Laws of fear, I call them. The fear of finding oneself alone - that is what they suffer from - and so they don't find themselves at all. I detest such moral agoraphobia - the most odious cowardice I call it. Why, one always has to be alone to invent anything - but they don't want to invent anything. The part in each of us that we feel is different from other people is just the part that is rare, the part that makes our special value - and that is the very thing people try to suppress. They go on imitating. And yet they think they love life.
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Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings.
No encounter occured that day, and I was glad of it; I took out of my pocket a little Homer I had not opened since leaving Marseilles, reread three lines of the Odyssey, learned them by heart; then, finding sufficient sustenance in their rhythm and reveling in them at leisure, I closed the book and remained, trembling, more alive than I had thought possible, my mind numb with happiness.
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He (Lafcadio) was sitting all alone in a compartment of the train which was carrying him away from Rome, and contemplating-not without satisfaction-his hands in their grey doeskin gloves, as they lay on the rich fawn-colored plaid, which, in spite of the heat, he had spread negligently over his knees. Through the soft woolen material of his traveling-suit he breathed ease and comfort at every pore; his neck was unconfined in its collar which without being low was unstarched, and from beneath which the narrow line of a bronze silk necktie ran, slender as a grass snake, over his pleated shirt. He was at ease in his skin, at ease in his shoes, which were cut out of the same doeskin as his gloves; his foot in its elastic prison could stretch, could bend, could feel itself alive. His beaver hat was pulled down over his eyes and kept out the landscape; he was smoking dried juniper, after the Algerian fashion, in a little clay pipe and letting his thoughts wander at their will ...
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