While I complain of being able to glimpse no more than the shadow of the past, I may be insensitive to reality as it is taking shape at this very moment, since I have not reached the stage of development at which I would be capable of perceiving it. A few hundred years hence, in this same place, another traveller, as despairing as myself, will mourn the disappearance of what I might have seen, but failed to see.
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APAClaude Levi-Strauss Quotes. (n.d.). Jar of Quotes. Retrieved , from JarofQuotes.com Web site: https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=while-i-complain-being-able-to-glimpse-no-more-than-shadow-past-i-may-be-insensitive-to-reality-as-it-is-taking-shape-at-this-moment-since-i-have-claude-levistrauss
ChicagoClaude Levi-Strauss Quotes. Jar of Quotes, 2019. https://www.jarofquotes.com/view.php?id=while-i-complain-being-able-to-glimpse-no-more-than-shadow-past-i-may-be-insensitive-to-reality-as-it-is-taking-shape-at-this-moment-since-i-have-claude-levistrauss, accessed .
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Not only does a journey transport us over enormous distances, it also causes us to move a few degrees up or down in the social scale. It displaces us physically and also for better or for worse takes us out of our class context, so that the colour and flavour of certain places cannot be dissociated from the always unexpected social level on which we find ourselves in experiencing them.
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The musical emotion springs precisely from the fact that at each moment the composer withholds or adds more or less than the listener anticipates on the basis of a pattern that he thinks he can guess, but that he is incapable of wholly divining. If the composer withholds more than we anticipate, we experience a delicious falling sensation; we feel we have been torn from a stable point on the musical ladder and thrust into the void. When the composer withholds less, the opposite occurs: he forces us to perform gymnastic exercises more skillful than our own.
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For mile after mile the same melodic phrase rose up in my memory. I simply couldn't get free of it. Each time it had a new fascination for me. Initially imprecise in outline, it seemed to become more and more intricately woven, as if to conceal from the listener how eventually it would end. This weaving and re-weaving became so complicated that one wondered how it could possibly be unravelled; and then suddenly one note would resolve the whole problem, and the solution would seem yet more audacious than the procedures which had preceded, called for, and made possible its arrival; when it was heard, all that had gone before took on a new meaning, and the quest, which had seemed arbitrary, was seen to have prepared the way for this undreamed-of solution.
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From time to time, too, and for the space of two or three paces, an image or an echo would rise up from the recesses of time: in the little streets of the beaters of silver and gold, for instance, there was a clear, unhurried tinkling, as if a djinn with a thousand arms was absent-mindedly practising on a xylophone.
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In the case of European towns, the passing of centuries provides an enhancement; in the case of American towns, the passing of years brings degeneration. It is not simply that they have been newly built; they were built so as to be renewable as quickly as they were put up, that is, badly.
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The work of the painter, the poet or the musician, like the myths and symbols of the savage, ought to be seen by us, if not as a superior form of knowledge, at least as the most fundamental and the only one really common to us all; scientific thought is merely the sharp point more penetrating because it has been whetted on the stone of fact, but at the cost of some loss of substance and its effectiveness is to be explained by its power to pierce sufficiently deeply for the main body of the tool to follow the head.
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