The DeCasseres Books
Book No. 20
Knight of the Lidless Eye
The DeCasseres Books
Twelve more of the DeCASSERES BOOKS (Nos. 13 to 24) will be issued during 1937.
Written cmd published by BENJAMIN DeCASSERES, they will be from 5,000 to 15,000 words each, in stiff paper covers.
The Second Twelve Books Are:
13. Fantasia Impromptu: the Ad- 19. Fantasia Impromptu (Part 4). ventures of an Intellectual 20. Sir Galahad: Knight of the Faun (Part 1). Lldless Eye.
14. Spinoza Against the Rabbis 21. Fantasia Impromptu (Part 5).
17. Fantasia Impromptu (Part 3). 23- Impromptu (Part 6).
18. Mirth-o'-Ood. 24. Black Suns (Poems—Part 2).
These are all from my unpublished books. "Fantasia Impromptu: The Adventures of an Intellectual Faun" is the serialized parts of my 400,000 — word mental, emotional and spiritual autobiography. The above titles are subject to change excepting that of "Fantasia Impromptu" and "Black Suns."
The First Twelve of the DeCASSERES BOOKS, published in 1936, may be had. They are:
1. Exhibitionism: A New Theory 6. DeGaultier 4 LaRochefou-of Evolution. could.
2. The Individual Against 7* The Elect and the Damned. Moloch. Saint Tantalus.
n m__u o______9* The Adventures of an Exile.
3. Black Suns. 1Q , Dance M Ni.toch->
4. The Eternal Return. n. Broken Images.
5. The Eighth Heaven. 12. Raiders of the Absolute.
50 Cents Each
Sold separately or in sets on a cash, prepaid basis. If'for any unforeseen reason future books should not appear, money paid for advance copies will be refunded.
Make checks or money orders payable to Benjamin DeCfljgseres, 593 Riverside Drive, New York City.
Sir Galahad: Knight of the Lidless Eye
Published by BENJAMIN DeCASSERES 593 Riverside Drive New York City
Copyright 1938 By Benjamin DeCasseres
Manufactured in the U.S.A.
'7 DEDICATE THIS BOOK TO THE RARE FEW WHO
EARLY IN LIVE HAVE THE GOOD SENSE TO
RID THEMSELVES OF THE FRIENDSHIP
OF THE MANY."
—James McNeil Whistler in "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies."
"Sir Galahad: Knight of the Lidless Eye" is book No. 20 of the publications of my works that have not yet been printed in book form. It is a part of my large book entitled "My Symphonies."
The thoughts in this book were written between 1911 and 1917. In going over them to-day I find nothing of importance to change. Reading them now with a somewhat aloof and impersonal attitude, I find them, mainly, immortally beautiful and profound. At least they are perfect tiny mirrors of my mind then and now.—Benjamin DeCasseres.
I write because I wish to make for ideas which are my ideas a place in the world. If I could foresee that these ideas must take from you pcace of mind and repose, if in these ideas that I sow I should see the germs of bloody wars and even the cause of the ruins of many generations, I would nevertheless continue to spread them. It is neither for the love of you nor even for the love of truth that I express what I think. If I use you in this way, it is because I have need of your ears!—Max Stimer.
KNIGHT OF THE LIDLESS EYE
FIRST AND LAST, BEING THE SUPREME AFFIRMATION OF SIR GALAHAD.—Give up every illusion-Mystery is left.
I repose on that.
Let my deepest thought unveil to the last veil; let me analyze to the last thread my motive, the Mystery remains.
I repose on that.
Let my bride disinter to my sight her last secret and give up into my hands her utmost mask; the mystery of her womanhood remains.
/ repose on that.
I who have known—and know nothing else—the mystery in all things need no illusions. My ultimate thought, my ultimate dream, my ultimate motive, my ultimate self-plasm I have unwound of all illusions. But the anonymous Mystery remains.
I repose on that.
AT A MOVING-PICTURE SHOW.—We measure all things by the Absolute. The infinite, the unconditioned, the unrelated, are not words only. I have tried for many years to persuade myself that they are, but I find they are the background of all ray thinking—the blank screen without which there would not be the perpetual moving picture drama of my thoughts and emotions. Because the canvas is blank is it any the less necessary ?—Is it any the less there ?
The Absolute may be only a super-relation. Just as my personal identity from day to day through the flux of my mental and physical life is caused by a relation subsisting in me that is less susceptible to change than momentary sensations and thoughts, so the Absolute (absolute in relation to this life) measures, shapes and poses on its surface all that I do here.
That there may be an infinite series of relative absolutes would in nowise vitiate the value of the word. All is phenomena (from the Greek, "show," "shine," "appearance"). How came we to that knowledge? Against what Reality do things show, shine or appear? It is a positive implication; a necessary affirmative. There is an absolute for every relative and an Absolute for the totality of relatives. This relatively final Absolute may be broken into an infinite number of relations, but it remains as the eternal implication, the final intuition, the X in every movement of thought.
The absolutes, one for every incarnation, reign through all the spirals of life here and beyond our tombs in the Nth dimension. It is the immaterial nimbus that circles the head of every "fact." It is the eternal moving-picture screen against which we perform.
A POINT OF VIEW ?—Among the gods there is an idiomatic expression, "Yes, I died to-morrow and I shall be horn yesterday." A few of us understand it. For the rest it is pure abracadabra.
MY PROFOUNDEST REMARK.—All error is born of the instinct for improvement.
REBUILDING THE TOWER OF BABEL.—Temperament superposed on mystery—that is all there is to philosophy.
"All there is!" That is everything! There is nothing else. (Whenever I attempt to ridicule a thing I often find the sublime.)
The history of human sensibility, its varieties, its influence, its tyranny as an ultimate, is yet to be written. Then, too, the history of abstract thought as influenced by climate, food, race, sensibility and sex-power—that is to be done. Why? Why a Spencer of Nihilism, a Beethoven of dissonance, a Euclid of intuitions? In order, maybe, to bring us back to fundamentals, to show us that, at bottom, the intellectual life, like real life, is a cut-throat game and is an affair of might.
PENANCE.—We love to stick diamonds in our wounds.
BEYONDNESS.—"There is nothing outside of nature"— except more nature; there is nothing outside of Something but more something; there is nothing beyond myself but more self, etc., etc.! The stupidity of words! But beyond words there is nothing. Words invented thought, for all thought is probably a product of sound, of which word-sounds formulate the image. Each word struggles for a beyond-existence—and so we go from dazzling absurdity to dazzling absurdity.
THE PERPETUAL ORGY.—The Future is overgorged with promises, and she spits back at us the things her gullet can no longer hold. We call those things yesterdays.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ALL PARADISES.—Heaven is a place where God pays the bills.
ORESTES AND THE FURIES—Yesterday is always an imminent catastrophe. To-morrow is always harmless.
A NECESSARY DISTINCTION AND A GUESS.—Death is the end of memory, not of life?
THE MEMORIZING GHOST.—What we call our past is Death with memory alone left.
SWEDENBORG AND THE GREEKS.—It was the Greeks that Swedenborg must have meant when he wrote of "Angels that travelled everlastingly toward the springtime of their youth," for the evolution of the Greeks was an evolution away from the Infinite.
WHY WE BREED.—A great artist who sells his work is like a father who lives on the earnings of his harlot daughter —often a stern necessity with artists and fathers.
THE TONIC WAR.—The muscles of the will are hardened by the murder of other wills. We thrive on the blood and viscera of others.
THE HUMAN HOMING INSTINCT.—All society, all life, as, indeed, all nature, are held together by atavisms. Progress, variation from a point high enough, is seen to be infinitesimal when compared to those things to which we eternally recur in order to preserve stability. Humanity marches backward quicker than it marches forward. It is a question whether it ever marches forward. Progress, so-called, is atavistic. The instinct for the new is an illusion. The new is a form of hereditary memory. Atavism is a return to old forms, and "progress" is nothing but that.
THE IMPREGNABLE BASTILLES.—From their subliminal dungeons mighty thoughts and images knock against the walls of Consciousness. They scratch, they pound, they tread for cycles the cells wherein they live. How may all of these cells be opened?—and if we could open them all what unspeakable things we should see! There are Bastilles that were better untaken!
THE CALVARY OF FOOLS—If life only satisfied the desire for the sublime and the dramatic! If it were only a hell instead of a country fair! If we could only die with a crown of thorns instead of a fool's-cap! If Golgotha were only a reality instead of a fable? If death were only a martyrdom instead of a lampoon and a ludicrous humiliation!
METAPHYSICAL BEGINNING. — Difference. That word explains every crime, every pain and every pleasure.
THE PERPETUAL ANNUNCIATION.—The dead are ventriloquists: they announce to us without moving the lips.
COSMIC TAG: A GAME INVENTED BY HEGEL.— Being is forever chasing Nothing; Nothing is forever chasing Being; hence Becoming which never Becomes. The wear and tear of it!
THE IMPRISONED STAR.—Satire is the twinkle in the eye of Reason.
FATIGUE AS THE FATHER OF WISDOM.—One must be tired to be wise.
A LIE: THE ONE THING NEEDFUL.—For the greater part of mankind unless it believe in a hell it is lost. Supernatural fear—or love—alone can keep it from relapsing into anarchy. There is a profound psychological reason for the existence of those arch-scoundrels and sacrosanct liars, the founders of religions and the priesthood, which no Voltaire or Hugo can brush away either with rant or ridicule.
THE PRIDE OF FAILURE?—"I await the judgment of posterity."
THE GREATEST TRAGEDY IN THE WORLD.—The Christian Hell belching its murderous flames over Olympus.
THE DRAGON OF THE WORLD.—All thoughts, all acts, all dreams are incantations to exorcise one monster, Ennui.
THE DISFRANCHISED.—In the forum of the soul our ancestors have the floor. We haven't even a vote—until we are dead.
THE AMUSING LIAR.—A man who writes history creates history.
THE BOMBTHROWERS.—If man is to move, dirty work must be done. Being born is a filthy piece of business. In this, babies and subversive ideas do not differ.
WHO KNOWS?—We have been put into the coffin of Time, apparelled in the shroud of life.
THE FIRST AND LAST HYPOCRITE.—All "pure thought" is hypocritical. It never tells the truth to the heart. It is a mask, a disguise. "As a man thinks"—so is he not.
THE INTELLECTUAL VISION.—As we give up our opinions Comprehension grows, like the slow lifting of a heavy fog around a lighthouse.
COMPENSATION OF THE EYE.—Suicide is not to be thought of while we can still watch and enjoy the sublime spectacle of our internal agonies.
THE SHROUDMAKER.—Purpose is the Memory that looks forward.
THE INSTINCT FOR TRUTH AND THE WILL-TO-LIE.—Reasoning gives us the similacrum which we call the truth; Imagination gives us the truth, which we believe to be a similacrum.
THE EYE AND THE PHANTOM.—The greatest of all certitudes has doubt for horizon.
THE PATHOS OF FOREVER.—When lovers say "forever" it is already ended. It would be safer to say "For to day," and say it each day.
THE HAND-MIRROR OF THE INSTINCTS.—Thoughts have no depths. They are the mirrors of the instincts and the emotions, and, like mirrors, they show us giant perspectives, but are themselves no thicker than glass.
THE HUMOR OF IT.—All life is a tuning up. Just as we are about to begin the air the fiddle cracks.
THE CORE OF ALL IRONY.—Only man has told us\ how and why the world was made. God has not been so communicative.
WHY THE JEW AND HIS GOD ARE EVERLASTING. \ —A God that is not conceived as a cruel God will soon vanish from consciousness. A good, merciful "Father" is, in the end, incompatible with the experiences of men, and He wears out—disappears in the watery waste of Unitarranism, the absurdities of atheism, or is chloroformed in a blank indiffer-entism.
"REACHING THE PEOPLE".—To popularize the sub-lime turn it into stomach and genitals. Promise a celestial harem or four meals a day, or both. One thing is needful: to lie. He who forgets that is doomed.
THE MIRACLE OF TRANSUBSTANTIATION.—Poetry is a cataloguing of commonplaces in terms of the imagination.
THE SUPER-COMEDY.—I can conceive of nothing more exquisitely comic than the survival and encounter after death of those great materialistic philosophers from Epicurus to Haeckel who spent so much time in trying to disprove the immortality of the soul.
THE SEMI-INFINITE.—In the realm of the imagination there is no such thing as time; there is only space. Imagination is the plasma of another dimension.
LEGENDS.—Any one who writes history creates a legend. Are the gods legends or are we legends in the brain of a god ?
THE IMMORTALITY OF A MYTH AND THE MORTALITY OF A FACT.—The Greek gods have outlived their Pantheon; Christianity died on Calvary.
THE INFALLIBILITY OF BELIEF.—Each one is always right because there is no opinion, belief or act that in the long run is better or worse than its opposite.
RECOVERING STOLEN GOODS.—When we sleep, we, in a way, circumvent Time. It is then we pick the pockets of a Thief.
JESUS AND RABELAIS.—One may reach the Infinite through humor as well as tears. The laughter of Rabelais and Cervantes is more necessary to the world than the tears of Jesus and a Kempis.
AND IT IS SOMETHING LIKE THIS, PERHAPS.— Walking through the autumn leaves, I thought: and it is thus that the living walk through us dead.
THE ONE THING NEEDFUL.—A carapace of irony, the integument of a feigned indifference, the thick bark of stoicism that protects the quivering sap of sensibility—a condition of survival among some of us.
AND WE THE BASTARD FOUNDLINGS!—That everlasting honeymoon of Mind and Matter!
CLAIRVOYANT DOLTS.—The world owes everything to narrowminded men. All sublimity of thought and action is dependent on blindness. All clear-sightedness finally tends to quietism.
THOUGHTS WITHOUT EYELIDS.—"For some must watch"—the Brotherhood of the Sleepless!
THE ETERNAL JAILBREAKER.—The Intellect is like a prisoner who persistently breaks jail from the dungeons of the Subconscious and whom the Subconscious is perpetually seeking to extradite from its Blessed Isles in the azure.
THE LASH.—The race-utility of Christianity cannot be overestimated. More than anything else in the last two thousand years it has engendered hate and hypocrisy—and hate and hypocrisy are life-motives.
THE DIVINE HEMISPHERES.—If the truth were told, it would be recorded by the last historian of the race that nearly all the images and thoughts that had traversed the brains of men and women from all time were either obscene or concerned money; that, in fine, one lobe of the human brain had been a brothel and the other lobe had been a moneychangers' temple.
A BALLOONIST'S QUESTION.—At the moment of death is the past thrown out of the basket so that we may rise into the azure of the post-relative that we call the Absolute, or do we sink with our cargo into the bogs of the Supreme Unreason?
THE CREATIVE SUPERSTITIONS.—What science does not disclose to us—it is just that that makes life worth while. The mysteries, the fantastic superstitions still to be, the dazzling absurdities that lie buried in the furrows of futurity—I should wish to be immortal (or at least live a million years) to participate in them.
We owe God at least one thing—he is beyond the microscope, the telescope and the dissecting knife of the intellect.
A marvellous cycle of ignorance and darkness is coming on us soon. We shall be steeped in that Lethe for maybe thousands of years and renew ourselves for another cycle of light. Science and intelligence have no weapons to fight the law of periodicity. Man preserves his splendor and his mystery through his superstitions, which he sometimes calls his knowledge.
THE BOOMERANG.—The infinite and the eternal are not modes of thought, but feelings. All thought is definite, hence finite. Every feeling, on the other hand, is indefinite, indecisive, fluent, a perpetual variant. From this arises that consciousness of the Infinite, of the endless, of the timeless.
The war between the intellect and the heart, between brain and sentiment, is a phase of the conflict between the finite and the infinite. Every thinker as such stands firmly silhouetted against his background, as definite as a gardener's landscape.
But the mystics, the poets, the musicians, all genius that rises from an exquisite sensibility, describe an unarithmetical parabola in the azure. Thought and the Infinite are opposites that meet in the absolute of creative passion.
THE SABBATH OF CHIMERA.—The ennuis of genius are a judgment on the world. The ennuis of the average person are a judgment on himself. When the latter is tired of life—that means nothing. But when a god is tired of life —that is something!
THE MIST OF THE MIRROR.—In fatigue, in that absolute of ennui of mind and body that weighs on us like some enormous and invisible fatality, we dimly feel the presence of a Reality, of a Something unguessable, innominable, un-seizable, that our vigorous, hopeful, full-blooded moments cannot sense. It is something like a gigantic mirror against which our whole life, our whole personality, shrivels like a momentary mist.
THE SHADOW OF A GHOST.—1 Truth" is the shadow of a temperament.
THE HERMAPHRODITIC LIE.—In the philosophic mind the Infinite and the Eternal exist as abstractions of thought; in the mystical, religious mind they exist as a Person. Male and female of a chimeric race.
THE BROTHELS OF THE DEAD.—Every thought is a vortex of phantoms, a silent Babel of life, wherein couple the souls of the dead.
THE HEART OF THE WORLD.—Irony is the comic heart of tragedy and the tragic heart of comedy.
THE SUPREME SATIRIC UTTERANCE.—"He giveth His beloved sleep."
THE TRICK OF ART.—To make the real appear unreal; to make the unreal appear real; to transmute the solid into the ghostly; to make the ghostly pass for the solid.
THE FIFTH TESTAMENT, BY CERVANTES.—Don Quixote; or, the Comic Christ.
THE METAPHYSICAL COMEDY.—Reality is born by being compelled to do what you do not want to do; the Ideal is bora of not being able to do what you want to do. Reality is matter; the Ideal is Will. Irony is the spark that is struck off at the impact of Will and Matter. It is the pain that laughs.
THE ETERNAL RUSE.—"Thy will be done" is the last ruse of the ego. After all battles have been lost we return to God, hoping that in "His Will" we shall find our will-as, indeed, we do if we resign ourselves to fatality absolutely. When we have abandoned all points of view it is just then that all points of view become ours. Indifference wins all battles.
But the surrender of the finite to the Infinite—of the I and its claims to the Immanent Fatality—is a privilege given only to imperial souls, those who have a taste for palaces and minarets.
"Thy will be done," we utter; and then the mind follows hastily with this question, "But what is Thy will?" And the answer must be, "Whatever happens is my will!"
THE FIRST IMMORALIST.—Pantheism postulates a God who breeds himself, who is both stamen and pistil, who intermarries with himself, who commits auto-incest.
ASPHYXIATING THE DEMON OF THE ABSOLUTE. —Life is always there within reach. Sensuous life was invented to insure the sanity of the Lords of Apprehension. The vats and troughs of sense are their cleansers. What other sense has life if it does not exist as an instrument of occasional spiritual suicide for the dwellers at the meridian of Consciousness? Nothing restores like a great debauchery
in the concrete; nothing so renovates like the stupidities of time, place and circumstance.
THE TRAP, THE CHEESE AND THE MICE.—I find that nothing entertains so much as an obscene story. A little touch of obscenity makes all the world one. The ironist when he comes down and sits at the board with the race should unload all his pent-up filth upon them. But the fine satire of his intention must never be suspected by those around him. He alone revels in the situation, and his smile, imperceptible on his face, gleams in the azure of his Perception.
/ THE SACRED GRIPE OF THE ETERNAL SANCHO PANZA.—He detailed to me the minutiae of his morning gripe and then angrily called me an egotist when, later, I casually referred to myself as a "great writer."
THE DEMON IN THE DEPTHS.—I desire to be remembered for my imperfections rather than for my perfections, for the imperfect comes from the subconscious, while the perfect in art and literature is a product of a conscious manoeuvre of the intelligence. That which comes from the subconscious is genius; that which is born of the purposed conscious intelligence is talent. Spontaneous imperfection rather than calculated perfection! The things I cannot help doing are the real things. The others are masks.
THE LAST SCENT.—Where longitudes cross there is always an ice-cap.
IN THE BOSOM OF PARABRAHMA.—There is no retreat for one who goes up. The paths to the valleys are obliterated behind him. The gift or curse of the "sense of the infinite" is for eternity. Those who live finitely, humanly, sensually have an escape. There is always the intellect, art, the abstract, the infinite. But there is no escape for those who exist in the Infinite, in the Eternal. Once having participated in Parabrahma, either congenitally or through a
sudden illumination, there can be no "second advent" on earth. There is no prison like the boundless.
THE SLEEPLESS GOD.—When feeling sleeps, when thought sleeps, then there emerges from its dungeon the giant figure of Ennui—like a rat that waits for perfect silence in the house before it begins to gnaw.
THE ULTIMA THULE OF ILLUSION?—The constant presentiment of the coming I, the feeling that all things are changing and flowing away except a permanent and everlasting Substance identical with an occult Self, an underlying and eternal Reality behind the dying phenomena of my consciousness; the sense of God without the knowledge of him, the presentiment of eternality without the data of experience, the surety of everlastingness without the slightest proof of it—is that the final, the transcendental jest of Pierrot-Maya?
THE PALACE BUILDED ON A CESSPOOL.—The sublime musings of the Greatly Grieved are often nothing but the aura of a constipated condition of the bowels. An enema will often sweep God and the Infinite from the system. At least, it cleanses God.
SENSIBILITY THE FIRST AND LAST GOD.—Truth is not a matter of fact; it is a matter of feeling.
JUSTIFICATION THROUGH ILLUSION.—Those who are greatly mistaken do sublime things. Those who are rational do the mediocre thing. Men are great in the measure of their imaginations. Illusion is grace.
THE VICIOUS CIRCLE.—Reality, which is the Holy Grail of all metaphysical, philosophical and religious pilgrimages, would be equivalent to Nothing because contrast could not exist in a state of absolute Reality. Hence the life beyond the tomb—if such there be—cannot be a Reality and at the same time "life;" it is a contradiction in terms. We jive here in a state of illusion based on three dimensions. Life beyond the tomb—if such there be—is probably a sharper, wider, deeper realization of illusion—illusion founded on seven dimensions maybe. And yet I have an intuition that this reasoning is humbug, a feeling that there is a Reality, and that illusion is part of it.
THE RUNNING SKIRMISH.—There is no form of con-sciousness that is not an organ of defense. The highest as well as the lowest forms of thought are screens against Reality. The propositions of Euclid, the doctrines of Jesus, the pictures of Rembrandt, the inventions of Edison, the passivity of Tolstoy are symbols of war. They are barricades erected by the individualized mind to keep at bay the immortal invaders, sometimes called Death, sometimes called Ennui, sometimes called Pain. Each of us is armed cap-a*pie. The grave is an armistice—nothing more. There is no movement of matter or mind throughout the universe that is not a challenge or a capitulation.
THE CONNOISSEUR.—Why does not Life swallow us in one gulp instead of sipping us?
A MYSTICAL MOOD.—Introspection seems to abolish a circle, the complete circle of personality, because it is necessary. in studying ourselves to bisect ourselves into actor and spectator, to be scalpel and subject. But the circle is there! It is complete in profound, dreamless sleeps, unconsciousness, the climacteric of the sexual act and death. The circle is there and it is never broken.
THE CARNIVAL OF PHANTOMS.—At the moment that the brain and the eye, or any other sense, focus on an object that object puts on a mask. Everything is born unto perception veiled. It is impossible to catch the objects of consciousness en deshabille or off-guard, for we mantle everything with our peculiar sensibility.
THE ETERNAL SYLLABLE OM.—If we think of a word long enough it will dissolve, irradiate into the nonsense that bases it, and become absolutely meaningless. It is so with every object that can be thought of or pronounced by the tongue; it is so, further, with all objects in their totality; it is so with abstractions. This is one manner of reaching the Absolute—that is, Nothing, the non-existent for us. Cut the arteries of relation and even God must bleed to death.
IN GETHSEMANE.—The refreshing boredom of my acquaintances! How they relieve the humdrum of the Infinite and my matter-of-fact life in the azure of abstractions! I can play checkers with them, too, and sometimes we exchange teething-rings. Bathed and cleansed of all intellectuality, I return to the battlements of the gods a saner and a wiser Pierrot.
THE ADULTEROUS MORNING STAR.—All minds of the first order enter into a hypostatic union with Lucifer.
AN OLD THOUGHT IN A NEW COFFIN.—Yes, Sir Galahad found the Cup after his famous Marathon. Proserpina had it in her hand all the time.
THE INTERSTELLAR SHIRT.—Why do the symphonies of Beethoven cause my brain to swarm with the most trivial thoughts and memories? Why do the cold, bodiless abstractions of a Spencer, a Hegel, a Spinoza breed in me a sensual longing? It is because Alpha begat Omega, and Omega begat Alpha again; it is because nadir and zenith are one; it is because aphelion and perihelion are one, both being at the same point in the Infinite.
THE MANNER OF OUR DISAPPOINTMENTS.—The dramatic motive that inspired "Hamlet" and the dramatic motive that inspired "Don Quixote" are one and the same. Tragedy and comedy meet and are one at the zenith of imaginative supersight. Comedy is the tragedy that laughs and tragedy is the comedy that weeps; the sensibilities and temperaments of the subjects used cause the difference. But the dramatic material is always the same.
All comedy and all tragedy are based on the aspiration of the finite for the infinite, on the passion to achieve the impossible. Hamlet, Orestes, Tartarin, Don Juan, Don Quixote, Tess or Tartuffe—it is all a question of angles. Fatality lies in temperament, not in the event.
THE FOURTH DIMENSION, ART.—There has always been a fourth dimension that we have lived and worked in. It is Art. The aesthetic instinct, or gift, abolishes, or at least heightens and transfigures, the three dimensions of all activity carried on for the purpose of species-perpetuation. The fourth dimension—which is situated in the realm of the imagination—is purely nihilistic, abolishing life as life, immortalizing it as history. Buddha, Aeschylus, Shakespeare, Beethoven, Spinoza, Schopenhauer, Goethe, Jules de Gaultier, Nietzsche, Tolstoy, Rodin, Whitman, Rembrandt and Thomas Hardy were a few of those who lived in this dimension.
PROGRESSIVE SENILITY.—Having failed to unveil Isis, having fallen off of the back of the Chimera into a cesspool, having been smiled down by the Sphinx, Man now takes a tram-car to the Absolute. He calls it "progress," "science".
THE INEXHAUSTIBLE MOTHER-LODE.—Has the concrete any value? Only the value of a fertilizer; the value of raw material; the value of the cocoon. Until art vaporizes the solid and substantial the concrete is valueless.
FALLING THROUGH THE AZURE.—My illusions are so many balloons that explode the minute they sail into the ether of critical intelligence.
STICK TO THE STEAM-ROOM.—Keep the attention riveted on the Eternal and the Infinite and all our misery comes to an end; also all feeling and thought. The secret of walking on live coals is to think the word "God", the syllable Om or any other form of etymological incantation. All "salvation" rests on the power to hypnotize one's self.
THE IMMACULATE DAWDLER.—My Soul is the eternal bridegroom that waits behind the curtains of flesh for the virginal Thought and Impulse.
THE NIHILIST AND MAYA.—The sensibility of the Nihilist is an aesthetic sensibility. The beauty of the Eternal Spectacle legitimizes life. His Absolute is the Beautiful— pain conceived as an aspect of the Beautiful, death conceived as an aspect of the Beautiful, sidereal and planetary catastrophes conceived as aspects of the Beautiful.
Denying all absolutes, the Nihilist is compelled by the operation of an immanent law to worship an absolute—by the automatic instinct of his mind and sensibility. His absolute is eternal destruction conceived unconsciously as a moral-aesthetic attitude. His Holy Grail he fills with what he believes to be gall and vinegar; but no sooner has he drained it than it turns to wine in the magical retorts of his pride!
OBSERVATION EN ROUTE.—It is astounding how the body can grow to six feet and more and the brain still remain in the three-month embryonic stage.
ON THE BANKS OF A RIVER.—I reach out to grasp a straw. It eludes me, and says, "I cannot come to you, for I must keep these waters moving." Hence the idea of free will.
EROTIC-CHIMERIC, BUT A TRUE THOUGHT.—I have a golden key made by a god that I shall slip into the oiled locks of her heart, for I see that the Absolute must be reached by two—and simultaneously.
THE EQUATORIAL POLE-STAR.—My route to the Indies of the emotions will lie over the pole-cap of the intellect. I shall bring into the luxuriant forests of feeling violet rays gathered on those fields of ice and purple beams born outside of longitudinal and latitudinarian wedlock. In the corollas of those strange tropic flowers that will blossom at the depth of my restored sensibilities I will put hard, glittering gems that hold within their curves and facets the picture memory of boreal mountains and glacial tarns. And after a little while I will set forth again into the trackless Arctic heights.
THE IRONIC TOUCH.—At the moment of death to feel remorse for all the sins and deeds of violence one has not committed. It is the Napoleonic, the Stendhalian moment in the meanest of lives.
MY IRONIC SINCERITY, MY INSINCERE ABSOLUTE, THE VERISIMILITUDE TO NOTHING OF MY MASKS.—I have failed to find in myself anything but poses. There is no I, no Self, no Me, no Director. There are facets, focuses, radiant points, avatars, epiphanies, attitudes, angles— each one effaced almost as rapidly as it is born. What remains behind to tell the tale of these masqueradings? What subtle, unswerving Background is there that sees and records all these fantastic two-steps, waltzes and mazurkas?
That Background is only the profoundest and sincerest of all poses, the first to be formed and the last to break up— the Will-to-Survive through all mutations. It is the actor that has the longest speaking part in the dramas of individual existence. He is never off the stage—but there is a curtain for him as well as for all the other puppets. This super-puppet, after he speaks the epilogue, must also leave the Theatre like the rest. Or maybe—or maybe—or maybe!
THE WAY TO PRIVACY—At given intervals it is well to turn one's self into a scarecrow and stand for a stated time in hideous guise before the gate of the mind in order to keep out a certain kind of trespasser; to keep away, too, the hawks and buzzards of pity.
THE POTION OF BEAUTIFUL LIES.-—Ugliness came into the world with the birth of the idea of evolution. When the concrete superstitions died the great Age of the Beautiful passed from the earth, and they will come back only with the rebirth of the gods and the re-dominance of legend and myth. The heavens, the eternities, the infinities, must be brought nearer the earth. The roof of life must be brought nearer the floor of the world.
A CONUNDRUM OF THE BEYOND.—I am the antithesis of life, yet I am not death. I am not of this world, yet the grave has never held me.
MOUNTEBANKS.-—The sublime mountebanks—Aristophanes, Heine, Laforgue. Shakespeare showed the trick to us in the soul of Hamlet. Cervantes unfolded it in the soul of Don Quixote. When the pinnacle of imaginative evolution is reached there is nothing left but cart-tail oratory and tricks. It is the closing of the circle with the clasp of ennui.
THE GOBLET IN THE AIR.—That part of my consciousness which remains outside of my consciousness when I think —that is the Holy Grail.
THE STAIRCASE OF CONSCIOUSNESS.—After feeling one's way up the spiral stairway of all affirmations—illusory circles superimposed one on another—one comes at last to the ramparts of the Holy Negatives, beyond which lies Freedom-Nirvana.
THE RUNGS OF CONSCIOUSNESS.—Thoughts are posthumous emotions; emotions are posthumous instincts. Is there a Posthumous One to be born of Thought ?
THE DAY OF ATONEMENT.—How many at the moment of death have felt remorse for the time wasted in living and sacrificing for others and have heard the call of the follies and transgressions they never dared!
MY RAISON D'ETRE.—Whatever I do is a substitute for suicide. From this I adduce a general law which I apply to the rest of mankind. Death, extinction, annihilation, a passion for the absolutism of Nothing is the great metaphysical instinct of everything that lives. Acts, thoughts, all forms of motion are screens that are erectcd to shut out, to subordinate this instinct, primal and eternal. Hence the absurdity of whatever is.
A MATTER OF DRAINAGE.—Obsccne images are as necessary to a chaste mind as a perfect system of drainage is to a healthful abode.
THE REAL SUPERMAN.—A man must be very near the divine to say "To hell with tomorrow" every day of his life.
HIS BEGINNING AND END.—Every writer, musician, painter, poet has just one thing to say which he says somewhere in one sentence, one sound, one dash of color, or one stanza. All before and after that is tautology, superimposi-tion, reiteration, palimpsest.
THE MUSEUM WORKERS.—The historian is the taxidermist of the future.
PHILOSOPHY: THE LAST PHASE.—It is good because it is wrong. Whatever is wrong adds to the drama of existence, which is only legitimate because it is drama.
THE GRAIL-SOUL AND THE SUPERNACULUM OF IMAGES AND WORDS.—I have lived through the infernos of words. These symbols of metaphysical hells and heavens, these violet and purple eyes through which glare and beckon my past incarnations—they are not merly words.
Images are my crown of thorns; metaphors are my litanies, incantations and adorations. I move across the ages on a pedestal incrusted with similes and rhythmic and sonorous sentences. My aureole is the psychological atmosphere of the words that I love. My aura is an emanation from the images that lie fecundating in my unconscious self, images whose ninth-month is not yet come. The words I have chosen as mine only vaguely hint of the spiritual magnificences and infernal luminosities that are throned on my Will.
THE MYRIAD CASTER-ATLASES OF PARABRAHMA. —We humans are the time-casters on which rolls the invisible couch of Eternity—whereon It sleeps, whereon It sleeps!
CASSANDRAS OF NONSENSE.—Optimists.
CON FURIA, BEING A SHORT STUDY OF THE ANGER OF SIR GALAHAD.—Technique, style lasts. To hell with "your message"! How did you arrange your lies, your esoteric fib, your yawp? Was there distinction in the rendition of your "truth," your special toxic dream? How did you "play it up?" To hell with your message! Are you an artist?
MY INVISIBLE EXISTENCE.—It may be that in the seventh dimensional realm the human beings of this world, as well as plants, mountains, constellations, rivers, flies, animals and ideas, constitute the molecules of the "matter" of that realm. I may be an atom in the eye of a "human" there and Arcturus may be a molecule in the heart of a "woman."
THE SEWING-ROOM.—Each age is made up of a certain number of associated ideas. In this wise the race of man is living in the subconscious. Men act, think, breed and die in the dark. The mental fabric and the emotional fabric of a society at any given time may be likened to a great "crazy quilt," the diverse patches of which were sewn together long before the birth of the present generation. The new thinker is always a dissociationist. He rips the seams open, rearranges the patches—that is, effects new associations in the mind— and at last society sews up the pieces and a "new era" is born.
INTERSTELLAR ECHOES.—Is there a psychic echo as well as a physical echo? And is it prolonged indefinitely? How far, then, has the great pain-echo from earth travelled by this time—the accumulated sighs of all the ages? Does the psychic echo travel faster than light? The soul-sigh of Babylon perhaps has just been registered on the psychic seismographs of a star a quadrillion miles away. And we— are we impregnated with the psychic echoes of far-off worlds? And does that explain my nostalgia for Otherwhere, my passion for exotic heavens?
THE FINAL DISSOCIATION.—I have emotions that I do not believe in, i.e., the patriotic and religious emotions. I use them for inspiration. I would not lose them. I seek to enhance them and intensify them to the limit. I wish them to use my intellect for purposes of creation. But there is a centre of perception that they cannot conquer. The oc-cultation of that patch of spectral light must never occur. It is the Master of Ceremonies, the Impresario of the emotional carnival and the toastmaster at the intellectual banquet.
I seek the ecstasies of sensibility, the thrill of all social, political and religious illusions, and take from them what I need. I have every passion, every enthusiasm. Emotions are the blush on my soul; I quiver, wince, I scream, I smart— all for the glory of that patch of light at the zenith of my consciousness across whose disc no shadow has power.
IN THE ETYMOLOGICAL CATACOMBS.—Between certain words there is a pre-established harmony, a subtle affinity. Each word has its particular mate or mates from all eternity, or, at least, from the time they were foetuses in the uterus of utterance. The obvious relation of one word to another—as in the sentence "the sun shines"—the surface
relation, is the relation that constitutes the language we use every day. It is exoteric, popular, practical. They are body-mates. Beneath these obvious connotations and matings, as under many palimpsests, lie the finer unities. Stephen Mallarme, Arthur Rimbaud, Jules Laforgue and Edgar Allan Poe foraged into these wonder-regions of words.
THE UNKNOWABLE.—Captain, O my Captain, what cargoes did you stow away in my hold when I set sail from my port in the nebulosities? Is there a Stowaway in my hold, and when will he crawl onto the deck of my consciousness, Captain, O my Captain!
CLICK, CLICK, CLICK.—Human beings are like safes— once you find the combination (and the chances are sometimes the infinite against one) the door flies open and you may ransack at leisure.
EX-CATHEDRA.—What most people call thought is • merely molecular dandruff.
MAKE WAY! MAKE WAY!—Bottom riding in the ambulance of Hope to his Mansion in the Skies (the morgue that never closes).
AVE ATQUE VALE!—In the subconscious are the fossils of my old brains.
THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE.—Climbing the greased pole of Ignorance.
THE ONE DANGEROUS THOUGHT.—I can only use the word God blasphemously or jestingly. To repeat it seriously is too tremendous and dangerous a task. I must approach the Great Reality disguised as a mountebank or as Satan. I once saw a child trying to raise the Milky Way to a perpendicular position. It did not fall on him, but he fell into it. One must be careful of that thought—God.
FROM THALES TO JULES DE GAULTIER.—There is a cryptogram in matter. All philosophy, all religions are attempts to decipher it. And they all find something to their taste.
THE IMPONDERABLE PILLAR OF WORLDS.—Hie universe exists because man is credulous.
STOP THIEF!—On the doors of the Palace of Ideas words are the bolts. With my brain and the dictionary and one hundred years of health I could rewrite the literature* of the ages and reformulate all philosophies and religions. All that is beautiful and all that is specious—and there is no thought that is not specious—would be in my work. Jesus died for the word Father and Napoleon murdered for the word Destiny and Shakespeare became a god for the word Beauty.
SIR GALAHAD ASCENDS.—I have noticed in the last few years an acceleration in the flight of time. A week used to be a week and an hour used to be an hour ; but now a week seems only a day and an hour only a minute. How far will this process continue in my consciousness? Will the time come when all my past life will seem but a minute? Is eternity gradually washing away the horizons of the years in my mind? And when there are no longer any horizons whatsoever, when time for me has ceased, will I then be in Eternity—like a dead fly in a glass of flat beer ?
TIME'S USES.—The inhabitants of the Fourth Dimension in studying the infusoria of the three-dimensional plane use what we call Time as their microscope; otherwise for them we would not exist. The doings in the three-dimensional plane constitute the subconscious nature of fourth-dimensional beings.
HOLDING THE MIRROR UP TO ONE'S SELF.—The quest of art is to find in the external world things that are not there and never will be there and set them down. "Copying nature" is a myth; not even the photographic lens is capable of that. The artist himself is all there is of art.
AN INTELLECTUAL INTERPRETATION OF A STALE PROBLEM.—Life is a perpetual forgetting, and death is merely the end of a series of mental lapses. Death is merely a moment that has no successor in time. It is the Past without a mirror. We fear death because we cannot live without mirrors. Not to see ourselves tomorrow as we were yesterday! Never again to adjust neatly and to a hair the necktie of our vanity in the mirror of self-consciousness! A mirror! A mirror! a cosmos for a post-mortem mirror!
CONFESSION (MODERATO).—As Rodin never poses a model—that is, puts her on a pedestal and reproduces her in marble or bronze while motionless, but instead has often five or six models walking about his studio at once while he works, thus catching movement, life, reality en passant— so I never "pose" my thoughts. In the atelier of my skull I allow them to promenade, to walk up and down and around me. I catch them any whichway—off-guard is the best of all—and model them into sentences and anything I choose. In this seeming helter-skelter of impression there is a profound unity. I myself know nothing. I piece together a gigantic edifice of which I do not know the architectural style, nor do I care. Whirling, ill-assorted, frenetic, pensive "models"—you are all my family, and the unity of your lives is immanent.
AND I SAY UNTO YE.—Love one another in the abstract.
BUT MY COAT! MY COAT!—The whole universe is Potiphar's house, and I, Joseph, am running at break-neck speed into Eternity.
THE FACT OF THE MATTER.—Optimism produces talent; pessimism produces genius. Hope is practical; despair lives at the very heart of the Ideal. Indifference—so much vaunted by certain minds like my own—is a mood that can be held only for a second. The mind then lapses into either one of two attitudes—optimistic or pessimistic. The shadings and nuances of these two feelings are infinite, and sometimes they equalize one another.
THE RETURN OF THE WANDERER.—I am Hope, and for heart I have a stone.
THE MOVABLE ZENITH.—In the heavens of my imagination toward what point do the sidereal systems of my emotions, instincts and thoughts travel?
THE PLATONIC REMINISCENCE.—What we call "progress" in our minds and emotions may be only a return to the deeps of Memory. There may be a progress backward, a reopening and revival of the life of dead cells. The future —is it anything but memorabilia? What gardens, what vistas, what prospects! It is all memory; one series superposed on another—and at bottom the mystical tabula rasa, the fundamental X, the shadowy Nil.
THE ADULTEROUS REALITY.—I hurry away from facts as from an infidelity. I have taken the Abstract and the Imaginative for concubines. Get thee behind me, Fact!
CHRIST, LIMITED.—Think of the money the Christian Churches have made by trading on the name of a Jew called Jesus!
THE VACATIONS OF SIR GALAHAD.—I begin with the axiom I, and what will I find? The axiom split into a million particles, endless parturition from myself, giant fissures in my I, but still the I. Or, I begin with the outer world, some "fact," something "observed" and mount to the heavens of some abstraction. But the scenery is sublime either way!
THE SCREEN.—At times my intellect obscures my genius.
THE UTILITY OF THE IMPOSSIBLE.—We live on the possible, but through the power of the impossible. We must believe in the impossible in order to achieve the possible. Movement is inconceivable without the negation called the impossible. There is a Pole Star at the end of every physical and mental motion. Political, social and individual evolution is ' conditioned on absolute conceptions. It is the absurd that is the Deus ex macbina of the world.
In other words, imagination is the very marrow of life. Without imagination there can be no life. Without the impossible life ceases.
PRESERVING ONE'S DIGNITY.—To act as though one were acting for eternity—that is the way to succeed and to be ridiculous at the same time. Nothing is surer than death, oblivion and the final annihilation of the planet—yet men act as though each act were unchangeable. To escape success and the ridicule of the gods lie flat on your back and meditate on the space above for a lifetime.
MY IMMEDICABLE HOMESICKNESS.—When I pick up one of the sacred books of India—the Dhamapada, the Upanishads—a "homey" feeling takes complete possession of me. Each great paragraph is like a current in a vast ocean that is taking me back to the Eternal Port of my soul. I seem to have lived through it all, written it all.
My Nirvana is behind me. I am a god fallen from a great height into a temporary hell. I feel that great doctrine of Self to be true. I know that, like Plotinus and the yogis, I have had moments wherein object and subject became one. I have been in the heart of the Ecstatic Union. Now I am two. I was once One. The nostalgia for the N£ant in me is the nostalgia for Self, Unity, Nirvana, It.
SQUARING THE CIRCLE.—If all instinct is only con-scious intelligence that has become automatic, then all conscious intelligence is simply revived instinct. This would explain those remarkable experiences of having-seen-it-before-somewhere or having-done-that-thing-before-somewhere. It is the platonic doctrine of Reminiscence. Instinct is drowned consciousness; intelligence is the unconscious resuscitated and brought back to life by the friction of environment. Each one lives out in his own life the fables of reincarnation and Lethe. All action and thought done consciously are reincarnations of things done or thought before, and all that does not come to the threshold of consciousness is enjoying its lethal bath.
AGAIN THE CHIMERA!—The Absolute! the Absolute —that is the Thought without a brain to house it, the Room without any walls or roof. Its inconceivability is its rat son d'etre; it is a decoy, a life decoy; the phantom that flees in the moonlight over the gravelled roofs of the Relative, and which disappears finally up the chimneys of the air.
THE SUNDERED HEMISPHERES.—All that I do and think is unreal. I have two personalities—an artificial one and a real one. My outer life seems to be a tremendous piece of irony organized by myself for the aesthetic delectation of that Other Self—eternal Spectator, the real Me. My life is a satire on itself. At the Ironic Ridge I am; otherwise I seem.
THE WILL-TO-STERILITY.—At the moment wherein I begin to understand a mind of equal or superior greatness to my own—that is an act of creation, though no action issue from it. Creation is unmanifest at its highest point. It is often only a new point of view, a sudden rending by a lightning stroke of a cloud; a new focus. If it is so that the finest poems are those that have never been written, it is also true that creation reaches its summit in the unrecorded dream, perception or emotion.
FIVE MINUTES FROM THE ABSOLUTE.—The hand on the clock of human thought are either five minutes past or five minutes of the Noon of the Absolute.
A FAIR QUESTION.—Is the grave Elba or St. Helena?
THE GRAIL OF GOLD AND GREEN.—The Imagination is the satanic principle of life, falsifying reality in the interests of the aesthetic principle, whch demands spectacles at any cost.
OLD DR. RELLING.—A truth is a vital lie—that is, an illusion, a deception, that will do the same work better than it would if it were a truth. A truth is a truth, and for eternity, if conceivable, would remain immobile; but a lie— a vital lie—is organic and decays with its parent need.
THE VACATIONS OF A GOD.—I cannot renounce the will-to-live so long as I experience the wish-to-lie. So long as there is another illusion possible I will remain on terra firma, and not below it. I find my greatest sport in satirizing and mimicking myself, living sub specie eternitatis. I conceive myself to be the arch-liar and braggart. What do I do that is sincere ? How can one who lives in Eternity be sincere in Time? To pose is my means of survival, my modus vivendi, my vision and my voice. All that I have written is a satire on all that I have thought; all that I have thought is a satire on all that I am. All of my acts satirize the human race in some one of its serious movements. To think, to be, is to pose.
THE ROOT OF ALL GENIUS.—Everything has failed me but alcohol. But I am temperate, for I have never drunk all that has ever been made.
THE ECSTASY THAT SLAYS.—Last night I was drunk on wine, and I felt the breath of Parabrahma on my forehead. Wine and Nirvana!—the ecstasy is too great. I shall remain sober for a week.
THE TWELVE-FOLD ROOT OF SUFFICIENT HUMBUG.—Health—that is what perpetuates evil.
THE ADVENTURE IN CAUSATION.—Compare the Eternal Return of Nietzsche to the Cycles of Brahma: the recurrent Absolute. The legend of a Golden Age and the prophecy of a "far-off divine event" are sprung from the same thought—that Time shuts up like a fan every little while and opens again. If whatever has been will be, then whatever will be has been. Logically, the Absolute cannot be proved; but that is just the main attribute of the Absolute—it swallows and absorbs all logic and proof.
EPITOME.—Will there be a Second Advent? There will be, are and have been millions of Second Advents. I myself am a Second Advent.
TRANSFUSION, TRANSPOSITION AND TRANSMUTATION OF AN UNSLAYABLE INSTINCT.—The miracle-instinct—that is, the miracle-sensibility. The belief in miracles never dies. Today it is more active than ever. Its incarnation is economic—specifically, the miracle believer is a Socialist. What priest could not do, what God could not do, man will do! Of course!
The eighteenth century made Nature the source of miracles—then Science, in the nineteenth century; now Collective Man. Zola and Renan lied about Science, just as the mediaeval theologians and priests lied about God and Heaven.
BETTER OF THE TWO?—To awake from a deep sleep and peer into the mirror of consciousness—it is like Death looking into the face of Life and smiling. We have touched the skirts of the Absolute, and we live to record it! We bave cruised for a little while, in that profound and dreamless sleep, on the Open Sea of Nil. No log was kept, no moon or sun shone there, and longitude and latitude were unrecorded. To sleep thus for a thousand years and awake for a day and then to relapse again! Of the twins, Sleep is the better of the two. The magical fountain of consciousness rises out of those unplumbed depths. And Death—is that a magical fountain, too?
FACTS, IDLE FACTS.—"Knowledge" is the screen between man and the Infinite. From the standpoint of the Infinite—under the aspect of the Eternal—all knowledge adds to our ignorance. Comprehension, genius at its highest points and unmemoried consciousness have nothing in common with science or facts. Thoreau stood nearer the Secret than Newton. Knowledge in its highest form is the total absence of it.
WHY I AM GENERALLY SECOND-HAND.—I repeat myself incessantly in my writings; but not more so than Nature, Life, or the finite actions of the Infinite. Each brain has one single thought that is unique; the endless dispersal, differentiation and transmutation of this thought throughout the psychic being constitute what is called "personal identity." What seems to be endless reiterancy is just the perpetual home-coming of the parts to the whole. We are miniature Absolutes, Brahmas in petto.
THE CASTLE BEYOND THE AIR.—On the summit of Mount Nirvana there is still the Castle of the Impossible to be entered. There are no doors and no scaling ladders to that castle. On the ramparts there is a Shadow that walks.
THE TRUCE IN THE THICKET.—Reality is a compromise between two forces that are charged with the passion for the Infinite. Reality is born of the constant capitulation of warring forces that seek to eternize themselves. At any given point in the evolution of humanity or human consciousness there is compromise. My life is an armistice.
THE DOGMATIC I.—I am certain that I am still alive and I am certain that I am a fragment of a Reality. It is a form of certainty that transcends logic or reason or observation. I have never doubted that I am an atom of the I Am. I do not believe it, I do not know it, I do not feel it. I say simply and definitively, I Am.
WEAVING THE ABSOLUTE.—The evolution of the sense of the Infinite can only be studied as a personal experience. There is no "taste for the Infinite." One must be born to it. If the Absolute, the Infinite, the Eternal exists in the psychic being it will begin to exfoliate at adolescence. There will be tendencies to godolepsy, alcoholism, suicide and poetic transfiguration of reality. It is a possession. The consciousness of the Infinite revalues all values, negatives all positives and shatters all bonds. Father, mother, sister, brother are nothing. Mighty distances become outlined in the brain. The space between consciousness and the body that pedestals it becomes interstellar. My hands become ghost-hands, my feet ghost-feet. Jesus denied his mother, the Yogi foregoes his body. The Infinite encroaches, corrodes and consumes all around it.
Once the ideas or sentiments of social, family or human relations have disappeared, once the world of matter and contingency has foundered in the consciousness of the Eternal and the Infinite, all ways lie open to the person who is so endowed. He partakes of all nature and life. He is no longer a person, but a force. He is a metaphysical chameleon. He is satanic, because Time has a satanic principle: it mocks at everything. He will be passionately in love with the idea of self-sacrifice, for in the Infinite his transitory being can mean nothing. Irresponsibility, contempt, disdain, indifference—for of what value is anything where there is no ultimate? The theological God was invented to save men from this dreadful truth.
In my brain life vanishes like a speck in space. The Infinite is an empty house, the chinks in the walls of which are my conscious thoughts. I mask the Infinite with the daily round of actions, which vanish like smoke in ether. Life has never touched me. It seems to me something aside, something that can not possibly have any reference to the stupendous Reality in which I was born. I am like an Eagle that is urged through Space for an Eternity and who is prohibited by an inherent law of its being from perching even for a moment on a mountain-peak.
Of what value has the birth and death of suns, the appearance or the disappearance of Milky Ways, or the life and adventures of planet-beings to such a voyager?
THE SUPREME IRONY OF THE SATANIC ILLUSIONIST.—-Those who have loved God the most and preached him passionately as the Ultimate have brought the greatest ills into the world—Jesus, Mahomet and the theologians of all creeds.
IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE GRAIL.—It is Idealism that keeps up the comedy of existence. It is the plot in the Play. Satan (or the Spirit of Irony) works through the Good, the True and the Beautiful. The materialist and sceptic, the disciple of carpe diem, is beyond good and evil. The Spirit Ironic has no power over one who says, "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you die." But he who teaches, prays, hopes, goes into the highways and talks—he is already taken by Satan, whose mind is theatric and aesthetic.
There is one thing absolutely necessary to the existence of Satan; that is, the belief in God. Maya, or the principle of diabolistic mockery, works through the illusion of God, goodness, immortality and progress.
THE MECCA.—To trifle with life in a magnificent way.
AN ADVENTURE WITH GHOSTS; OR THE PANORAMA OF A CRISIS.—Which is the Ghost—the identified
Self, the continuous me, the supersynthetic, apperceptive Awareness that I call I ? Is that a ghost, a shimmer, an aura cast off by the Reality that is made up of my mind, emotions, sensations and body—or is the latter the Ghost and the former a Reality? Or'are they both Ghosts, and is all that is merely Ghost?—ghosts that stretch away into the Infinite, ghosts that are the mirror one of the other? Then, again, why do I differentiate Ghost from Reality? Why should not ghost-shape and Reality be one? What is the ghost-quality and the reality-quality? Have I defined them? No. Well, then, I believe that ghosts and Reality are one, and that the Super-Ghost, the final mirror that holds and reflects all auras and emanations, is the Super-Reality; that Reality and Unreality have no meaning.
Now, am I on the route to that farthest Ghost of myself, that post-mortem I; or am I doomed for an eternity to be only one of its reflections? Maya, the everlasting Mocker, grins slyly through all speculative proceedings; but how came Maya into Being's swirl ? And what is Being ? And why differentiate Maya and Being? The sublime ruses of the imagination, the superb Machiavellianism of the Unconscious, the thousand and one ways of justifying my Ego, the Tartuffism, of my will-to-be-God, the splendor of my illusions—this is sufficient to justify myself unto myself.
FIRST AID TO THE INJURED.—Never to regret the past, never to care about consequences—there is no other road to power except in the rigid application of this formula.
A DESIDERATUM.—It is curious that while sports, next to the sexual act, interest the human race more than anything else, life itself is never conceived as a sport by the masses. Curious, most curious, that the life and death of worlds and the vicissitudes of races have never been looked at from the standpoint of a Game. Sport is the one passion that has not been idealized. It has no cosmology. There are love-gods, jealous-gods and obscene gods, but a sporting God has never been invented.
AT THE ENDS OF TIME.—There is a kind of being who has lived his life before he is born. His existence becomes a kind of postmortem observation on his prenatal existences. Hope is a shadow that walks away from his back. It is always receding behind him, and yet it follows him. The great Chimera lies immobile, frozen in the Arctic air above the peaks of action. This being has finished his novitiate Elsewhere, and the hours fly past his vision in clusters and groups like strange birds migrating to superfluous lands.
A HACKNEYED IMAGE TURNED OVER AGAIN.— The world's a stage. The doers from Rameses I. to Lenin are the actors; the audience is made up of the creative artists and philosophers. The other billions who have lived are merely scene-shifters and wardrobe-keepers. But the Callboy, that marvellous, mysterious, transcendental Callboy—who has ever seen Him! And it is He who has my Grail!
THE ALL-INCLUSIVE CIRCLE.—I have written about Flaubert, Hardy, Leconte de Lisle and two score others. They are merely excuses for myself, pretexts for the draining off my own fullness. All I have written is autobiography. Genius is a mosaic, an arabesque. We all belong to one another. I am Homer, Titian and Walt Whitman. I could not expound them without expounding myself. I am a drainpipe of universal thought, a world-crematory, a public dump that reaches to the stars. I have absorbed, filched, recom-pounded, transmuted, sublimated and transfused. I am a mincing machine, a retort. I am the mirror of Nature, the great Alchemist. I am the philosopher's stone. I can turn pewter into gold and gold into star-gleam.
TOWARD ANTARCTIC CLIMES.—A condor with outstretched wings lies motionless in the air high over an Andean peak. From that frozen height he listens to a barrel-organ being played in a village street twenty-five thousand feet below him. That is the manner in which I have lived my life.
TO JULES DE GAULTIER.—The Subject modifies the Object and the Object modifies the Subject—that is, consciousness coming into contact with the external world deforms, transforms and mutilates the thing it beholds; and the external object rising before consciousness deforms, transforms and mutilates "pure consciousness". Ideas, abstractions and emotions in one's self undergo the same "otherness" the minute one looks at them. Therefore, whatever is is different from itself. Nothing can be known in itself because its original character is modified by something else. Universal phantasmagoria is the result. This secret must—and will always—remain esoteric. It destroys absolutely the notion of Truth. Error, falsehood, as the very condition of existence—tell it not in Gath!
THE WONDER-WELLS.—In my brain are many inkwells. Some I have never used. Some I never can use; their lids are sealed forever and their contents will never flow from the gold pen of perception. But what mighty images, what vast perspectives there lie in these hermetically sealed cerebral inkwells! Other wells are wide open; it is with these I create. The ultra-violet pots open rarely; but they were full and lid-free when I wrote some of my books. Then, there are wells made up of liquids wrung from the dying brains of the imps of hell and others squeezed from the breath of angels.
THE LEES OF JOY.—I am full of the "tragic joy" today, the joy born at the end of the route, the joy that emp* ties itself in Life and Death, the joy of pranks that are ghastly, the joy that begins when the last raven has carried away the last shred of my heart from my Calvary in Hell. Who shall analyze that joy that rises from "the depth of some divine despair," the glowing diamond born in the darkness, the very reaction of the dark against itself?
Beware of me when I am joyful! Have a care of me when I am glad! There is more murder in my love than in my hate, and in the tempests of my gladness and in the great south-winds of my mirth there rises and falls a death-mardi. The "tragic joy" of those who have suffered strange and unusual punishments, the laughter of the eye that has seen sun-ghosts and moon-ghosts, the dancing dimples in the cheeks of those who were kissed by Prosperina at the cradle —who has yet given us the psychology of these things? When I am sad the stars feel safely housed in their kennels in space and the World-Ghost breathes freely; but when I laugh sincerely and my heart heaves with passionate joy the ears of the Earth are a-cock and there is an ebb in the tide of the World-Will.
SIR GALAHAD SPITS IN THE CUP.—How can I ever unhouse my bitterness, my thirst for vengeance, my undecom-posable venom? Where are the giant scenarios for my pitiless satire, where are the moulds that will crystallize and materialize the irony of my nature? My vision is sure—for me, for all visions are temperamental and are rooted in a need. Well, what do I need? Who knows? On Whom shall I wreak my vengeance for my incarnations? What is that "inverted bowl of heaven" of Omar if it is not the skull of some dead God in which worlds and men and zodiacs pullulate like maggots? Where shall I vent my rage? The aesthetic solution suffices for the brain, even though the spectacle is only a cheap vaudeville and the actors only ham-fatters; but where shall the heart, the Vision, the Metaphysical Dream slake its thirst?
MY EGOTISM.—What am I but the last tatter of Mind as it flutters into Nirvana? Or the last sick-unto-death warrior that the Valkyries of the imagination are carrying into some extinct Valhalla? Or am I a metaphysical Cambronne uttering to the soldiers of the Army of Light his famous monosyllable—O merde!.
THE PATHOLOGY OF GOODNESS.—Amiel and Pascal and Maurice de Gu^rin and other Grail-questers, why were they ill? Why has all beauty, all sweetness, all abnegation something pathologic about it? Nietzsche would have said because power and evil are the soul of things. Jules de Gaultier would say because the World-Will is the Will-to-Error. Nature will not suffer to have us stray far from her laws—and her laws are writ in blood in tablets given to Apollyon on the Mount Sinai of Hell. So I, Sir Galahad, do repent of my sweetness and light, for I fear to be ill.
PASCALITIS.—Sometimes I seem on the verge of crossing the barrier between me and life, seem on the point of touching the human with my heart, when those invisible Hands reach out of my soul and pluck me back, rescue me when I am on the verge of falling into life, dragging me back into the cold light of that nimbus of negation.
WHY SIR GALAHAD DALLIES IN TAVERNS.—The alcoholism of poets is the desire to see what is on the other side of the ceiling of their world, the desire tol turn the wallpaper around, the desire to rip up the floor of the conscious life and to peer into the vaults, dank and loathsome though they are; to see as hopeless what is believable; to see as good what they know to be evil; to see as foolish what they think serious and as serious what they think foolish; to reverse all values and to fire the Ephesian dome of their own creations and watch the edifice crumble into the mud of their besotted drunkenness; to staunch the light and to fire the dark; to pump the wine out of their veins and fill them with the stagnant waters of Lethe—this is the secret of alcoholism of the poetic sensibility. It is the instinct to become as others, to reduce one's self to the level of stupidity of other creatures. To become human the gods must stupefy themselves.
THE ATAVISM OF A SCEPTIC.—In fine, my whole life is nothing but a secret parley with God.
THE USELESSNESS OF THE HAPPY.—Happiness could never carry on the questionable "work of the world." Distress is the physiological and psychological foundation of belief and "progress."
SOLILOQUY OF SATAN.—So long as the human race continues to think through its heart—and it never will be otherwise—I am safe.
THE TREASON OF THE SENSES.—The most difficult thing for me to do in my helplessly conscious moments is to persistently resist the evidence of my senses. And yet I know it is by resisting it that I come into Reality, or Unreality—it makes little difference, as I mean the completest sense of personal identity. As my senses grow weaker, as I reject their evidence more and more, I come nearer to that I, that ultimate self. The senses are the spectrum on which the ray of the central sun of identity splits and dissolves into many shades and shadows which are not-mes.
SOCIAL INCEST.—"Each for all and all for each." Were the application of this formula possible in any community we should have in a generation a race of abortions. Still, it is the crazy men that have made history interesting.
CHRISTMAS MEDITATION.—Pity can never be abstract. The intellect should never pity. Pity must never be urged as a principle. Pity is for the heart—and should always be concrete, a matter of personal taste or instinct. Tolstoy urged pity as a principle. Nietzsche was against pity as a principle—as an intellectual axiom. I do not give a quarter to a beggar in the street on principle. I give it to relieve concretely, and for that moment and in that instance only, a case of suffering, the beggar's and my own.
The brain and the heart must reign apart. My heart is a temple of pity and mercy; but my brain is not social for all that. My heart feels—lives—all the ills of the race in time or eternity. The heart is for everyday; the brain is the eye of Time—and as impersonal as Time. A brain should be heartless. I give my quarter to that man in rags, and my heart says it is a useful and a good act; but my brain says it is a useless and indifferent act. Both are right.
ON THE OUTPOSTS.—Am I not one of the minute men of civilization? Am I not every minute at war with all that trammels my ego? Am I not the Lawless Urge itself? And what else is civilization but the constant watch over one's self and the implacable hatred of all external authority? The savage is merely the anarch for the sake of the belly and the genitals; but the intellectual and emotional savage—the grand anarch—is he who fights for the unseen, one who cannot live by bread and genitals alone.
UP IN THE RIGGING OF THE WORLD.—Two ways lie open to us—we may war against the gods or join in their game. To war against them leaves us aghast in the Infinite, crucified against a star. To take their point of view draws the fire from their vengeful jests. To play the Game with them is the only way out.
The thing I seek is the correct attitude toward things, and that attitude must change in the minute. My soul flames red at Verdun and glimmers white at Calvary. It turns the color of laughter at the birth of a new sun, but it comes to a tear at the condensation of a planet where men must be born whose bodies will be the battered walls of a perpetual siege but whose brains will carry in their cells the sense of imponderable eternities.
It is said the gods always laugh, but if they do it is often to strangle their melancholy. Their laughter is the paradoxical echo of their stoicism. Their "detachment" is a sort of mummery—an ironym pronounced on the inutility of everything. Their eyes glued on the Slough of Time, their brains remain static, immutable, all-seeing in Eternity.
Play the Game of the gods! Let the body take its portion of these pains and these pleasures. The flesh-quakes and the heart-quakes are dramatic hells and vaudeville thrillers that the mind may contemplate with a smile. And what that' supersight will englobe are automatons of mirific dust that march in squads of billions toward the cinerariums of Time, bubbling, boiling vats of space that are called suns, and haggard, tattered moons that cling to whirling planets that in a little while will whirl no more.
Seek no more, O Sir Galahad of the flying dust! Seek no more, O Sir Galahad of the tumescent vision and moth-bitten dream! Play the Game of the gods!
RUBBING HIS WOUND WITH ACID.—We who do not write for the living have the privilege of writing for the dead. So sometimes I write for Shakespeare, or Keats, or Aeschylus, or Whitman, or Nietzsche, or Emerson, or Shelley, or Poe, or Amiel. An audience that listens and is discriminating, and that will never tell me my real worth, thank God!
THE GREAT DANGER.—That I should ever take my seriousness seriously or that I should ever take my jests and satires and guffaws otherwise than seriously.
PIZZICATO.—All reason is a form of cowardice. Reason is always a coward; reason was bom of defeat. The first man that reasoned was not a Siegfried, but an Abel or a Sgnarelle. Reason is the undertaker of the imagination, of the will. It is a huge blotting-pad that absorbs the colors that aureole the primitive passions. Wherever reason dominates, the shining disk of life enters the penumbra of death.
THE RECONCILER.—Epicurus. In that Garden, Greek and Hindu may play the eternal flaneur. The* yogi and courtesan recognize their oneness before the smiling eye of Epicurus. And I, Sir Galahad, find the Cup in every thought.
THE ONLY THING THAT IS LEFT TO DO IN A WORLD WHEREIN EVERYTHING HAS BEEN SAID.— To twist the neck of words until they grow livid in the face and disgorge their secrets to me. To lay their arteries and their veins wide open until they bleed to death. To be the Marquis de Sade of the Logos and of its incestuous posterity of words. To harry and nag words into strange contortions and death rattles. To paganize Christian words. To make of my mind a pyre of syllables and fire it with the torch of creative thought and to spill the fire on white paper.
To blow words up like monstrous bladders until they burst. To twist ugly words to shapes of mythic beauty. To watch them swim and copulate in the ocean of my thought as one watches the loves of water-fairies in remote caves of the sea. To watch them boil and bubble in the incandescent breath of my ideas. To string them together like lizards and chameleons and fireflies until they flash and scintillate like toy suns against the firmament of my Apperception.
To be the Paganini, the Paderewski of words! To harness them to ineffable visions and lash them into the Valhalla of all,uttered things. To press from them their ether, their naphtha and their secretions of venom. To lure them from their academic boudoirs and the downy quilts of dictionary smugness and to unkennel them of respectability and official use.
To make fiery shields of prepositions and anarchs of verbs and to find the God and Devil in every noun. To fire the Ephesian dome of the inconceivable with the linked and confiscating flame of syllables.
I shall reach Elohim by piling the Pelion of nuances on the Ossa of syllables. Words! Words! Ail that is left me —strange flowers, each one, that open their fare exotic interiors to me alone! Diving-bells and Roman candles, Ygdrasil and Judgment Trumpet! I rape you all, for am I not the Logos?
THE TWO.—There are two kinds of optimism—one that flows from the immanent mental and physical cowardice of the race, and the other that is the product of mystical reliance. The eternal type of the former—every human being almost, especially those who are Occidental. The type of the second order is Spinoza. Mystical optimism is so closely allied to pessimism that in some cases one can hardly separate them; as in the Orient, for instance: Buddha.
THE THAUMATURGIC MIRROR OF THE MOOD.— This day I saw the Symbol of myself, my Daemon, my Familiar, my Destiny. Dim, dark-light mysterious one hidden in a super-nowhere who comes to my pillow on awakening, at that moment when the body has lost all consciousness of itself. A cyrstallization of the currents of my deepest need. A living, blazing, mocking-friendly diary of my past. A Mentor, maybe, of the Way to go. It is the Sphinx of the soul. But it changes color like a chameleon. I prayed to It. Will it answer my prayer? Who knows?
Once it was a hideous spectre of perversion, inversion and negation. Then it became a frozen lake at the top of my brain against which my thoughts flew like snowflakes. Now it is softer, more human, not less mysterious or titanic—and it whispers, Love, Love, Love and Beauty, Beauty, Beauty!
Mysterious god, mysterious devil, where do you lead me to? You descend with me the slow cataracts of Time to that Sea where there will be—what will be.
THE IMPOSSIBLE.—Man is never wholly awake. The most absolute materialist and realist still sleeps and dreams in illusions. To be fully and completely awake the duality of object and subject would have to be abolished. Awake— that is to be nothing. All knowing is still an illusion.
SIR GALAHAD'S SPECIALTY.—The Socialist, the Anarchist, the Communist, the economic ist of any kind is always ancient—as ancient, as trite as the theologian. The Individualist, however, is always new. His programme being the development of himself, he is always unique. His cult is himself.
The practical Individualist has only one dogma—his fist (mental or actual) ; only one Utopia, the dogma and Utopia of the practical Individualist. The Anarchist is a moralist, an evangelist. The Individualist may be anything because his dream is based on his temperament, which is Absolute, and is applicable to himself alone. A man may become an Anarchist through a book, but not an Individualist.
DISGUST.—In sleep, just before awakening, in that half-life, there come to me great poems, romances, written pages of magic prose. If I could exchange all my waking life for those moments! The waking life, the real, is stupid. The ideal life would be the life of dreams, with their moments of subconscious creation and their absurd dislinking of events and their magical comicality and illogicality. Life is the false dream and the dream-world is the true life.
When I awake I feel something has been irretrievably lost.
There is a declension of power, a scattering of forces, a dispersal of an Absolute into a thousand inconsequent particles. No illusion of reality can duplicate the illusions of dreams. There is something fascinating even in dream-terror which does not come to us in moments of real catastrophes. There are in reality no "unpleasant" dreams except this daily wideawake one.
RECESSIONAL.—To hurl ideas, absolutes and all psychic jargon into the sewers; to say to the one you adore, "Come, I lust for the beauty of your body; damm your soul;" to say to Life, "You are good in so far as you give me a sensation and a sense-tickle; bad in so far as you give me an ideal".
What hell is there like the Ideal? Where are there any Furies like the perpetual sting of the invisible vermin that infest the hairshirt of the Impossible? Give me back the Earth, thou diabolical Messiah of the Ineffable! Give again into my hands the Real, thou Torquemada of Nihility! Give to me my lusts and my rich and wholesome flesh-itch and money-itch, thou loathsome and damnable God! From the lookout on the Flying Dutchman of the Ideal hurl me into the steaming brothels of matter. Give me a brain-bolus that I may spew out Eternity! Exile me from the mountains of the Moon to the warm wombs of the human world!
THE VERTICAL FLIGHT.—I am capable of standing at the very end of Time—at the place of its final ripple—and looking back at the Now, at this very moment that I write. What a stupid figure thou art, Sir Galahad, thou Homais of Eternity!
"TORTURE BY HOPE."—New forms of consciousness, new vistas from the dais of newer senses, wider perspectives from other dimensions—this is the jargon of Life as it speaks to my brain. Then comes the jargon of death: Rest from things and the ideal of things, surcease from stupidity and all its moulds and fashions, the escape from joy (a sop, a trap) and Sorrow, the eye of wisdom. I grin and weep above both illusions. My voyage into Eternity has gone farther than either Life or Death, for I reject both as inadequate to my need—a metaphysical, sub-physical, supra-physical need—I know not. And maybe it all comes to this, that this need is nothing but something that can be satisfied in the raptures of love.
So irony gleams behind irony, and the supra-ideal may be nothing but a divertissement of the Flesh. I have made a few rents in a Curtain, but I see many curtains beyond. What is the basis of the metaphysical passion ? Who has put that wound in my side and made eyes in my blood and of my psychic nature a Niagara and whirlpool of dead and living worlds and systems? And who are the sick—they who live on the earth or in the air? What o'clock is it—in Eternity?
THE PRODIGAL'S RETURN.—No matter how far I go into life, how passionately I sing of matter and action and sex, I come back at last to the great nihilistic furor of my youth. I stay with Nietzsche a little while, with his Eagle and his Serpent; but I come back, as to Home, to Buddha, the Preacher and Schopenhauer. My optimism, my gladness, my exultant nightingale songs are as ephemeral as Life, as Time; and my pessimism, or rather my indiflferentism— my passionate, frenetic indifferentism—is as solid and as sure as Eternity.
At the moment of my greatest joy and rapture—it is then I am conscious of being duped most certainly. My buoyancy is specious; my metaphysical grief is always sincere. My De Profundus is really from the depths; my Ninth Symphony is from the shallows. Whenever I laugh I feel my metaphysical hypocrisy. I feel as though I had deserted the sick and the ailing and the heart-broken pilgrims of the ages; I feel that I should do a penance for all my gayety. I have "ratted" on the Truth. To the minds that are eternized like mine whatever is is a death-rattle—my laughter especially. Admirable gods rise and fall in my soul—but the eternal presence is Guatama the Buddha.
THE PARACLETE OF THE SUFFERING UNIVERSE.— When my present consciousness is quenched there will arise somewhere in space my equivalent, myself under some new mask of awareness. For I am the eternal satanic principle—in its lordliest sense. I wage war with the gods and the God. My Why, Whither and Whence are not the Why, Whither and Whence of a parson or of a scientific inquirer or of a smug pietist like Renan, but it is the savage Why, Whither and Whence of one who will accept no answer unless that answer suits me. My Why, Whither and Whence are Why! Whither! and Whence!—not Why? Whither? and Whence?
In the wide-awake sleep of consciousness Evil and Eternity are my two bad dreams—and I put all "good" in that term Evil. Whence my eternal negation? Because I am the ghastly It, the convergence and foci of all the cosmic minds and cosmic impulses of the ages. Like a spring that runs from a deft in the mountainside to a rock beneath, the eternal stream of perception in my own mind running perpetually on the rock of Matter has almost worn away the external world. There is a little ledge of love left.
I wait, I wait for other incarnations, for more magnificent masks and superber affirmations. I have passed beyond this world years ago. And now I wait, wait, wait, cooling my heels in hell.
PRAYER.—Prayer is the soliloquy of the emotions.
OUR SUPRA-REALITY.—The artist lives the life he has not lived. He wrings out of himself his aborted selves, his unmaierialized dreams, his unadventured adventures. His productions—in music, painting, literature—are the supra-reaiity of his own dwarfed reality, expanded, infinitized.
THE STABILIZER.—Great music heard at the right moment sends all our thoughts toward the equator of consciousness. It stills, satisfies, equilibrates. We enter Nirvana living, smiling. Heard at the wrong moment, it puts us at the polecap, where there is nothing but the infinite, empty azure to long for, the sigh and itch for the innominate Elsewhere; and round about us there is ice, ice, ice, nothing but ice— and the estranged, absolute self.
EARTH'S PRICELESS GIFT.—The mind of children is the real super-world. Be tender, be tender to the little ones —they are the only sweets left, these air-urchins and elves of miraculous innocence.
THE TRAGEDY AND THE COMEDY, THE BLESS-ING AND THE BLIGHT.—The constant attrition of the blood in my brain on that word-image, the Infinite. Of what is that word-image made? Of what unsubstantial substance? Of what magic lignum vitae? For my blood is wearing away and the word-image magnifies. It as as though the rock were wearing away the falling waters.
DISCOVERY.—In the light of certain ghastly dreams I have discovered a new kind of light. One cannot see this light; one must feel it. To the "light of dreams" one may apply the spectrum of analysis, but in this certain other light, sieved, beamless, there is a secret that no spectrum can dislodge.
SIR GALAHAD, DRAMATURGE.—I shall write the drama. Its scene shall be laid in the interior of God, and Satan shall be hero. It shall be in one act and shall last for an eternity. It shall be called "The Typhoon." I shall use the vocabulary of the dead. There shall be but one auditor,
my hypostatic Eye. If you wish to see this drama you may— the admission fee, however, is your life.
ALL IS FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR.—My intellectual grief, my intellectual tears, my intellectual diplomacy, my intellectual laughter, my intellectual tartuffery—nothing has availed yet to cross the Ineluctable. I see the far-off ultimate limits of Space and the last contours of Time and I am accoutred with the force of all the rebel dead. My shadow impinges on the Other Side. I have lied and spun sailors' yarns to get me along on the Way and beaten my way at strange Inns. Met many tip-toe dwarfs who warned me back into Boy-land. Listened to sages whose thoughts were all thumbs. Sneered at the murder -ray in the eye of the sane and smug. Slept many a night on the bare ground of my soul. Ridden on the bumpers of Juggernaut. Passed through the Alsace-Lorraine of metaphysics. Gnawed at my horizons with the twenty-six teeth in my Eye. But a lion may slip on a rose-leaf, and I must begin all over again!—and again—and again!
CIVILIZATION.—How selfish it is to ask another person ^ to be honest!
EPIGRAM.—Memory is the pocket-mirror of the mind.
NIETZSCHE.—He suffocated to death in his own skull because of the absence of psychic oxygen. Had he only got drunk once a month and sought out some clean Aphrodite he might not have gone into Valhalla so soon.
THE SPORT OF KINGS.—To vandalize tomorrow and to smash the bric-a-brac in the Temple of Time. We have discounted all that can happen and broken all the images that will be created; but we live to watch the faces of the eternal badauds.
TOLEDO AND CORDOVA ETERNITATUS!—Our scientific and intellectual auto-da-f6s! From our crimson box at the head of the arena we watch the Game.
AH, GODIVA!—In Eternity life is intermittent and in life Eternity is intermittent—shy Peeping Toms.
DIARIES OF THE GRAVE.—Those books I have written are all ruins. All those essays, those poems, those adventures into the souls of other men, those epigrams and isolated thoughts are fragments of a Past of which I am now only a garrulous survivor. I am a vestige, a plinth, a column of a Temple which must have been magnificent in its wholeness. I am like the memory of music, like the echo of some lawless passion. There are the movement and the roar and beat of oceans in my soul, but I hear them only as one hears them in a shell. There is the rhythm of some great hurricane in all I have written, but its force was spent in other lives. But the urge is always there; there is in me the eternal pressing invitation of the ocean. It beats at my door, my little mud-hut of a brain and body, and sometimes I call into its divine presence the old, ancient calls of the Past. I am a fragment of Perfection, as my writings are mere broken notes in some mighty strophy of life.
THE DIVINE FULFILMENT.—In whatever we do let us do it utterly, to the hilt of the impulse—whether it be a murder or a great sacrifice of self. Excess is the only virtue. Moderation, premeditated moderation, is a species of remorse. It is the only sin of greatness.
THE STOMACH OF THE HUNGER.—That ache and urge in me for I know not what, that I cannot define, that wanting-to-be-something-else or wanting-to-do-something-else, that persistent movement away from whatever is to a sort of tangible Nowhere or an Intangible Somewhere, what is it but the ghosts of my past lives over again; those ghosts that live in me as impulse and ennui, restless, drowsing, hoping against hope for a resurrection, for a resuscitation, for a repetition of their adventures in flesh? They who do not feel these ghosts in them, who have not that subtle nostalgic urge, are all ghosts—that is, they are all past, under the dominion of a ghost. The latter constitute the normal, average man. But we who have these ghosts are individuals; we vary from our pasts. We are ghosts plus.
ETERNAL HAMLET.—Who cut the arteries of my will and left me to bleed to death before the mirage of myself?
THE VISIBLE ECHO.—The external universe is a wild, unarithmetic symphony composed of the echoes of human sensations and wills.
THE WISDOM OF THE IDIOM.—We still say in English that he fell in love.
STUDY IN ODOR.—There is a certain stench about wisdom as there is about "salvation." Why do I associate both with unwashed bodies and broken teeth and shirts discolored with tobacco juice?
THE COWARD WHO LIVES.—Why do I linger in this crevice of eternity? I have stood for many, many years with my hand on a bolt. Why do I not pull that bolt back, open the Door and step into my ancestral castle, the eternal citadel —Death ?
THE CHILD.—Always expectant of the magical! I go up and down the shabby pavements and streets of my consciousness looking for the bag of gold that some one has dropped. I loiter along the little lanes of my imagination hoping at some sudden bend or turn to come upon a fairy castle, a citadel of ama2ing magnificence, a mansion wherein I shall participate in a Thousand-and-One Nights entertainment.
THE COMEDY.—Reality is the name we give to the pro-foundest of all our illusions, and why fuss with names? Why shouldn't our illusions be dearer to us than any reality? Reality being the supreme illusion, why not give thanks to the Cozening Will? "Give us this day our daily lie." The madman may be the supreme realist. Reasoning and analysis may be an aberration of the will of the Eternal Fantastic. Why am I urged perpetually to seek a Reality ? Is it a ruse— the Great Ruse—or the instinct-to-illusion?
THE DYNAMICS OF NEGATION.—A fine poetess said I had a "dynamic personality;" but she did not know that I am the dynamics of negation, that I travel toward sunless and starless tracts where there are only space and night. My nature travels toward that point in psychologic space where suns and stars cannot exist, where light cannot breathe through its beam-pores and life is inconceivable.
Each affirmation dies like a snowflake in the ever-enlarging sea of negation; each yes is sublimated to a no in the retort of my intuition. Study in me the dynamics of the encroaching Nothing, the algebra of the Void and the architecture of the imponderable and infinitely echoed No. The waves of my Love wash over the stars and carry down to ruin all the little vine-hidden villas of hope spread along the shore of the Seas of God and Evil. I hope for extinction and utter annihilation, but so perfect is my faith in the innate diabolism of Mother Maya that I fear I shall be born again.
JUSTIFICATION.—I can only justify my life in the gift that has been given to me of watching the comedy of Hope played upon every star and played in the unseen and unknown dimensions. Then, too, I sound the tocsin continually, calling the dead to arm themselves against the living, who are always wishing them back to sentiency. And then there is my pride, the pride of my immeasurable hate and pity, the pride of knowing that there is no illusion that can dupe me into an affirmative that will last longer than an hour. If I appear still to wtear veils and to smile it is the better to see you and fool you, Maya, as a convict sometimes sings at his task just before he murders the guard.
KING AND BEGGAR.—The history of the meanest specimen of the human race that ever lived is the history of mankind, and the history of the proudest and best dowered man that ever lived is the history of that meanest man dilated a thousand-fold. From the Infinite and the Eternal thou art all inconsequential midges, serio-comic lice.
IDEAS TO BE DISSOCIATED.—God and goodness; evil and punishment; chastity and purity; marriage and happiness; progress and civilization and enlightenment; genius and insanity; sanity and happiness; murder and remorse; patriotism and heroism; pose and insincerity; liberty and political freedom; disease and ugliness; science and truth; intellect and reality; thinker and philosopher; life and the sacredness of it. And so on. Ah ! to build that Tower of Babel and from its summit watch the newer singeries of men!
THE SAWDUST IN THINGS.—I knew a young god— my brother Walter—who died before he was twenty. At the end of everything that was said to him with enthusiasm, at the end of every glowing affirmation of life, he would say, his eyes flooded with wistful gleams, "And then what?" There was no answer. It confused, unhorsed, floored. And then what? In that exclamatory query, O predestinate seer, there were the accents of eternity. And then what? Do whate'er thou may'st, O world!—war, love, adventure, or cumber the heavens with idols—thou hast no answer for And then what? And now he is dead of his own will—and now he peers into the eyes of God and utters And then what?
TWO PROCESSES.—The average mind must think in order to comprehend. The spontaneous comprehension of the genius is superior to thought; it is wide-awake intuition.
TIME AND ACTS.—Acts are the estuaries of the Sea of Time. One rides the high seas of that undamped ocean only in contemplation. It is the redemption from the horror of horizons. Land ho! has never rung out in my brain. There is the eternal rush and lap of waters, the rhythmic curl of waves that devour one another and that are reborn from themselves. A domeless blue above me and the emptiness of immaculate air about me like the aura of a mind floating in Nirvana. It is thus I beheld Time, and it is thus Time flows through my consciousness.
ACROSS THE RIVER OF ETHER.—I have a ferry to the stars; it is called Imagination.
LYRICAL.—Behind the unbeginning wind and beyond the scoria of time I Am. It is to me as though I had already lived the whole life of Time, but remained dead to death. My imagination has crashed and hacked its way out through matter into the blazonry of another dimension, where there is consciousness without things. Behind the unbeginning wind and the scoria of time I Am.
VENGEANCE.—To-day the Furies lashed me till I am in tatters and my soul hangs by a shred to my consciousness and my very breath is bleeding; but tomorrow I'll scourge them with wine and laughter and grunt at them in derision from a ragout of flesh.
PHAETON OF THE MOON.—Millenniums ago all the miserable dead in the Earth came forth one night and the vibrations set up by their wails and screams for justice and surcease from dreams, caused the Earth to capsize. It turned upside down completely; and that is why humanity is optimistic It sees everything upside down. But I caught a jutting crag on one of the mountains of the moon, and have hung there ever since, serene, poised, sane.
THE DOUBLE DAY.—To-night all the sighs I have never
sighed have gathered in my heart to weep and all the wild laughter that has never been ejected from my throat has gathered in my brain to guffaw. It is New Year's Eve and Good Friday at once in my soul.
THE ETERNAL BANDIT.—I live in an age wherein spontaneity is gone. Indeed, if there were anything spontaneous left in me I should murder and steal, and not write. Only the murderer and the thief are real; everything else is a dodge. Curious, that individually we are not murderers and thieves or tyrants, yet when we form a society, a social system, that social system becomes a form of organized murder, theft and tyranny. It is because we may do collectively what we dare not do individually.
Society is thus the organized "worst" in us. It is a manner of perpetrating on one another by the impersonal and divinized "Be it enacted" what we fear to do individually. There is no . death-cell, gibbet or chain-gang for "Be it enacted." It is the vengeance of the suppressed Reality in us on the artificial, isolated individual, whose personal "Be it enacted" is pronounced sheer anarchy.
What we have suppressed in fear comes to life in the legislative hall. Our spontaneous preying instinct is often labelled "Bill No. 5040."
First it was averred that God could do no wrong; then it was the king who received the ointment of absolution; now it is the "majority." There must always be the safety valve for the real human being, some fictitious person or thing must bear the responsibility for the natural criminality of the individual. "Salvation through Christ" means revenge through Christ. Salvation through law means vengeance through law. In the perpetual crimes, trespasses and tyrannies of the State we realize our naked selves. The dream of timid Homunculus is here incarnated; he sees himself as the Red Dream, the
immune bandit. And that, too, is the reason why war is always popular. It gives the individual the right to murder, hate and plunder without any penalty.
The State, Society, is guilty—find it and punish it who may! Sentence the nominative case to the Chair!
The psychology of man! Ring, Olympus, with your laughter!
OTHER BOOKS BY
The Shadow-Eater Chameleon Forty Immortals Anathema!
Love-Letters of a Living Poet Spinoza
Mencken and Shaw
James Gibbons Huneker
Mirrors of New York
The Superman in America (booklet)
The Muse of Lies
Germans, Jews and France, by Nietzsche (compiled from his writings), with a Foreword by Benjamin DeCasseres
The Boy of Bethlehem, with a Foreword by Benjamin DeCasseres.
Walter DeCasseres The Sublime Boy, with a Foreword by Benjamin DeCasseres,
WHAT THEY SAY
George Santayana says of the DeCASSERES BOOKS: "You have the verve and the transcendental courage of the old American free-lancers, the Emersons, Thoreaus, Mark Twains and Whitmans."
Edgar Lee Masters says of the DeCASSERES BOOKS: "Your mind seethes and sparkles, and many follies and lies die at your hands."
John Cowper Powys says of the DeCASSERES BOOKS: "A Planetary Serial of rare ethereal philosophy dropped down from the moons of Saturn."
Robinson Jejfers says of the DeCASSERES BOOKS: "They have beauty and truth, poetry and surprise in them."
Llewellyn Powys says of the DeCASSERES BOOKS: "You possess a daring mind and as free of cant as I have ever known."
Maurice Maeterlinck says of the DeCASSERES BOOKS: 'Your lively and vibrant brochures burst in American literature like aerolites, those stones come from heaven, which bring to us messages of a superior world."
Benjamin DeCasseres — The Pontius Pilate of America.— H. L. Mencken.
DeCasseres has produced what may well be the most eloquent rhapsody ever sung around Spinoza.—Havelock Ellis.
How much I admire the courage with which so firmly and finally you say all that needed saying about Shawl —Aldous Huxley.
DeCasseres is the most fiery and independent writer that I know of.—Remy de Gourmont.
What you call your philosophic prejudices are, I think, becoming by slow degrees the conviction of honest thinkers concerning the world as they see it around them.—Thomas Hardy.
There are many critics, but there is only one Benjamin DeCasseres.—The New York Times.