Hermann Hesse:

"It was Otto Rank who first discovered the following passage in a letter by Schiller and pointed it out as an astonishing premodern confirmation of the psychology of the unconscious. Schiller is writing to Korner, who had complained of a failure in productivity: "The cause of your complaints, it seems to me, is the compulsion that your intellect imposes upon your imagination. It seems to be a bad thing, disadvantageous to the creative activity of the soul, when the intellect examines too closely, as though at the very threshold, the ideas that stream towards it. An idea considered in isolation may seem very unpromising and even fantastic, but perhaps it will become more important through another idea that comes after it, perhaps in a certain combination with others that may appear just as absurd it can supply a very important connection: all this cannot be judged by the intellect alone unless it keeps hold of an idea long enough to examine its associations with others. On the other hand, in a creative mind, it seems to me, the intellect has withdrawn its guard from the gates, the ideas rush in pell-mell, and only then does the intellect survey and criticise the whole assembly."

This is a classical statement of the ideal relationship between intellectual criticism and the unconscious. Neither by suppression of the material streaming out of the unconscious, out of uncontrolled fancy, dreams, and the byplay of the mind, nor by permanent surrender to the unshaped infinity of the unconscious, but rather through affectionate attention to these hidden sources, and only afterward through criticism and selection from that chaos - thus have all the great artists worked.”

Hermann Hesse: “Artists And Psychoanalysis” (1918)

Image: Jerónimos And Tree. (Lisbon, 2010.)

W.G. Sebald on Thomas Browne:

" There is no antidote, he writes, against the opium of time. The winter sun shows how soon the light fades from the ash, how soon night enfolds us. Hour upon hour is added to the sum. Time itself grows old. Pyramids, arches and obelisks are melting pillars of snow. Not even those who have found a place amidst the heavenly constellations have perpetuated their names: Nimrod is lost in Orion, and Osiris in the Dog Star. Indeed, old families last not three oaks. To set one’s name to a work gives no one a title to be remembered, for who knows how many of the best of men have gone without a trace? The iniquity of oblivion blindly scatters her poppyseed and when wretchedness falls upon us one summer’s day like snow, all we wish for is to be forgotten."

- The Rings Of Saturn by W.G. Sebald

Translated by Michael Hulse (1998)

Image: Jardins de Belem, Lisbon (2010)

Theodore Zeldin:

What we make of other people, and what we see in the mirror when we look at ourselves, depends on what we know of the world, what we believe to be possible, what memories we have, and whether our loyalties are to the past, the present or the future. Nothing influences our ability to cope with the difficulties of existence so much as the context in which we view them; the more contexts we can choose between, the less do the difficulties appear to be inevitable and insurmountable. The fact that the world has become fuller than ever of complexity of every kind may suggest at first that it is harder to find a way out of our dilemmas, but in reality the more complexities, the more crevices there are through which we can crawl …

When individuals have looked beyond their familiar surroundings, when they have learned to read and travel, they have discovered that many strangers share their emotions and interests. But fruitful contact between them is rare. Very few of those who could be mutually sympathetic or stimulating, or who could join together in adventures which they could not undertake alone, have yet met. Now for the first time better communication has become one of humanity’s main priorities, no life can be considered fully lived if it has not benefited from all the encounters of which it is capable. Today, hope is sustained above all by the prospect of meeting new people.

via An Intimate History Of Humanity by Theodore Zeldin (1994)

Photo: Miradouro De Santa Catarina, Lisbon (2010)

Fernando Pessoa:

Eternal tourists of ourselves, there is no landscape but what we are.

I don’t need fast cars or express trains to feel the delight and terror of speed. All I require is a tram and my gift for abstraction, which I’ve developed to an astonishing degree.

On a tram in motion I am able, through my constant and instantaneous analysis, to separate the idea of the tram from the idea of speed, separating them so completely that they’re distinct entities. I can feel myself riding not inside the tram but inside its Mere Speed. And should I get bored and want the delirium of excessive speed, I can transfer the idea to the Pure Imitation of Speed, increasing or decreasing it at will, until it becomes faster than any train possible.
I abhor running real risks, but it’s not because I’m afraid of feeling too intensely. It’s because they break my perfect focus on my sensations, and this disturbs and depersonalizes me.
I never go where there’s risk. I fear the tedium of dangers.

from The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa.

translated by Richard Zenith.

Image: Elevador Da Bica, Lisbon, 2010.

Elevador da Bica,
Lisbon, Portugal,
June 2010
  • Camera: Digital Camera 8MP-9JA
  • Aperture: f/3.2
  • Exposure: 1/320th
  • Focal Length: 7mm

Elevador da Bica,

Lisbon, Portugal,

June 2010