Thoughts and Aphorisms

   Most Capital

   Here or for the last exercise book (if it already contains the same idea it would be much better like this as a nice end to the phrase).

   Already we may no longer be able to recall practical or day to day facts, forget urgent replies, even be unable to find the correct word to describe something, the name  of a certain person, but we can still allow our thoughts to play over the highest summits. The mind is like those mountainous regions where the peaks still glow while the valley is in shadow. Doctors too, are they not quite wrong to take so much account of the lucidity of the mind in making their prognosis about it. It would be better for them to see if we can pronounce certain words correctly and at will. We might be the envy of all and, brought low by death, be already much pitied. The consolation - is that the progressive tide of death, coming from high or low, is like an injured man lying on the ground, and what we hold onto, if not to the very end at least for the greatest length of time, is that which is most beautiful, the contemplation of heaven.


   Literature too is a sacrificial lamp which consumes itself that it may give light to those that follow after.

   A work of art in which there are theories is like an object with the price tag left on it.

   Art is not the fruit of a conscious choice but a collaboration between religious ideas and the love of things.

   Aesthetic  pleasure is that which accompanies the discovery of a truth.

   Is the work of art not in the hidden rhythm - all the more vital in that we do not perceive it ourselves - of our soul, just like the sphygmographic readings that automatically calibrate the pulsations of our blood?

   ... This reaction of local materials on the genius who makes use of them and to whom it gives more vigour does not make the work any less individual and be it the work of an architect, a cabinet-maker or a musician, it does not reflect any less minutely the subtle features of the personality of the artist, simply because he was forced to work in the burr-stone of Senlis or the red sandstone of Strasbourg, that he has respected the knots particular to ash, that he has taken into account in his composition the resources and the limitations, the sonority, the possibilities of the flute or the viola.

   The world was not created only once, but as often as an original artist has appeared.

   The artist does not invent, he discovers.


   Love - and consequently fear - of the crowd being one of the most powerful motivations among all men, be it that they seek to please others or surprise them, be it to let them know that they feel contempt for them, with the recluse, even in absolute claustration up to the end of his life, frequently having at its source a profligate love of the crowd that brings him to a quite different sentiment, that, being unable to obtain the admiration of the concierge when he goes out, of passers-by, of the coachman waiting outside, he prefers never to be seen by them, and thereby to renounce any activity that makes it necessary to go out.


   The individual is bathed in something more universal than himself. Consequently parents do not only supply those habitual gestures which are the traits of facial appearance and the voice, but also certain ways of speaking, certain consecrated phrases that almost unconsciously in their intonation, almost as deeply, indicate along with them the origin, the source of life.

   Even mentally, we depend on natural laws more than we know and our mind possesses in advance like a fixed cryptogram, like some grass-like plant the particulars that we think we are choosing. But we only grasp secondary ideas without understanding the initial cause (Jewish race, French family etc.) which have necessarily produced them and that we manifest at the chosen moment. And perhaps, when some of them appear to us the result of deliberation, others of imprudence in our hygiene, we take after our family, like papilionaceous plants the form of their seeds, as much in the ideas with which we live as the illnesses from which we die.

   Printed in Les Nouvelles littéraires, artistiques et scientifiques, 25 July 1936. No source is given other than that they are from an at the time unpublished manuscript.


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Created 10.11.17