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  • George Walton
    Fernando Pessoa from The Book of Disquiet: I ve always thought it futile to see life as a valley of tears; yes, it is a valley of tears, but one in which we
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 30, 2005
      Fernando Pessoa from The Book of Disquiet:

      "I've always thought it futile to see life as a valley of tears; yes, it is a valley of tears, but one in which we rarely weep."

      Or, rather, one in which most are too busy subsisting to give the matter of weeping much thought. Or, perhaps, in the wealthier nations, too asborbed in distractions to give the matter any thought at all.

      But sooner or later the tears come. And then we find we can think of little else.

      Yet this will always be embedded in individual perspectives reflecting uniquely individual circumstances. And who can really understand another's point of view when the tears shed are not about the things they would themselves be inclined to weep over?

      More Fernando:

      "Life would be unbearable if we were conscious of it. Fortunately we're not. We live as unconsiously, as uselessly and as pointlessly as animals, and if we anticipate death, which presumably they don't, we anticipate it through so many distractions, diversions and ways of forgetting that we can hardly say we think about it.

      That's how we live and it's a flimsy basis for considering ourselves superior to animals. We are distinguished from them by the purely external detail of speaking and writing, by an abstract intelligence that distracts us from concrete intelligence, and by our ability to imagine impossible things. All this, however, is incidental to our organic essense. Speaking and writing have no effect on our primordial urge to live, without knowing how or why. Our abstract intelligence serves only to elaborate systems, or ideas that are quasi-systems, which in animals corresponds with lying in the sun. And to imagine the impossible may not be exclusive to us; I''ve seen cats look at the moon, and it may be that they are longing to have it."

      Well, maybe. In any event, it is not a question of whether this is more or less applicable to reality but whether it is more or less applicable to how we understand reality.

      Not necessarily the same thing at all.

      In any event, there are many different ways to become "as an animal". But none perhaps as effective [or ironic] as transfiguring the existential act of becoming itself into the philosophical quest for being. Or, even more preposterously, Being.

      But then [just as preposterously] in embracing my own "biological essense" I invaribly contradict myself, don't I? I often reduce life to death. And what could be more applicable to all the animal kingdom than that?


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