Mystery deserves respect. If man were unaware of the ephemeral nature of his life and of all human things, he would not be man. Beauty, whose very essence is both impermanence and the power of the moment confronting the passage of time, would also be beyond his reach. The words of Ecclesiastes are a model for all lyric poetry, for he who speaks through them both affirms that he must die like all other men and rises above his vulnerability to destruction through the rhythm of language. In just the same way, line and color deliver us from our I, and regardless of the filth that may have nourished the creative act, they are transposed into the not-I.

Continual meditation on time is impossible because it would paralyze our actions, whispering that each of them will be in vain. People must aspire, love, hate, establish families, earn a living, struggle. Their days must be subordinated to the discipline imposed by immediate goals. The artistic temperament is characterized by a sensitivity to the current of time itself with its mesmerizing effect, as when a snake mesmerizes a rabbit. One cannot refute the reasoning of those who have seen in art and in religious contemplation a distancing from Will, the will to life, an ascent above the circle of birth and death. That is why people can be divided into two enduring types: the people of Will and the people of Meditation, which does not mean that these types exist in a pure, unalloyed state, or that they do not at times come into conflict with each other within a single corporeal shell.

–Czeslaw Milosz

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.