Archive for the 'Complexity' Category


May 20, 2020

“Ophelia”, Arthur Hughes, 1852.


“Ich ging im Walde so für mich hin,
und nichts zu suchen, das war mein Sinn.

Im Schatten sah ich ein Blümchen steh’n,
wie Sterne leuchtend, wie Äuglein schön.

Ich wollt’ es brechen, da sagt’ es fein:
Soll ich zum Welken gebrochen sein?

Ich grub’s mit allen den Würzlein aus,
zum Garten trug ich’s, am hübschen Haus,

Und pflanzt es wieder am stillen Ort;
Nun zweigt es immer und blüht so fort.”

“I was walking in the woods
Just on a whim of mine,
And seeking nothing,
That was my intention.

In the shade I saw
A little flower standing
Like stars glittering
Like beautiful little eyes.

I wanted to pick it
When it said delicately:
Should I just to wilt
Be picked?

I dug it out with all
Its little roots.
To the garden I carried it
By the lovely house.

And replanted it
In this quiet spot;
Now it keeps branching out
And blossoms ever forth.”

~ Goethe

“Flower in a crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower — but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all
I should know what God and man is.”
~ Tennyson

“There is a willow grows aslant a brook
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream.
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crowflowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples,
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do “dead men’s fingers” call them.
There, on the pendant boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke,
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook.”
~ Hamlet, Shakespeare.

Friedrich Kayssler

May 30, 2019

“And here, poor fool, with all more lore,
I stand no wiser than before. […]
And see, that nothing can be known!
That knowledge cuts me to the bone. […]
No dog would endure such a curst existence!
Wherefore from magic I seek assistance, […]
That I may detect the inmost force
Which binds the world and guides its course.”
~ “Faust I”, J.W. von Goethe.


Jacob Böhme

May 20, 2018










May 13, 2018

“We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It’s been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

~ Carl Sagan, 1994.

“Le silence éternel de ces espaces infinis m’effraie.”
~ Pascal

May 19, 2017

“Nature” is what we see
The Hill – the Afternoon
Squirrel – Eclipse – the Bumble bee
Nay – Nature is Heaven
Nature is what we hear
The Bobolink – the Sea
Thunder – the Cricket
Nay – Nature is Harmony
Nature is what we know
Yet have no art to say
So impotent Our Wisdom is
To her Simplicity.

~ Emily Dickinson

December 26, 2016

[…] “compared by Baudelaire to a “deep and dark mirror”, Leonardo seduces us by his hermeticism, his strangeness.”

“This Leda no more appeals to the delirium of the senses than the Mona Lisa does; it speaks of the obscure mechanism of childbirth, of genetic aberration, of the imperious and primitive surge of life in the depths of the body and the entrails of the earth. Some critics admit to finding the contents of this work terrifying. Looking at it, one senses only too well the transcendence of science: one feels how the painter, in conceiving his picture, had studied the relentless growth of plants, whirlpools of water, and abdomens dissected by flickering candlelight: One grasps above all the fascination, unease, and irrational anguish aroused by the “hideous” idea of procreation and the “great mystery” of woman. … With its idolatrous and tormented naturalism, the painting outraged not so much virtue as Christian reason.”

“His figures are not smiling the smile of inner peace. They are smiling in order to bewitch. … Leonardo sets out to disturb and trouble the emotions. … His subject has ceased to be “a voice crying in the wilderness”. He has reached the ultimate limits of human knowledge; he smiles and points at the source of everything, which amazes him but which is unfathomable.”

~ “Leonardo. The artist and the man”, Serge Bramly.

June 19, 2016

“The Mona Lisa has been irreverently described as ‘the cat that’s eaten the canary: which expresses well enough the smile of one who has attained complete possession of what she loved, and is enjoying the process of absorption. […] Attributes of grace, the smile and the turning movement, become extremely sinister, because they are now indistinguishable from attributes of continuous energy; and these, being beyond human reason, are felt as hostile to human security. Yet just as Leonardo, in his intellectual pursuit of natural forces, hung on with a kind of inspired tenacity, so in the St. John we feel him pressing closer round the form, penetrating further and further into the mystery, till at last he seems to become a part of it, so that, like his contemporaries, we no longer think of him as a scientist, a seeker for measurable truths, but as a magician, a man who, from his close familiarity with the processes of nature, has learnt a disturbing secret of creation. […] It has a quality of inexaustible suggestion only possible in the work of a man to whom the subtlety of natural appearances was perfectly familiar.” ~ K. Clark

April 2, 2016

“When this impulse to the highest individual development was combined with a powerful and varied nature, which had mastered all the elements of the culture of the age, then arose the ‘all-sided man’ — l’uomo universale — who belonged to Italy alone. […] In Italy at the time of the Renaissance we find artists who in every branch created new and perfect works, and who also made the greatest impression as men. Others, outside the arts they practiced, were masters of a vast circle of spiritual interests. The fifteenth century is above all that of the many-sided men. There is no biography which does not, besides the chief work of its hero, speak of other pursuits all passing beyond the limits of dilettantism.”

~ “The civilization of the Renaissance in Italy”, Jacob Burckhardt.

March 21, 2016

“Il mondo è poco” ~ Christopher Columbus

Giovinezza – In una palude

March 13, 2016

Il vento freddo gli tagliava le mani, e faceva frusciare i lunghi steli gialli, stecchiti, dalla punta morbida come cotone. La palude era ormai un’impronta del passo del vento, l’aria trasportava i cattivi umori delle foglie imbrunite, avvizzite come mani di vecchi, le urla decomposte e sgomente di tronchi e legni e cortecce scavati, brulicati da insetti e da vermi, le emozioni rinsecchite, inzuppate, disabitate di tutti i microtubuli di ogni cellula, di tutti i cloroplasti funzionanti a singhiozzo come rottami di motori. Mise la mano nell’acqua gelida, viscosa e nera del lago, generando l’unico movimento, l’unica increspatura, l’unica geometria sonora, l’unica scultura in quella piattezza sconfinata, immobile, silenziosa anche d’uccelli. Poi toccò il muschio umido e vivo, verde e perenne, che sembrava in eterno equilibrio con se stesso, bilanciando eterna crescita ed eterna morte, e godette di quella morbida umidità. E guardò i tappeti di licheni verde chiaro, e di licheni viola, e gli arazzi di eriche oscure e timide che sembravano sussurrare l’una all’altra qualche inutile segreto, e la desolazione di tronchi recisi, frantumati dalla tempesta, di giganteschi alberi grigi abbattuti come enormi alci sul sentiero. “Eppure la connessione è qui da qualche parte”, pensò. Pensò che si poteva anche cominciare da lì, da un qualunque punto della palude, a cercare.