Archive for the 'Infinity' Category

The sea

August 31, 2019

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.

Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean,—roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin,—his control
Stops with the shore;—upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man’s ravage, save his own,
When, for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.

His steps are not upon thy paths,—thy fields
Are not a spoil for him,—thou dost arise
And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields
For earth’s destruction thou dost all despise,
Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
And send’st him, shivering in thy playful spray
And howling, to his gods, where haply lies
His petty hope in some near port or bay,
And dashest him again to earth:—there let him lay.

The armaments which thunderstrike the walls
Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake
And monarchs tremble in their capitals,
The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
Their clay creator the vain title take
Of lord of thee and arbiter of war,—
These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake,
They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar
Alike the Armada’s pride or spoils of Trafalgar.

Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee;
Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they?
Thy waters wasted them while they were free,
And many a tyrant since; their shores obey
The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay
Has dried up realms to deserts: not so thou;
Unchangeable save to thy wild waves’ play,
Time writes no wrinkles on thine azure brow;
Such as creation’s dawn beheld, thou rollest now.

Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty’s form
Glasses itself in tempests; in all time,
Calm or convulsed,—in breeze, or gale, or storm,
Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime
Dark-heaving; boundless, endless, and sublime,
The image of Eternity,—the throne
Of the Invisible! even from out thy slime
The monsters of the deep are made; each zone
Obeys thee; thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone.

And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy
Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
Borne, like thy bubbles, onward; from a boy
I wantoned with thy breakers,—they to me
Were a delight; and if the freshening sea
Made them a terror, ’t was a pleasing fear;
For I was as it were a child of thee,
And trusted to thy billows far and near,
And laid my hand upon thy mane,—as I do here.

~ Lord Byron

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Rolling up the scroll of heaven at the end of time

August 3, 2019

chora
Chora Church, Istanbul.

 

Jacob Böhme

May 20, 2018

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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

December 26, 2016
In Leonardo’s view, “art, science, everything, including literature and philosophy, proceeded exclusively from nature. ‘No one should imitate the manner of another, for he would then deserve to be called a grandson of nature, not her son. Given the abundance of natural forms, it is important to go straight to nature rather than to the masters who have learned from her’.”
“In his view, all branches of knowledge were connected and interdependent, and man was always at the center. “Man is the model of the world”, as he put it. […] He discussed botany with the vocabulary of an embryologist or gynecologist, while he tackled anatomy in the spirit of a geographer. […] Everything is in everything, he seems to be saying. […] He was passionately pursuing his interests in twenty or more subjects.”
The ‘fantasie dei vinci’ in the Sala delle Asse are “symbols of both the infinity and the unity of the world, they proclaim that there must be a rule governing everything.” … Everything was connected, like the long echoes in Baudelaire’s poem, “in a deep and dark unity”.
“From 1490 on, Leonardo sought to assimilate and rigorously classify (according to what he called “my mathematical principles”) the whole of human knowledge, by structuring it, correcting it if necessary, and enlarging it if possible.”

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

December 25, 2016

“She was here on earth to grasp the meaning of its wild enchantment and to call each thing by its right name, or, if this were not within her power, to give birth out of love for life to successors who would do it in her place.”
~ “Doctor Zhivago”, Pasternak.

December 25, 2016

“Nature was here something savage and awful, though beautiful. I looked with awe at the ground I trod on, to see what the Powers had made there, the form and fashion and material of their work. This was that Earth of which we have heard, made out of Chaos and Old Night. Here was no man’s garden, but the unhandselled globe. It was not lawn, nor pasture, nor mead, nor woodland, nor lea, nor arable, nor waste land. It was the fresh and natural surface of the planet Earth, as it was made forever and ever — to be the dwelling of man, we say — so Nature made it, and man may use it if he can. Man was not to be associated with it. It was Matter, vast, terrific — not his Mother Earth that we have heard of, not for him to tread on, or to be buried in — no, it were being too familiar even to let his bones lie there — the home, this, of Necessity and Fate. There was clearly felt the presence of a force not bound to be kind to man. It was a place of heathenism and superstitious rites — to be inhabited by men nearer of kin to the rocks and to wild animals than we. […] What is it to be admitted to a museum, to see a myriad of particular things, compared with being shown some star’s surface, some hard matter in its home! I stand in awe of my body, this matter to which I am bound has become so strange to me. I fear not spirits, ghosts, of which I am one — that my body might — but I fear bodies, I tremble to meet them. What is this Titan that has possession of me? Talk of mysteries! Think of our life in nature — daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it — rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! The solid earth! The actual world! The common sense! Contact! Contact! Who are we? Where are we?”
~ “Ktaadn”, Thoreau.

December 25, 2016

“Dark spruce forest frowned on either side the frozen waterway. The trees had been stripped by a recent wind of their white covering of frost, and they seemed to lean toward each other, black and ominous, in the fading light. A vast silence reigned over the land. The land itself was a desolation, lifeless, without movement, so lone and cold that the spirit of it was not even that of sadness. There was a hint in it of laughter, but of a laughter more terrible than any sadness —  a laughter that was mirthless as the smile of the sphinx, a laughter cold as the frost and partaking of the grimness of infallibility. It was the masterful and incommunicable wisdom of eternity laughing at the futility of life and the effort of life. It was the wild, the savage, frozen-hearted northland wild.”
~ “White fang”, Jack London.

June 19, 2016
“From the first he is obsessed by vital force and finds it expressed in plants and creatures; then, as his scientific researches develop he learns the vast power of natural forces and he pursues science as a means by which these forces can be harnessed for human advantage. The further he penetrates the more he becomes aware of man’s impotence; his studies of geology show that the earth has undergone cataclysmic upheavals of which ordinary earthquakes are but faint and distant echoes; his studies of embryology point to a central problem of creation apparently insoluble by science. The intellect is no longer supreme, and human beings cease to be the centre of nature; so they gradually fade from his imagination, or when they appear, as St. Anne or St. John, they are human no longer but symbols of force and mystery, messengers from a world which Leonardo da Vinci, the disciple of experience, has not explored though he has earned the right to proclaim its existence. La natura e’ piena d’infinite ragioni che non furono mai in esperienza.” ~ K. Clark

May 10, 2012

« O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space. »
~ “Hamlet”, II, 2.