n. the strange wistfulness of used bookstores, which are somehow infused with the passage of time—filled with thousands of old books you’ll never have time to read, each of which is itself locked in its own era, bound and dated and papered over like an old room the author abandoned years ago, a hidden annex littered with thoughts left just as they were on the day they were captured.
Gustave Moreau, n.d, The Fall of Phaethon
In Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’, Phaethon was the son of Clymene, who insisted that Phaethon’s father was Helios, the Greek sun God, and not her mortal king husband Merops. Helios reluctantly allowed Phaethon to ride on his sun chariot in order to prove his identity as Phaethon’s divine father. However, Phaethon soon lost control of the chariot and was unable to command the fire-breathing horses. Good old Zeus eventually stepped in to help by hurling one of his trademark lightning bolts at Phaethon and the turbulent chariot, thus killing Phaethon. Great job, Zeus.
Sometimes I remind myself that I almost skipped the party, that I almost went to a different college, that the whim of a minute could have changed everything and everyone. Our lives, so settled, so specific, are built on happenstance.
People say again and again that philosophy doesn’t really progress, that we are still occupied with the same philosophical problems as were the Greeks. But the people who say this don’t understand why this has to be so.
It is because our language has remained the same and keeps seducing us into asking questions. As long as there continues to be a verb ‘to be’ that looks as if it functions in the same way as ‘to eat’ and ‘to drink’, as long as we still have the adjectives ‘identical’, ‘false’, ‘possible’, as long as we continue to talk of a river of time, of an expanse of space, etc. etc., people will still keep stumbling over the same puzzling difficulties and find themselves staring at something which no explanation seems capable of clearing up.
And what’s more, this satisfies a longing for the transcendent, because in so far as people think they can see the “limits of human understanding,” they believe of course that they can see beyond these.
»eunoia« by christian bök
the word ‘eunoia,’ which literally means ‘beautiful thinking,’ is the shortest word in english that contains all five vowels. directly inspired by the oulipo (l’ouvroir de littérature potentielle), a french writers’ group interested in experimenting with different forms of literary constraint, eunoia is a five-chapter book in which each chapter is a univocal lipogram – the first chapter has a as its only vowel, the second chapter e, etc. each vowel takes on a distinct personality: the i is egotistical and romantic, the o jocular and obscene, the e elegiac and epic.
La diferencia entre un lado y otro es que
en uno se sorprenderían de que estuvieran robando un libro.
en el otro
que te estuvieras robando…