Sunday, August 20, 2006

Fernando Pessoa, Caeiro, The Book of Disquiet

"There is ample metaphysics in not thinking at all.

What do I think about the world?
How should I know what I think about the world?
If I were illI would think about it.

What idea I have about things?
What opinion do I have on causes and effects?
What meditations have I had upon God and the soul
And upon the creation of the World?
I don't know. For me, to think about that is to shut my eyes
And not think. It is to draw the curtains
Of my window (but it has no curtains)."
( F.Pessoa/Alberto Caeiro , transl. Jonathan Griffin )

Compare now, before I go on with the Book of Disquiet, the assumed 'simplicity' of the voice of Caeiro (very sophisticated in fact,not at all simple, he is here responding to another heteronym of his youth, Alexander Search - the name pointing already to the metaphysical questioning of man and the mistery of the universe ) - compare it to the writer in the BOOK:


" The burden of feeling! The burden of having to feel ! "

All the way long we will see Pessoa divided between feeling and thinking, wanting to feel his thoughts and to think his feelings, or both at the same time, in an unbearable consciousness of being conscious of both.


'To feel is a pain in the neck'. This offhand remark, spoken by a stranger I met in a restaurant, has been glowing ever since on the floor of my memory.The very earthiness of the language gives the sentence spice."


"I'd like to be in the country to be able to like being in the city.I like being in the city in any case, but I'd like it twice over if I were in the country."


...Who among us, looking back down the path of no return, can say he followed it in the right way ?


"Life is the hesitation between an exclamation and a question.Doubt is resolved by a period."

(translations by Richard Zenith )

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