Category Archives: commonplace_book

Going silent for a while

I’ve been finding it harder and harder lately to come up with things to write about here Continue reading


Commonplace book #28

There are books, that one has for twenty years without reading them, that one always keeps at hand, that one takes along from city to city, from country to country, carefully packed, even when there is very little room, and perhaps one leafs through them while removing them from a trunk; yet one carefully refrains from reading even a complete sentence. Then after twenty years, there comes a moment when suddenly, as though under a high compulsion, one cannot help taking in such a book from beginning to end, at one sitting: it is like a revelation. Now one knows why one made such a fuss about it. It had to be with one for a long time; it had to travel; it had to occupy space; it had to be a burden; and now it has reached the goal of its voyage, now it reveals itself, now it illuminates the twenty bygone years it mutely lived with one. It could not say so much if it had not been there mutely the whole time, and what idiot would dare to assert that the same things had always been in it. – Elias Canetti (thanks to Philip Carr-Gomm for sharing this!)

Commonplace book #27

The ancient Japanese considered anything which manifested awesome potency to be a kami. No distinction was made between kami that were “good” or “bad”, noble or mean, strong or weak. The early Japanese thought of myriad kami that were dispersed among natural objects and human beings. But, it is significant that the kami of manifest being were more fundamental than kami of concealed being, and that auspicious kami were more fundamental than the inauspicious. – Muraoka Tsunetsugu, as quoted in H. Byron Earhart, Shinto and New Japanese Religions

Commonplace book #24

Then out spake brave Horatius, the Captain at the gate;
“To every man upon this earth Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers and the temples of his Gods…”

– Thomas Macaulay, from Lays of Ancient Rome