Sunday, July 22, 2012
Pacific at Classon, and Thoreau
Besides cars, there are a lot of walls in Brooklyn; some are falling down like these. 9x12 charcoal drawing.
Lately, I have been reading Walden. Here's what Thoreau says at the end of the chapter "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For":
"I perceive that we inhabitants of New England live this mean life that we do because our vision does not penetrate the surface of things. We think that that is which appears to be. If a man should walk through this town and see only the reality...If he should give us an account of the realities he beheld there, we should not recognize the place of his description. Look at a meeting-house, or a court-house, or a jail, or a shop, or a dwelling-house, and say what that thing really is before a true gaze, and they would all go to pieces in your account of them."
Sounds like a proto-cubist vision!
He goes on to write:
"Men esteem truth remote, in the outskirts of the system, behind the furthest star, before Adam and after the last man. In eternity there is indeed something true and sublime. But all these times and places and occasions are now and here. God himself culminates in the present moment, and will never be more divine in the lapse of all the ages. And we are enabled to apprehend at all what is sublime and noble only by the perpetual instilling and drenching of the reality which surrounds us."
The next three lines are more difficult, at least for me:
"The universe constantly and obediently answers to our conceptions; whether we travel fast or slow, the track is laid for us. Let us spend our lives in conceiving then. The poet or artist never yet had so fair and noble a design but some of his posterity at least could accomplish it."