Friday, 28 October 2011
From the master of paradoxes - true as always...
A Nubian gospel discovered by Boissiere tells of a young philosopher to whom a Semitic dancer sends, as homage, the head of an apostle. The young man bows and says, smiling, "What I really want, beloved, is your head." She quails and goes off. The afternoon of the same day a slave presents the philosopher with his darling's head on a gold platter. And the philosopher asks, "Why are they bringing this bloody thing to me?" and goes on reading Plato.
Our most fiery moments of extasy are merely shadows of what somewhere else we have felt, or what we long some day to feel. So at least it seems to me. And, strangely enough, what comes of all this is a curious mixture of ardour and of indifference. I myself would sacrifice everything for a new experience, and I know there is no such thing as a new experience at all. I think I would more readily die for what I do not believe in than for what I hold to be true... Only one thing remains infinitely fascinating to me, the mystery of moods. To be master of these moods is exquisite, to be mastered by them more exquisite still. Sometimes I think that the artisctic life is a long and lovely suicide, and am not sorry that it is so. (Oscar Wilde, in a letter, 1886)