Friday, February 1, 2019

seeing "the deep world"

Leonid Afremov

There is a portion of reality which is offered to us without our making any special effort beyond opening our eyes and ears, and this we call the world of pure impressions.  But there is another world built of structures of impressions, which, though hidden, is none the less real.  If this other world is to exist for us, we need to open something more than our physical eyes, and to undertake a greater kind of effort.  But the measure of our effort neither confers any reality on that world, nor takes it away.  The deep world is as clear as the surface one, only it asks more of us.

~ Jose Ortega y Gasset
from Meditations of Quixote, 1914
adapted from a translation by J.W. Jeaffreson


These Things whose essential life you want to express first ask you, "Are you free? Are you prepared to devote all your love to me...?"  And if the Thing sees that you are otherwise occupied with even a particle of your interest, it shuts itself off; it may perhaps give you some slight sign of friendship, a word or a nod, but it will never give you its heart, entrust you with its patient being, its sweet sidereal constancy, which makes it so like the constellations in the sky.  In order for a Thing to speak to you, you must regard it for a certain time as the only one that exists, as the one and only phenomenon which, through your laborious and exclusive love, is now placed at the center of the universe, and which, in that incomparable place, is on that day attended by angels.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke
from a letter sent to Baladine Klossowska
translation by Stephen Mitchell

both excerpts found in the essay Poetry and the Mind of Indirection
by Jane Hirshfield


jacquin said...

I have a couple of Leonid Afremov's paintings at home. Others may be interested to know that he paints reproductions of his own works to order, for quite reasonable prices (shipped unframed)