Subterranean Quotes (displaying: 1 - 22 of 22 quotes )
The landscape of my days appears to be composed, like mountainous regions, of varied materials heaped up pell-mell. There I see my nature, itself composite, made up of equal parts of instinct and training. Here and there protrude the granite peaks of the inevitable, but all about is rubble from the landslips of chance. I strive to retrace my life to find in it some plan, following a vein of lead, or of gold, or the course of some subterranean stream, but such devices are only tricks of perspective in the memory." Memoirs of Hadrian
The happiness of man is: I will. The happiness of woman is: he wills. ‘Behold, just now the world became perfect!’—thus thinks every woman when she obeys out of entire love. And women must obey and find a depth for her surface. Surface is the disposition of woman: a mobile, stormy film over shallow water. Man’s disposition, however, is deep; his river roars in subterranean caves: woman feels his strength but does not comprehend it.
It never occurred to me that any of these pleasures were a reward for being a pretty good kid, any more than I needed to restructure my life just to avoid an eternity of being spit-roasted on a subterranean barbecue. If this sounds flip, smug, or disrespectful, it's not meant to be. Obviously, there is great wisdom, beauty, and relevance in millennia worth of collected theological teaching from around the world. The question I'm grappling with is: why didn't these big themes and major stick-and-carrot extremes resonate with me? I just never bought into the concept. Maybe I'm part of a small minority, but I don't think so.
Wholly absorbed into my own conduits to an inner nature or subterranean lake the depths or bounds of which I more and more explore and know more of, in that sense that other than that all else closes out and I tend further to fall into the Beloved Lake and I am blinder from spending time as insistently in and on this personal preserve from which what I do do emerges more well-known than other ways and other outside places which don’t give as much and distract me from keeping my attentions as clear Charles Olson, "Additions", March 1968—2
No one would take me just as I was, no one loved me; I shall love myself enough, I thought, to make up for this abandonment by everyone. Formerly, I had been quite satisfied with myself, but I had taken very little trouble to increase my self-knowledge; from now on, I would stand outside myself, watch over and observe myself; in my diary I had long conversations with myself. I was entering a world whose newness stunned me. I learned to distinguish between distress and melancholy, lack of emotion and serenity; I learned to recognize the hesitations of the heart, and its ecstasies, the splendor of great renunciations, and the subterranean murmurings of hope. I entered into exalted trances, as on those evenings when I used to gaze upon the sky full of moving clouds behind the distant blue of the hills; I was both the landscape and its beholder: I existed only through myself, and for mysel? My path was clearly marked: I had to perfect, enrich and express myself in a work of art that would help others to live.
... for it is the fate of a woman. Long to be patient and silent, to wait like a ghost that is speechless, Till some questioning voice dissolves the spell of its silence. Hence is the inner life of so many suffering women. Sunless and silent and deep, like subterranean rivers. Runnng through caverns of darkness...
This eternal accusation against Christianity I shall write upon all walls, wherever walls are to be found--I have letters that even the blind will be able to see. . . . I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, the one great instinct of revenge, for which no means are venomous enough, or secret, subterranean and small enough,--I call it the one immortal blemish upon the human race...
I was going to rise, do some typing and coffee drinking in the kitchen all day since at that time work, work was my dominant thought, not love- not the pain which impels me to write this even while I don't want to, the pain which won't be eased by writing of this but heightened, but which will be redeemed, and if only it were a dignified pain and could be placed somewhere other than this black gutter of shame and loss and noisemaking folly in the night... /The Subterraneans
Was it not part of the secret black art of truly grand politics of revenge, of a farseeing, subterranean, slowly advancing, and premeditated revenge, that Israel must itself deny the real instrument of its revenge before all the world as a mortal enemy and nail it to the cross, so that 'all the world,' namely all the opponents of Israel, could unhesitatingly swallow just this bait? And could spiritual subtlety imagine any more dangerous bait than this? Anything to equal the enticing, intoxicating, overwhelming, and undermining power of that symbol of the 'holy cross,' that ghastly paradox of a 'God on the cross,' that mystery of an unimaginable ultimate cruelty and self-crucifixion of God for the salvation of man?
And yet your shadow isn't following you anymore. At some point your shadow has quietly slipped away. You pretend you don't notice, but you have, you're missing your fucking shadow, though there are plenty of ways to explain it, the angle of the sun, the degree of oblivion induced by the sun beating down on hatless heads, the quantity of alcohol ingested, the movement of something like subterranean tanks of pain, the fear of more contingent things, a disease that begins to become apparent, wounded vanity, the desire just for once in your life to be on time. But the point is, your shadow is lost and you, momentarily, forget it.
To begin with, at home I spent most of my time reading. I wanted to stifle all that was continuously boiling up inside me through external impressions. Out of all external impressions, reading was the only one possible for me. Of course, reading helped a lot - it excited, delighted and tormented me. But at times it bored me to death. For all that I still wanted to be doing things and I would suddenly plunge into dark, subterranean, vile, not so much depravity as petty dissipation. My mean, trivial, lusts were keen and fiery as a result of my constant, morbid irritability. The surges were hysterical, always accompanied by tears and convulsion. Apart from reading I had nowhere to turn - I mean, there was nothing in my surroundings that I could respect then or to which I might have been attracted. Moreover, dreadful ennui was seething within me, a hysterical craving for contradictions and contrasts would make its presence felt [...].
They were learning that New York had another life, too? subterranean, like almost everything that was human in the city? a life of writers meeting in restaurants at lunchtime or in coffee houses after business hours to talk of work just started or magazines unpublished, and even to lay modest plans for the future. Modestly they were beginning to write poems worth the trouble of reading to their friends over coffee cups. Modestly they were rebelling once more.
Beneath the current of our existence and within it, there is another current flowing in the opposite direction. In this life we go from yesterday to tomorrow, but there we go from tomorrow to yesterday. The web of life is being woven and unraveled at the same time. And from time to time we get breaths and vapors and even mysterious murmurs from that other world, from that interior of our own world. The inner heart of history is a counter-history; it is a process which inverts the course of history. The subterranean river flows from the sea and back to its source.