Empty Days

Wednesday, May 18, 2005



Some snippets of Rozanov-in-english.

From that blog:
The pain of life is much more powerful than the interest of life. That is why religion will always conquer philosophy.

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Always dreaming and always about one idea: how to avoid work. (About Russians)

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All literature is babbling... Or nearly all.
Exceptions are killingly few.

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I should like a few people to remember me, but by no means may they praise me, and only on condition that when they remember me, they also remember those close to me. Unless they, their goodness and their honor, are remembered, I do not want to be remembered.

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Where does this feeling come from? From the sense of guilt, but also from the deep and true knowledge that I have not been a good man. God gave me talent, but that is something else. The more terrible question is - was I a good man? - and the answer is No.

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Two angels sit on my shoulders: the angel of laughter and the angel of tears. Their eternal quarrel is my life.

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Then a longer bit from that same source (though perhaps it is easier to just go and read through the blog, but I want to keep it on file here too):
Remove prayer from the very substance of the world— remove it so that my tongue, my mind shall unlearn the words of prayer, the work of prayer, its essential nature; so that I shall not be able to pray and people will be unable to pray—then with protruding eyes and a terrible scream I will run out of my house, running, running, running, till I fall down. Without prayer it is utterly impossible to live… Without prayer all is madness and horror.

You can understand all this when you are weeping… But how do you explain this to someone who does not weep, who has not wept? He can never understand it. And surely there are many people who never weep.

A husband does not love his wife; a father does not love his children; his wife is unfaithful to him, and he “shrugs his shoulders”; his son is expelled from school. So he blames the school and sends the boy to another school. Tell me, what can religion say to such a “positivist”? He will shrug his shoulders and smile.

“Yes, but he is not everybody.”

Positivism is true, necessary, and even eternal, but only for a certain group of people. Positivism is necessary for the “positivists”; the essential thing is not in positivism, but in the positivist. In this case, as in everything else, man comes before theory.

Yes…

A religious man comes before all religion, and the “positive” man was born long before Auguste Comte.
More here:
I am happy when I am alone and also with people. I am neither solitary nor sociable. When I am by myself I am complete, and when I am with others, I am incomplete. I am, after all, happier when I am alone.

Alone I am happier because I am alone with God.

I could surrender my talents, literature, the future of my “I,” fame, popularity—I could do all this rather too readily; but happiness, well-being… I wonder. But I could never give up God. To me God is “the warmest.” With God I am warmest. With God I am never bored or cold.

After all, God is my life.

I only live for Him, through Him. Apart from God I am nothing.

What is God to me? Am I afraid of Him? Not at all. Will He punish me? No. Will He grant me a future life? No. Does He feed me? No. Do I exist through Him, and was I created by Him? No.

Then what is He to me?

My perpetual sadness and joy. A special mood related to nothing.

Is not God then “my mood”?

I love the being who makes me grieve and rejoice, who speaks to me, reproves me, comforts me.

My God is special to me. He is mine and no one else’s. If he is also “someone else’s” I do not know it and am not interested in knowing.

“My God” is infinite intimacy, infinite individuality. This intimacy resembles a little funnel, or even two funnels. From my “social I” goes out a funnel, narrowing down to a point. Through that point only one ray passes: from God. Beyond that point exists another funnel, which does not narrow down but widens to infinity: this is God. Here is God. Thus God is
1) my intimacy, and also
2) infinity, of which the universe itself is but a part.
Rozanov is very blog-like. And very modern by the sole virtue of that form: publicly talking to oneself for lack of better company :-/





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