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01 August 2002 @ 12:14 pm
 
"I don't know that I don't understand anything and still think I know everything.

Things just happen behind me and there is always a mysterious eye, so it is best for me just to pretend that I understand even if I don't.

While pretending to understand, I still don't understand.

The fact of the matter is I comprehend nothing, I understand nothing.

This is how it is" (506).


"Everyone wants to be my teacher, my leader, my judge, my good doctor, my adviser, my referee, my elder, my minister, my critic, my guide, my acknowledged leader. Whether I need it or not, people want to be my saviour, my hit man (that is to say my hit-my-hand man), my reborn parents [...], or else grandly represent my country for me when I myself don't know what is country or whether or not I have a country. Others invariably represent me. And my friends, those who argue for me, that is to say are willing to argue in my defence, have all been reduced to circumstances similar to my own. Such is my fate" (410).


"-- Can you verify if this painting is authentic?
--Surely that's not important? If you think it is then it is.
--What if I think it isn't?
--Then it isn't.
--In other words, you and I think we have seen his work.
--Then it is his work" (446).


"I'm not sleepy at all, my mind is crystal clear, I see the transparent night, the blue forest laden with snow. There is no starlight and no moonlight but all this can be seen clearly. It is a very strange night. I want to stay forever with you on this snowy night. Don't go away, don't abandon me. I want to cry. I don't know why. Don't abandon me, don't go so far from me, don't go kissing other women!" (489)


"I don't know if you have ever observed this strange thing, the self. Often the more you look the more it doesn't seem to be like it, and the more you look the more it isn't it. It's just like when one is lying on the grass and staring at a cloud -- at first it's like a camel, then a woman, and when you look again it becomes an old man with a long beard, but this doesn't last because clouds are transforming every instant" (150).


"So if I have to make a summary of myself, it terrifies me. I don't know which of the many faces represents me more and the more closely I look the clearer the transformations become, and finally only bewilderment remains.

You could wait, wait until the stain on the wall again turns into a human face, or you could hope, hope that it would one day turn out to have a particular form. But in my experience, it grows and grows but often not as you wish and moreover, mostly, contrary to what you wish. It is a monster child which you find impossible to accept, yet ultimately it was born of the self and has to be accepted" (150 - 151).


"When I am observing others I always treat the other person as a mirror for looking inwardly at myself. The observations are inevitably affected by my state of mind at a particular time [...]. The problem is the awakened self in the inner mind, this is the monster which torments me no end. People love the self yet mutilate the self. Arrogance, pride, complacency or anxiety, jealousy and hatred, all spring from this. The self is in fact the source of mankind's misery. So, does this unhappy conclusion mean that the awakened self should therefore be killed?" (151-152).

"Soul Mountain," Gao Xingjian.

The more I try it seems the less likely that I will be able to replicate the mood or the quality of yesterday's dead post. In any case, I still heartily recommend Soul Mountain. It is not an easy read by any means, and some folks may find it too disjointed to handle ... but it is one of the few works that I've recently read which have caused me to look not only at what is happening in the book, but at myself, how I do things, and the world around me. It has immeasurably impacted my writing style without having tried. There is a reason Soul Mountain won the Nobel Prize ... and I believe I shall have to read it many more times again before I begin to grasp its scope. I believe Xingjian has succeeded in creating a work which is outside our accepted definitions of the structure of literature. It is an interesting piece with a different beat to it, and ... well, dude. Just read it, I can't describe it.
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