Monday, April 16, 2012

The Agony of Flies - An Erasure

In honor of baseball season (hat tip Heiner Goebbels), a first salvo of excerpts from E. Canetti's notebooks. My intuition yesterday to look back at the notebooks was repaid by the discovery of what might be called C's "facetious poetics" (is that spelled incorrect or should it be a registered trademark?) which seem in line with his anti-Nietzschean batting stance.

He will never be a thinker: he doesn't repeat himself enough. (13)

The future is always wrong: we exert too much influence over it. (15)

He wishes for moments that burn as long as a match.

He is as smart as a newspaper: he knows everything and what he knows changes from day to day. (17)

He looks for happy adjectives, licks them clean, and pastes them together.

It is easy to be reasonable when you don't love anyone, including yourself. (19)

Witches became harmless the moment they no longer were subject to persecution. (23)

God must have misspoken when he created Man. (27)

What would eyes be without caution - without lids?

The time he gives away is too precious to be sold.

Philosophers should not be judged by whether they haPpen to be right just now.

He mostly keeps himself busy breaking other people of his own bad habits. (29)

Thinking becomes clearer as soon as one has learned the shapes of animals.

The separate arts should live in the most chaste cohabitation.

An artist who, on the most important day of his life and in the midst of people singing his praises, forgets his name. (33)

He is so smart he only sees what's happening behind his back. (37)

A pack of philosophers spells death for the poet.

The trick is to read just little enough. (43)

The people you know for too long strangle the characters you would like to invent.

Immortality, too, has its usurers. (51)

He is impressed by anything he is allowed to improve.

A poet is someone who invents characters in whom no one believes yet no one can forget. (55)

She is incapable of giving up anything: if you offer her your hand, you'll never get it back.

History knows everything better because it knows nothing at all. (57)

The future likes itself too much - but to no avail. (59)

He hanged himself on the categories of his favorite philosopher.

He does what he doesn't want for so long that he finally wants it: self-destruction. (61)

Forget about the real enemies, they're so boring: invent some of your own instead. (63)

A religion that forbids prayers.

Ants on strike. (69)

He is desperately seeking people about whom he knows nothing. (71)

Pain makes the poet, pain fully felt, in no way evaded, pain perceived, grasped, and sustained. (79)

...Nietzsche's attacks are like a gust of poisonous air, but one which cannot harm me: I inhale it with pride and exhale it with disdain, and I pity him for the immortality that awaits him. (79-81)

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