Saturday, April 28, 2012

More Elias Canetti Excerpts - from Notes From Hampstead

Second meetings always ruin first impressions; should there be only first
meetings? (4)

He studies and studies and can forget nothing: a dunce of dunces. (5)

His mistrust of success has become so great that he wants only to want it, not to have it. (7)

For me power is still evil absolute. (9)

It all depends on this: with whom we confuse ourselves. (13)

My cowardliness starts when I turn my eyes away. That is why I read till my eyes are sore, listen till my ears ring. (14)

A sucker for cemeteries -- anywhere else he's afraid. (16)

What I find most repulsive about people are their plans. (16)

There is something sickening about all advocacy: only pure admiration is real. (17)

He loves her; he can't be as careful with anybody else. (21)

Why are you always explaining everything? about life on the surface?

He collects his writers like butterflies, and under his care they turn into one great caterpillar.

The man who is so good he forgot his name.

Stories of people who do everything to stop being themselves. They transform themselves into their enemies. (22)

The conceptual holds so little interest for me that ... I have never read either Aristotle or Hegel. It is not just that I don't care for them, I distrust them. I cannot accept that the world was conceivable for them before it was really known.

I want to get out of the skin of my work, that I have carried my thoughts within me for too long and now they have become my bones. (28)

You need an army of termites that will undermine all your ties and habits from within. (32)

A man who is known by all, but knows no one.... People collect around him, but run off like water.  

Animals approach him as if they were humans; it appears they get to know him. (42)

Each individual perception is precious so long as it remains autonomous. But it dissolves into nothingness when absorbed into the gut of a system. (45)

Don't tell me who you are. I want to worship you. (46)

For months he didn't talk even to himself.  Now words shoot out of him like knives. (50)

Learn to listen to people without lecturing them, especially those who have nothing to teach me. (51)

Whoever touches power will, unawares, be contaminated by it. He cannot forget it unless he can forget himself. (52)

The hand that forms a single letter is mightier than the hand that kills... (56)

His sentences rub against and so erase each other. This drives him to despair.  So he makes of every sentence its own cage. (59)

Your original sin: you opened your mouth. As long as you listen, you are innocent.

I am sick of longing for places I already have an image of. I am sick of being astonished by words because they are inscrutably splendid. I want to seek something that I, and only I, will find....  I went home and found a fez. Whose had it been?  I put it on and went for a walk. Now everyone knew me. Soon I was a celebrity....  (60)

The true stories that we tell are false; with false stories at least there is the chance that they might come true. (66)

All our lives we circle around the same ideas, as if they were so many suns. So why should we not at least hope for comets?

The progress of friends who include us in their progress: nothing makes us feel lonelier and more alien. (RM: this is Canetti’s new ad slogan for Facebook: "Include friends in your progress")

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