On this year's SA4QE day, the question which directed my choice of quotations and locations was how to turn the lead of our everyday life into gold and to give new juice to a world getting drier all the time. My personal answer is pretty obvious of course: read Russell Hoban and 4qate. But since the word needs to be spread to become generally useful, I started by hanging up a quotation from The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz at a tram stop called "Löwenplatz", a square so mundane, busy and evidently lionless that it cried out for a magical infusion.
For him there were no maps, no places, no time. Beneath his tread the round earth rolled, the wheel turned, bearing him to death and life again. Through his lion-being drifted stars and blackness, morning sang, night soothed, dawn burst its daylight from the womb of vital terror. Oceans heaved, frail bridges spanned the winding track of days, the rising air sang lion-flight in wings of birds. In clocks ticked lion-time. It pulsed in heartbeats, footsteps walking all unknowing, souls of guilt and sorrow, souls of love and pain. He had been called, he had come. He was.
(The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz, 1973)
My second quotation was from Fremder. I hung it up at "Stauffacher", a place where the church of St. Jakob is being renovated at the moment and services are therefore held in a hut in front of the church. I couldn't help responding to the symbolism of the situation. The hut in front of the church stands for spirituality displaced to a cheap makeshift home, waiting to be restored to its rightful place. But this can only happen if we stop being as we are now.
Can electrical impulses from the brain precipitate possibility? Leibniz says the world is as it is because God is as He is. But what if God is as He is because we are as we are? Then the world is as it is because we are as we are.
The third quotation, from Amaryllis Night and Day, went to a square with the fairy-tale name "Goldbrunnenplatz" (i.e. Gold Well Square), which doesn't even offer any ordinary frogs for princesses to kiss. Quite a hopless case as far as appearances go, but you never know, the quote might nevertheless raise someone's curiosity.
People do it to each other all the time. The frog said he'd turn into a handsome prince if the princess kissed him but the princess said she'd rather have a talking frog.
(Amaryllis Night and Day, 2001)
Number four, finally, was hung up at my second workplace, Kantonsschule Riesbach, where the students are allowed to decorate their lockers, which is something they obviously enjoy very much. A sign of hope at last? I'd say yes, for creative students are definitely not on the way to becoming monsters.
Goya wrote -- I think it was on the title-page of Los Caprichos -- 'The dream of Reason produces monsters'. I don't think that's how it is. I think it's when reason is not allowed to dream that it acts out its dreams while awake, and then it is that monsters are produced, in Goya's time and in ours.
(Introduction to the 1977 Picador Edition of Household Tales by the Brothers Grimm, reprinted in The Moment Under the Moment, 1992)
Four quotes for the fourth of February two thousand and four. It was a Hermetic day indeed.
Happy birthday Russ, and good wishes to you all.