Unlike other living things, a human being not only lives, but knows that he is experiencing life. Hence he endeavors to escape from transitoriness; he seeks to incorporate himself into transitoriness in such a way as to share its permanence.
– Oskar Walzel
If only I could endure servitude,
I would never envy the forest
And would gladly adapt myself
To the life of society
– Friedrich Holderlin
Beyond our immediate perceptions, of ourselves and the world, there stretches an immense backdrop of obscurity. For the adventuresome and enterprising spirit, however, it is an obscurity that beckons with promise and possibility. As in the great Romantic paintings, the landscapes within as well as outside of us are full of half-hidden shapes and patterns, barely recognizable forms that suggest an interconnectedness of meaning beyond the surmise of ordinary consciousness.
– Gordon Birrell
And behind Poli talked to Pieretto. "There is a value in the life of the senses, in sin. Few men know the bounds of their own sensuality…they know only that it is an open sea. You need courage and you can free yourself only by touching the bottom of it…"
"But it has no bottom."
"It is something that continues beyond death," Poli said.
And so instead of starting from the shore like all the other beasts, these golden children find themselves in deep water when they don’t even know how to swim. And then they drink.
In the clear sky over the reeds, the white sickle of the moon gave a magic, emblematic quality to the day. Why is there a relationship between naked bodies, the moon and the earth?
– Cesare Pavese
The nervous system was the seat of a secondary, unconscious personality, which by its very essence was in intimate contact with all nature. Normally, this Dream Self was silent, submerged by the clatter of the conscious mind, but in sleep, in religious ecstasy, in drug states, and in insanity it sent its energy up to the cortex, where it could be perceived. If this energy were controlled by the higher spiritual faculties of man, the result could be a great aesthetic impulse, or prophecy; if it were uncontrolled, it could be the distorted mumblings of the clairvoyant, or the unhappy visions of the addict.
– E. F. Bleiler
He felt that an unknown something was awakening his inmost soul, and calling forth that rapturous pain, which is ever the mood of longing that announces a loftier existence to man. He delighted most when he could rove through meads and woods; and as if released from all that fettered him to his necessary life could, so to speak, again find himself in the manifold images which mounted from his soul.
Impelled by some power unknown to him he stepped onward, but at that moment everything around him began to move, and wonderful plants and flowers, of glittering metal, came shooting up out of the crystal mass he was standing on, and entwined their leaves and blossoms in the loveliest manner. The crystal floor was so transparent that Elis could distinctly see the roots of these plants. But soon, as his glance penetrated deeper and deeper, he saw, far, far, down in the depths, innumerable beautiful maidens, embracing each other with white, gleaming arms; and it was from their hearts that the roots, plants and flowers were growing.
But now, when he looked down again into the immobile faces of the majestic women, he felt his personality dissolve away into glowing molten stone.
It is more splendid than the most glorious blood-red carbuncle, and when, united in truest affection, we look into its streaming splendor together, we shall see and understand the peculiar manner in which our hearts and souls have grown together into the wonderful branch which shoots from the Queen’s heart, at the central point of the globe. All that is necessary is that I go and bring this stone to the surface, and that I will do now, as fast as I can.
– E. T. A. Hoffman