There is no beginning or end.


A multitude of familiar paths lead off from these words in every direction.


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

John 1:1-5, New Testament


A multitude of familiar paths lead off from these words in every direction.


 The trouble with things is that we believe

they are ideas made permanent—

bed to my bed, cheek to my cheek.

Notions lock us outside of that future

beyond imagining. Forget to be elated

and elation is already here.


Each fort-da

a re-enactment of an earlier loss,

a struggle for control that merely

deepens the wound. Then I understood

that everything was an end in itself.

The observer and the observed

but twin poles to a singular event.

No separation between the controller

and the controlled. Eyes saw the leaf

because of that light, but light and leaf

were possible because of the eyes.

 Cyril Wong, Satori Blues 


 A multitude of familiar paths lead off from these words in every direction.


 So, to finally answer your question, no, I never learned-to-live. In fact not at all! Learning to live should mean learning to die, learning to take into account, so as to accept, absolute mortality (that is, without salvation, resurrection, or redemption – neither for oneself nor the other). That’s been the old philosophical injunction since Plato: to philosophise is to learn how to die. I believe in this truth without being able to resign myself to it. And less and less so. I have never learned to accept it, to accept death, that is. We are all survivors who have been granted a temporary reprieve [en sursis] (and, from the geopolitical perspective of Specters of Marx, this is especially true, in a world that is more inegalitarian than ever, for the millions and millions of living beings – human or not – who are denied not only their basic ‘human rights’, which date back two centuries and are constantly being refined, but first of all the right to a life worthy of being lived). But I remain uneducable when it comes to any kind of wisdom about knowing-how-to-die or, if you prefer, knowing-how-to-live. I still have not learned or picked up anything on this subject. The time of the reprieve is rapidly running out. Not just because I am, along with others, the heir of so many things, some good, some quite terrible: but since most of the thinkers with whom I have been associated are now dead, I am referred to more and more often as a survivor – the last, the final representative of a ‘generation’, that is, roughly speaking, the sixties generation. Without being strictly speaking true, this provokes in me not only objections but feelings of a somewhat melancholic revolt. In addition, since certain health problems have become, as we were saying, so urgent, the question of survival [la survie], or of reprieve [le sursis], a question that has always haunted me, literally every instant of my life, in a concrete and unrelenting fashion, has come to have a different resonance today. I have always been interested in this theme of survival, the meaning of which is not to be added on to living and dying. It is originary: life is living on, life is survival [la vie est survie]. To survive in the usual sense of the term means to continue to live, but also to live after death. When it comes to translating such a notion, Benjamin emphasises the distinction between uberleben, on the one hand, surviving death, like a book that survives the death of its author, or a child the death of his or her parents, and on the other hand, fortlebenliving on, continuing to live.

Jacques Derrida, Learning to Live Finally


A multitude of familiar paths lead off from these words in every direction.


As if that blind rage had washed me clean, rid me of hope; for the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world. Finding it so much like myself—so like a brother, really—I felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again. For everything to be consummated, for me to feel less alone, I had only to wish that there be a large crowd of spectators the day of my execution and that they greet me with cries of hate.

Albert Camus, the Outsider


A multitude of familiar paths lead off from these words in every direction.


There is accumulation. There is responsibility. . .

Julian Barnes, the Sense of an Ending


A multitude of familiar paths lead off from these words in every direction.


 Just as our birth was the birth of all things for us, so our death will be the death of them all. That is why it is equally mad to weep because we shall not be alive a hundred years from now and to weep because we were not alive a hundred years ago. Death is the origin of another life. We wept like this and it cost us just as dear when we entered into this life, similarly stripping off our former veil as we did so. Nothing can be grievous which occurs but once; is it reasonable to fear for so long a time something which lasts so short a time? Living a long life or a short life are made all one by death: long and short do not apply to that which is no more.

Michel de Montaigne, to Philosophise is to Learn how to Die


A multitude of familiar paths lead off from these words in every direction.


 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Revelations 22:13-21, New Testament


A multitude of familiar paths lead off from these words in every direction.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s