In order to understand, it is immensely important for the person who understands to be located outside the object of his or her creative understanding—in time, in space, in culture. For one cannot even really see one’s own exterior and comprehend it as a whole, and no mirrors or photographs can help; our real exterior can be seen and understood only by other people, because they are located outside us in space, and because they are others.

Mikhail Bakhtin, Speech Genres and Other Late Essays (via heteroglossia)



n. the awareness of the smallness of your perspective, by which you couldn’t possibly draw any meaningful conclusions at all, about the world or the past or the complexities of culture, because although your life is an epic and unrepeatable anecdote, it still only has a sample size of one, and may end up being the control for a much wilder experiment happening in the next room.

Where you are tender, you speak your plural.

Roland Barthes, from “Tenderness” in A Lover’s Discourse

Invisible things, rooted in cold,
and growing toward this light
that vanishes
into each thing
it illumines. Nothing ends. The hour
returns to the beginning
of the hour in which we breathed: as if
there were nothing. As if I could see
that is not what it is.

At the limit of summer
and its warmth: blue sky, purple hill.
The distance that survives.
A house, built of air, and the flux
of the air in the air.

Like these stones
that crumble back into earth.
Like the sound of my voice
in your mouth.

Paul Auster, “Autobiography of the Eye,” Disappearances: Selected Poems (via heteroglossia)

She really looked at things. Her eyes shimmered as if she were making every object more resplendent. Her eyes were open. She looked at the great…space that swept around her. She surveyed its contours. The gift? She knew the language of lines, of waves, of angles. Light and shadow. It was all there.

Anne Delbée, on Camille Claudel (via mitochondria)

There is geometry in the humming of the strings. There is music in the spacing of the spheres.

Pythagoras, as quoted in The Mystery of Matter‎ (1965) ed. Louise B. Young