Friday, 2 December 2016

found and lost in an instant

It happened one day, at a crossroads, in the middle of a crowd, people coming and going.
I stopped, blinked: suddenly I understood nothing. Nothing, nothing about anything: I did not understand the reasons for things or for people, it was all senseless, absurd. I laughed.
What I found strange at the time was that I had never realized before; that up until then I had accepted everything: traffic lights, cars, posters, uniforms, monuments, things completely detached from any sense of the world, accepted them as if there were some necessity, some chain of cause and effect that bound them together.

Then my laugh died. I blushed, ashamed. I waved to get people’s attention. “Stop a moment!” I shouted, “there is something wrong! Everything is wrong! We are doing the absurdest things. This cannot be the right way. Where can it end?”
People stopped around me, sized me up, curious. I stood there in the middle of them, waving my arms, desperate to explain myself, to have them share the flash of insight that had suddenly enlightened me: and I said nothing. I said nothing because the moment I had raised my arms and opened my mouth, my great revelation had been as it were swallowed up again and the words had come out any old how, on impulse.

“So?” people asked, “what do you mean? Everything is in its place. All is as it should be. Everything is a result of something else. Everything fits in with everything else. We cannot see anything wrong or absurd.” I stood there, lost, because as I saw it now everything had fallen into place again and everything seemed normal, traffic lights, monuments, uniforms, tower blocks, tramlines, beggars, processions; yet this did not calm me, it tormented me.
“I am sorry,” I said. “Perhaps it was I who was wrong. It seemed that way then. But everything is fine now. I am sorry.” And I made off amid their angry glares.

Yet, even now, every time (and it is often) that I find I do not understand something, then, instinctively, I am filled with the hope that perhaps this will be my moment again, perhaps once again I shall understand nothing, I shall grasp the other knowledge, found and lost in an instant.

(The Flash - Italo Calvino)


  1. i know that feeling only too well.

    1. yes. i think we all here know it, the few who come to this blog :-)

  2. Imi place asa de mult aceasta postare! Si imaginile, si citatul, tot:) Poate ca ar trebui sa fiu discreta, ca M, si sa spun o fraza scurta, simpla, in care macar sa incerc sa concentrez multele ganduri - cu atat mai mult cu cat acest blog te indeamna chiar acest lucru, dicretie si cuvinte atent alese, minimaliste, mai degraba, in forma, puternice in continut; dar probabil ca ar suna artificial din partea mea, si nu as parea eu:)
    Ce vreau sa spun este ca m-a oprit in loc, de-a dreptul, de multe ori aceasta senzatie - de multe ori tind sa spun la fel de puternica, alteori mai putin intensa, alta data amestecata si cu altceva. De cele mai multe ori, imi dadeam seama ca este ceva preponderent mental, insa acest mental se agata de ceva ca un carlig de ceata, care il lasa liber sa fantazeze, dar il tinea acolo, sigur, ca ceva pe care suntem inclinati sa il numim adevar interior. De multe ori, predomina absurdul, de multe alte ori absurdul erau zimtii - totul mi se parea, o clipa, complet Strain mine, ca si cand niciodata nu as fi participat la inspiratia oxigenului, a traversarii strazilor, a exprimarii prin cuvinte, ca si cand niciodata nu as fi fost, de pilda, unul dintre oamenii care isi imbraca trupul, isi spala parul...mai mult decat atat, ma trezeam gandind la aceste obiceiuri din perspectiva unui martian - ca, adica, de ce parul tinem atat de mult sa ne fie matasos, hainele - calcate? Totul devenea de neinteles, absurd, da, si apoi continuam sa ma intreb, dincolo de orice rezonabilitate, de ce am facut toate astea, de ce siruri de autobuze, de oameni, totul parea intesat si intretesut, fara nicio logica...
    Ma "ajuta" la ridicarea din ceea ce numim neant anumite momente climatice, oricum ar suna asta - o ploaie rasarita din senin, un vant la fel de brusc, o noapte prematura, cerul de primavara - dar stiu ca marile clipe nu se nasc , de fapt, din nimic inconjurator, ci, tocmai, imprastie orice data din afara noastra. Sunt acele "clipe staruri" despre care citeam undeva acum putina vreme...

    1. ce e cumplit la aceste clipe e ca amesteca absurdul cu uimirea cea mai profunda, din care uneori se poate naste extazul - daca am putea reda acest clipe oh - in cuvinte, vreau sa zic :-)

  3. Someone was telling me to read Calvino. It happened the other day, you remember, during that eclipse of the moon, when people reversed their habits--if they wore a hat, then they didn't; if they had tea, now they had bourbon. It's all so strange. I can hardly bear it.

    Are those your photographs? The second one is for me pure ecstasy.

    And finally, you need to post more often (some people miss you--not me, of course, but some people).

    1. this is so sweet of you... i will try to post more often, since some people miss me, as it seems :-)