Tag Archives: philosophy

Not a Piano Key to be Played, but a Human

For the whole work of man really seems to consist in nothing but proving to himself every minute that he is a man and not a piano-key to be played!  And this being so, can one help being tempted to rejoice that it has not yet come off, and that desire still depends on something we don’t know?

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground

An 1864 Russian novel I read and discussed in a book club in nearby Ann Arbor yesterday.  The Underground Man asserts a person’s right to be human, with all the “unreasonable” emotions that involves, in the face of reformers’ efforts to conform human behavior to their idea of rationality and “the good.”  Also, a revolution in the novel, with the first anti-hero and the emergence of the unreliable narrator.  Really quite an amazing achievement in the art of writing.  I’m still marveling and will be re-reading after picking up many great insights from the book club members’ discussion.

Warren Dunes state park

Warren Dunes, Michigan

We Live in the Flicker

“Yes; but it is like a running blaze on a plain, like a flash of lightning in the clouds.
We live in the flicker–“

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Memories of treasured, but distant experiences led me to this quote.  Funny how a melody, or a passage of writing, can ignite  feelings from the past when it seemed they were merely dull embers.   I love Conrad’s  writing–and English was not his first language.  So envious!

Tacquahmenon Park, Michigan

Tacquahmenon Park, Michigan