The gift

Gifts are something
we give to our friends,
loved ones, collegues

But why be
partial
to humans?

“This moment
is different”
but you are so
the same

Give a gift
to the moment:
notice it

The Now is All
the only, truly real
non-thing

Give yourself to IT
as a gift

Give your best (yourself)
to all there is (the moment)

Be the Giver,
the Gift,
and eventually
This Moment.

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Var god dröj

Ställtid,
(ett begrepp
vi lärde oss av
Bodil Jönsson)
handlar om att
ställa i ordning

(Eller om det var
ställa till det?)

Man kan också
tala om den
livgivande konstpausen

Innan du fattar glaset
Tömmer glaset
Tar steget
Går genom svängdörren
Uttalar svärordet
Trycker ner pianotangenten
Lyfter baken från stolen

Dröj

Innan du trycker på Send
trycker ner avtryckaren
går och tatuerar benen
tittar på det inkommande SMS-et
börjar fundera ut ditt dräpande motargument

Eller
gör något av de hundra
eller tusen saker
du brukar göra
varje dag
varje timme
varje minut

Dröj

Skjut in en sekund
mellan impuls och handling
en bromsande krockkudde
en decelererande stötdämpare

Ta ett litet
steg bakåt i tiden
för att få en glimt av den

Det är möjligen inte sanningen
utan mellanrummet
som skall göra eder fria

Det är möjligen samma sak.

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Cause and effect

“The key to everything is the attention to the intention.”

Never mind the know-how or the know-what. Know-why is the shit.

The WHY is the cause and all that matters.

The effect is weak, as Epictetus would say. No control over it. Still, that is what we try to control: “I want this action to result in… this and that.” While totally forgetting and neglecting the cause. Upside down world.

To turn from effect to cause, truly a revolution.

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The masterpiece

Even though I feel alienated from the literati (who themselves are alienated from so many things) I do keep a book of Cyril Connoly by my bed. This evening I was reminded about something he said about masterpieces. I found the quote:

“The true function of a writer is to produce a masterpiece, no other task is of any consequence.”

Why was I reminded? Because I logged into Facebook for five minutes, of course. If a masterpiece is cruiser then “social media” is a bunch of torpedoes, or let’s says prayers:

“Pray dear Sir, do NOT do, or create, anything great, memorable or astonishing. But do tell us how you feel, and have you seen our new collection of cool emoticons…?”

This is like Eden with snakes hanging from the trees and one single apple. If it was different to withstand temptation back then, how is it now?

The answer, the solution is radical. One must be radical, not “social”, at least not how Facebook would define the word. No, radical as Jesus, Huysmans or Papini were. Not giving a shit about fashion, trends and search engine optimization.

Connoly puts it well and has to much to say to authors. Here is a bittersweet bouquet:

“A writer is in danger of allowing his talent to dull who lets more than a year go past without finding himself in his rightful place of composition, the small single unluxurious retreat of the twentieth century, the hotel bedroom.”

In this true life of Cyril Connoly keeps me company tonight, as I perhaps will keep somebody company a hundred years hence.

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”

“Art is made by the alone for the alone.”

“Slums may well be breeding-grounds of crime, but middle-class suburbs are incubators of apathy and delirium.”

“The artist secretes nostalgia around life.”

Yes, this is one of those nights. But let’s close with a wistfully romantic thought, before I go back to writing a masterpiece.

“There are only three things which make life worth living: to be writing a tolerably good book, to be in a dinner party of six, and to be traveling south with someone whom your conscience permits you to love.”

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Det bästa gömstället

Om jag säger det i TV-soffan
blir det folkstorm

Om jag säger det på gatan
blir jag nerslagen

Om jag säger det i en
kulturartikel får jag
aldrig mer skriva i tidningen

Om jag säger det
på bussen får jag inte
ladda på mitt kort

Om jag säger det i en essä
blir jag analyserad sönder och samman
av feministerna, fan och hans mormor
samt Theodor Adorno

Om jag säger det hemma
får jag äta vidbränd mat

Om jag säger det i en roman
får jag inte signera böcker på
Bokpalatset

Alltså — jag säger det i en dikt

[ur “Det bästa gömstället, prozak och peosi”, 2003]

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Tagg

Tänk om
vi kunde acceptera
varandras “jobbiga” sidor
lika naturligt som vi
accepterar rosens
tagg

Rosen gör det
lätt för oss
med sin rundning
och sin sköna doft

Människan är svårare
ibland rena taggtråden

Däri ligger möjligen
jobbet:

Att se bortom
att klättra över stängslet
till den sköna,
gömda doften.

The-spirit-of-Christmas (Medium)
Jag är inte min tagg

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Thoughtbook (ordspråksundervisning)

This is a rough suggestion for my Thoughtbook. The material is mixed, some sentences are in English, some in Swedish, as they are recorded in my mind. Some in both languages.

I spend a reasonable, not unreasonable, time to get every quote right. My life, if not yours, is too short for being a “quote nazi”. (But in the final book, if it materializes, I will check them all, I think.)

Since this page is constantly growing, please revisit. Note: New entries always at the top.

Tractatus Huliganus

ornament5bEven the young man who believes in nothing needs a girl who believes in HIM.
ornament5bWe are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see
more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of
any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but
because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size.

ornament5bHandeln… vilken upphöjd tanke hos det antika samhället att vilja förbjuda sin adel att syssla med den!

ornament5bLife is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

ornament5bThe superior man knows what is right. The inferior man knows what sells.

ornament5bHjälte blir man på en sekund, hederlig (god) människa får man vara hela livet.

ornament5bI öknen vitna benen av de som, när de fick sitt livsmål i sikte, satte sig ner för att skriva en bok därom.

ornament5bThere but for the grace of God go I.

ornament5bSome people, were born to sit by a river. Some get struck by lightning. Some have an ear for music. Some are artists. Some swim. Some know buttons. Some know Shakespeare. Some are mothers. And some people, dance.

ornament5b We’re meant to lose the people we love. How else would we know how important they are to us?

ornament5bThe detective didn’t carry a gun since it gave him a sense of security that was not earned.
ornament5bDet räcker om riddarna applåderar.

ornament5b

Det är stort att tänka rätt men större att tänka fritt.

ornament5b

If you want to chain to hold
Bite on it, hard and bold.

ornament5bAlla tycker om lukten av sin egen fis. / Eveybody likes the smell of their own fart.

ornament5bMemory is the cause of more sins than Forgetfulness.

ornament5bIt would be a greater charity to starve the rich than to feed the poor.

ornament5bMan kan inte göra omelett utan att krossa ägg.

ornament5bIn this theatre of man’s life it is given only to God and the Angels to be lookers-on.

ornament5bMany a man has come to the top of the ladder to discover that it was raised against the wrong wall.

ornament5bIf something is worth doing it is worth doing well.

ornament5bIf something is worth doing it is worth doing badly.

ornament5b If the shoe fits you are not allowing for growth.

ornament5bDet är inte hur man har det utan hur man tar det.

ornament5bI pissed on a man who called me a dog. Why was he so surprised?

ornament5bMemory is the cause of more sins than Forgetfulness.

ornament5bIt is far easier to respect one’s superiors than to find them.

ornament5bMemory is the cause of more sins than Forgetfulness.

ornament5b I feel so much better, now that I have given up hope.

ornament5bLev så att du kan leva efter döden.

ornament5bOm du vill att dina drömmar ska bli sanna, vakna!

ornament5bÄven den skönaste världsordning är att förlikna vid en på måfå hopskyfflad avskrädeshög.

ornament5bJag slängde bort min kopp när jag såg en pojke dricka ur handen.

ornament5bDe små tjuvarna hänger man, för de stora lyfter man på hatten.

ornament5bDär alla tänker lika är det ingen som tänker särskilt mycket.

ornament5bLust är att göra det man har lust med. Vilja att göra det man inte vill.

ornament5bKnowledge is addition, wisdom subtraction.

ornament5b

De stenade honom med ett minnesmärke.

ornament5bThe modesty of woman — she hides her beauty by trying to show it.

ornament5bA little Knowledge is a dangerous thing, but much is absolutely fatal.

ornament5bFint folk kommer sent, de finaste kommer inte alls.

ornament5bTruth cannot be told so as to be understood and not be believed.

ornament5bIf you consume attention, add value.

ornament5bTystnaden är fullkomningen av alla spruckna toner.

ornament5bIt is absurd to bring back a runaway slave. If a slave can survive without a master, is it not awful to admit that the master cannot live without a slave?



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My scandalous school contribution

Let’s suppose that I am in a position to make a decision about the education of youngsters. I know exactly what I would do. I would give them a special book to read when the inclination came over them.

This book might be grey and boring on the outside, but contain gems within. Or rather, seeds.

It could have an everyday ordinary name, like Thoughts, and that would be exactly what it contained. Or maybe Thoughtbook. That sounds a bit like Facebook, which of course is obligatory for every self-respecting (read self-doubting) teenager.

But doesn’t every school book contain thoughts? No. And if they do it is often a case of predigested, pre-chewed thoughts. My book would have none of that.

I hope you curiosity is growing like dough now. What then WOULD it contain?

As Pee Wee Herman would reply: Well, thoughts of course!

But short thoughts, or rather compressed thoughts. There are things that in a compressed state take almost no place at all but when you unfold or unfurl them they become surprisingly big. That would be the case with my thoughts as well.

They would be maybe one or two sentences long, no more. But they would be in a sense inflatable.

ornament5bThe reason for all this is my own life. The milestones in my life have not been teachers or mentors, but sentences.

Sentences made me do it — sometimes in a very direct concrete way. When I for example in 1993 did a futurist-inspired happening-protest on board a high speed train (Operation Tortoise) then that act was inspired and catapulted by a sentence from Francis Bacon.

“In this theater of man’s life, it is given only to God and the angels to be lookers-on.”

Had I now read that sentence, I might never had done what I did.

But enough of me. I do not think I am that different from others; I think that we can all be inspired, guided, even made wiser by – not books per se, not information, facts of Googling, but PROVERBS.

Yes, I really mean that. Proverbs, maxims, aphorisms. These are the short, inflatable, atomic thoughts that I would cram into my schoolbook.

But how would it be different from any book of quotations, you ask.

I don’t know. By me making the selection, I suppose. And doing the selection not with variety or entertainment value in mind, but only focusing on the potential for nourishing the young mind, heart and soul.

The school teachers might possibly look askance on my book, because it would contain some scandalous things. No, nothing sexual, that’s not scandalous any more, not since the Internet removed any blushing reflexes or innocence from children. No, I mean scandalous as in not respecting conformist, “respectable” truth.

The sentences would inspire kids to look beyond lip-service, double-talk and generally the cliches of the human mind. (Including teenage cliches.)

They would sometimes have a strange taste, as when you eat some nice food and suddenly bite into a stone. Some would be funny in way you wouldn’t share with you mum. Some would sound like stand up comedy. But the common theme would be that beyond their exterior they would be pregnant.

Or make YOU pregnant, with THEM.

kossa
Mentally pregnant of course.

To understand this right, let me tell you what happens when I read proverbs and aphorisms. I love collections of aphorisms, and feel that they should be read slowly, preferably one by one.

I don’t follow my own rules about this and sometimes just stuff myself with aphorisms. While doing this I am aware that they are not really digested, that when a great and memorable thought (really worth considering) is right away followed by another, and another, then none of them really get a chance to expand and bloom within me.

But that is not only bad. Because memory stores all of them, like seeds, and some days or weeks later, my mind starts to turn, chew, churn one of these thoughts.

WTF? What does  “Truth cannot be told so as to be understood and not be believed” mean??

And that confusion and irritated non-understanding could eventually turn into gold, into the proverbial pearl which is the result of an irritating grain of sand inside the oyster.

THAT is what I would do if I was in a position to make a decision about the education of youngsters. But I will do it anyway, have already started to collect and assemble a Thoughtbook.

Read it HERE.

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Invitation to yourself

Here are the questions that I try not to solve but understand these days… and they are not even real questions (they often bring out something “orating” in us) but just juxtaposed words:

listening, awareness, presence
centripetal and centrifugal rooms

Without being formally religious I have always enjoyed churches. For some reason music often “tastes” better in a church than in a concert hall (which also is a kind of church, even though some people work hard at changing that).

I prefer empty churches. The other morning I sat myself down in a beautiful, empty church. What a relief! It was like my soul getting a big, soft hug. My eyes, too. So much beauty to look at. The order helps, of course. Disorder is like dirt to the eyes and the aesthetic sense. And then the paintings, colors, candles…

churchThe spartan, ascetic kind of churches seem to say: “No, we are not giving you any eye candy! Nothing of beauty to rest your eyes on HERE.”

Well, this was a more generous church.

ornament5b

I also sensed something else. A kind of invitation… to be there. I was already there, of course, but rooms differ in their there-ness. Some rooms are present, and invite you to be present. I avoid the fashionable word “mindfulness”, but this was an invitation to mindfulness.

Or, better, to mind-emptiness.

When I write this I am sitting with my laptop in a cafe. That can be nice, of course, but this is a very different room.

What am I invited to here? To be a consumer, to drink coffee, eat a sandwich or a cake. (Yesterday I complained about the music: don´t you have something less monotonous? “Sorry, we don’t control that. The music comes from Mood Media” So, a stream of muzak with no remote control in our hands…)

No, back to the church.

My experimental science “domainology” is about understanding rooms and spaces. The way I see it there is a kind of room that has proliferated like hell. (I choose that word — proliferated — intentionally, since it sounds similar to “profit”, which it has created galore.)

I would generally call that room a “waiting room”. That sounds real boring, but our modern waiting rooms are spiced up, made hip and fun. And through the great modern invention of our times – telecom – they have turned into a different kind of room. They are no longer about waiting but they have the same relation to the church as a waiting room: you don’t go there to be there.

ornament5b

That church the other morning invited me to be there, even to be myself. There are other rooms, an archetypal/ typical example is the internet cafe, that invite me to chat, make a phone call, surf the World Wide Web. They inspire me to forget where I am, my actual surroundings.

The cafe I am sitting in, with music streamed from Mood Media, is like that. This is a centrifugal room.

Of course, talking about internet cafes is a bit old-fashioned, when so many people have their internet connection at home, or practically anywhere.

What this actually means is that the internet cafe is no longer a room, but a function.

— I go to a fancy restaurant and somebody is sitting there and working with a laptop = internet café.

— I search out a beautiful park to be close to mother nature, but what do I hear…? The familiar sounds of Skype and Facebook jingles = Internet cafe.

— I go to a library, a classic “silent room”, and hear from the adjacent room the constant inflow of SMS = internet cafe.

— I go to a concert hall, look to my right, and what do I espy? The Tweet seats! = internet cafe.

Here we have come full circle, in a way, because the concert hall is a close relative to the church: a room for meditation, going within, listening within, being just there.

This would be full circle, where it not for the idea of Tweet seats, which means that the concert hall is ALSO going to imitate the function of internet cafe, will be if not a centrifugal than at least no longer a centripetal room.

The invitation “be here, only here, now” is more and more seldom heard. For where are the doors closed to wi-fi, mobile phones and laptops, the instruments of telecom (distant communication) and centrifugality?

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Saints, or, The true life of Simone Weil

As I wrote in another text, I think genius is a DIY or FIY (find it yourself), thing. Reading or being told by someone else that so and so is a genius is a second-hand thing.

Find and discover your own geniuses. And saints. You might have a couple around you, but if you rely totally on the Church to tell you who is a saint, you might be missing out. It is good exercise to learn to discover genius and sainthood.

It’s easy for me to talk, however, because I know a saint. He is still alive and as far as I know nobody has called him saint, so the discovery is mine. If that matters, which it doesn’t.

But it is a good feeling to actually know a saint. You can put to him your trickiest questions and can always count on a refreshing, painfully honest response.

ShakeHands trnsp

But let’s leave the living saint and talk about a dead one. Or one who is now, partly though me, living her “true life”. (What I mean by that is explained HERE.)

Background: I read a lot as a teenager, and for many years. One of the books I picked up that made a great impression on be was “Gravity and Grace” by Simone Weil.

I have regarded it in very different ways through the years. When I first found it I was in the middle of a rather starry-eyed period. What Weil said about understanding without being understood, etc, touched a string in me, but I would say that the resonance had a lot with religious sentimentality on my part.

Later I regarded my teenage reading of Weil as something almost dangerous, as thoughts that went the wrong way and almost made me choke.

But the book has almost been on my mind. When I in 1998 tried to get a record contract with some “pop” songs, one of the lyrics went “I am an honorary member of the human race/ Torn between gravity and grace”.

SimoneWeil
Simone Weil died at the age of 34. As I understand it, Gustave Thibon, to whom Weil gave her papers and notebooks and who edited the book Gravity and Grace (Weil did not “write” it, as a book) played a crucial role in making her thoughts and ideas known. (I am thinking of Edmond Rostand, without whom and without whose play we would not know about, and love, the long-nosed cavalier and thinker Cyrano de Bergerac.)

Let’ s say that the book and I had an early meeting, separated, and, at least from my side (I have no idea what the book thought about me) regarded each other with suspicion.

But we have met again. Yesterday I printed a PDF copy of the book, the exact one that I read in my teens.

And now it seems we are ready for each other (meaning that I am ready for it). Much water has flowed in the Danube, years have gone by, new experiences have gladdened, saddened and softened me and I feel that I can understand Weil if not totally then at least better. I know what she speaks about.

And it seems to me that she also was a kind of saint.

Of course what she speaks about is religion, or rather, God and the absolute, versus the World and evil. Those question have taken on a gravity (sic) for me that, these days, is not academic but burning — on the skin of my soul.

I am no friend of forewords and introductions by meddling middlemen, but the introduction by Thibaud is in itself inspiring, which indicates (it takes one to know one) that he himself was close to the level of Weil.

Of course I would like to quote from the book but the rediscovery, and the digestion of it, is too recent. I have also not come farther than 20-30 pages into it. But that is enough to see that this time around we have a real meeting.

Let me end here with Thibaud, not Weil.

In order to kill the self we must be ready to endure all the wounds of life, exposing ourselves naked and defenseless to its fangs, we must accept emptiness, an unequal balance, we must never seek compensations and, above all, we must suspend the work of our imagination, ‘which perpetually tends to stop up the cracks through which grace flows.’ Every sin is an attempt to fly from emptiness. We must also renounce the past and future, for the self is nothing but a coagulation of past and future around a present which is always falling away. Memory and hope destroy the wholesome effect of affliction by providing an unlimited field where we can be lifted up in imagination (‘I used to be’, ‘I shall be’ . . .), but faithfulness to the passing moment reduces man truly to nothing and thus opens to him the gates of eternity.

PS: Actually there’s a bit more. Just as in my text about genius I advise the reader not to exclude himself from sainthood. Here it is not so much a question of “finding a genius in your own home, your own jungle, your own skin“, but of creating one.

Saints, I believe, are made, not born.

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Startsträckan som blev slutsträcka

Ibland tänker vi så fel på tiden. Vi har en bild av att vissa saker tar lång tid, att vi måste förbereda oss för dem, att det vore dumt att sätta igång innan vi har gott om tid, eller åtminstone mera tid.

Så vi lägger uppgiften eller telefonsamtalet eller besvarandet av brevet åt sidan. Vi väntar på bättre tider, mera tider.

Och de kanske kommer, eller kanske inte. Dygnet kommer säkert inte få mer än 24 timmar, det är tämligen säkert.

Jag sitter själv och komponerar opera på en text om vilken jag, för ungefär 30 år sedan, tänkte “Det här vill jag skriva en opera på”. Varför väntade jag i 30 år?

Jag ville vara beredd. Och just i det här fallet är det möjligt att jag behövde vänta, behövde uppleva och genomlida saker för att bli mogen och redo.

Men i många andra fall, som att besvara ett brev till exempel, är denna väntan bara nys och självbedrägeri. Cervantes sammanfattade saken väl: Genom gatan Så Småningom kommer vi till huset Aldrig.

Vänta på bättre tider, och du hinner kanske dö innan de kommer.

ShakeHands trnsp

Jag har en vän som tyckte mycket om min skiva Life’s a Beach and then you swim. Jag undrade om han hade lust att skriva några rader om den, som vitsord; detta kunde jag använda i min egen reklam för skivan.

Det ville han gärna, han skulle återkomma. Det var för tio år sen. Jag väntar fortfarande.

När det väl görs görs det säkert på fem eller tre minuter. Men det är också möjligt att det aldrig blir av. För startsträcka blir tyvärr ofta, helt i onödan, slutsträcka och grav. Man tar sats och tar sats så länge att fötterna växer fast i marken.

startNå, min opera flyger snart.

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