Saturday, 11 April 2020

Murdoch on Suffering and Morality

Murdoch on Suffering and Morality:

All of the following is out of The Black Prince, Iris Murdoch‘s strange, funny, frightening, enlightening and deeply probing pondering on the shapeshifting machinations of the human mind when in Love and Extremis, a sort of re-enacting of Hamlet (the Black Prince of Denmark):

...“There are times of suffering which remain in our lives like black absolutes and are not blotted out. Fortunate are those for whom these black stars shed some sort of light.

This is the planet where cancer reigns, where people regularly and automatically and almost without comment die like flies from floods and famine and disease, where people fight each other with hideous weapons to whose effects even nightmares cannot do justice, where men terrify and torture each other and spend whole lifetimes telling lies out of fear. This is where we live.

The world is perhaps ultimately to be defined as a place of suffering. Man is a suffering animal, subject to ceaseless anxiety and pain and fear, the endless unsatisfied anguish of a being who passionately desires only illusory goods.

If the suffering of the world were, as it could be imagined to be, less extreme, if boredom and simple worldly disappointments were our gravest trials, and if, which is harder to conceive, we grieved little at any bereavement and went to death as to sleep, our whole morality might be immensely, perhaps totally different. That this world is a place of horror must affect every serious artist and thinker, darkening his reflection, ruining his system, sometimes actually driving him mad.“...

                                                              Iris Murdoch (1919 - 1999)*

*Dame Jean Iris Murdoch (15 July 1919 – 8 February 1999) was an Irish and British novelist and philosopher. Murdoch is best known for her novels about good and evil, sexual relationships, morality, and the power of the unconscious. 

#robertfaeth, #painterinBerlin, #painting, #art, #bookblog, #bookreviews, #literaturelover, #poem, #poetry

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Standstill - Stillness - Silence

Standstill - Stillness - Silence:

One cannot help but register the effects and implications this Corona crisis has on all of us and on literally every aspect of our lives.
What is most remarkably felt is the standstill, the pause, the rest of the hurly-burly. Therein lies a chance.

Out of T. S. Eliot’s remarkable poem, “The Four Quartets”, come these few lines:

“...At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is, ...”

We so greedily embrace the busyness of our normal exhaustively led lives because this makes it so easy to forget oneself, to forget the constantly in the back of our head implemented thought of the “big why”, the purpose and reason for all of what we are doing. 
This is, I readily admit, the human condition, the sadly hopeless but also invigorating question which drives us onward, the motor on which our existence thrives and relies. 

But it is also a dangerously disheartening thought, this probing for revelation, for answers which truly cannot be either found nor given. We will never fully understand why we are what we are and why all is as it is. To some it is a consolation then to forget themselves, to ease this anxiety, which really is fear of the future, in the hurly-burly, the distracting chaotic busyness which daily life consists of. 

Now something forced us to hold still, to rest, if we are willing or not and as frustrating this seems and feels, there is this small element of hope and confidence that lies within it. 
People start to complain that nothing is happening anymore, nothing of value to experience, to enjoy. No concerts, no exhibitions, no movies, hardly any social interaction anymore. Nothing is happening! This is a misconception. Something is happening, after all! Namely Silence and Stillness. 

Stillness is a form of action. Stillness is an energetic quality of being. Stillness allows us to find back to ourselves, to get in touch once again with ourselves, because it eliminates outside distractions. There is a spiritual necessity of stillness.

Even when nothing is happening, something always is happening. Almost every creative person feels that. Even when not actively creating something there is always something going on inside. Any artist knows of this space between the stage where the work is yet too unformed in the mind to be presentable and the stage where it is ready to be physically manifested. Stillness is a most welcome tool to allow the work to solidify and be born. I think this is true not only for artists but for all of us, in almost every respect. 

Do coming events throw shadows? If so I think I feel shadows which tell of a slightly different approach, a change in attitude, towards life and the way we live it. There might occur a shift in evaluation of certain aspects of our lives which up until now have rested unquestioned. 

#robertfaeth, #painterinBerlin, #painting, #art, #bookblog, #bookreviews, #literaturelover, #poem, #poetry

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Recipe for Fig Bread

A (moderately) healthy recipe in which most of the sweetness comes from the figs. I love it.


150 g dried figs
2 eggs
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon 
60 g brown sugar
1⁄2 package baking powder
1 pinch of salt 
50 g apple puree (Apfelmus)
50 g butter (or alternatively vegetable oil i.e. sunflower, rapeseed (Rapsöl) or coconut oil)
60 g joghurt 
30 ml water
1 tablespoon grounded almonds
100 g spelt flour (Dinkelmehl)
100 g wheat flour (Weizenmehl)
(or just 200 g wheat flour)
appr. 20 g chopped pecans or walnuts

For the decoration:

1 - 2 fresh figs, sliced

Preparation :

Heat the oven to 160 °C.

Chop figs and together with apple puree, joghurt and water puree figs in mixer, then put in big bowl and together with all other ingredients (save nuts) mix to a homogenous dough, then fold in the chopped pecans/walnuts. 

Put dough in a small fattened springform or loaf pan (cake tin, rectangular) and decorate wird fig slices.

Put in oven and bake for 40 minutes, then control with the aid of a stick if it is done. If dough still sticks to the stick, bake for another 5 minutes. Take out, let cool and serve. 

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