Velocities that I cannot see
"With every book we discover to our horror a human being printed to death by the printers, a man published to death by the publishers, read to death by the readers.... We always talk as if we had long ago discussed everything. And in fact, Doctor, everything has been said. But men go on talking, they talk on and on about their disgust whenever they talk about their destiny. And the philosophers too, Doctor, are always leading us through a museum that we already know inside and out; everything about this museum is familiar to us down to the smallest details. And it is a stinking museum that we are led into by the philosophers as soon as we occupy ourselves with their philosophies. The claim made for all philosophies is that they have opened a window and let air into the museum, fresh air, fresh air, Doctor. But the truth is that since Kant not a single one has succeeded in airing the museum, not a single one, I assure you. Ever since Kant the world has been an unaired world! And science imitates philosophy; it takes well-known bits of madness and arranges it in new patterns. We live by little surprises that we thoughtfully contrive for ourselves--isn't that pitiable? To think that I can say yes, but that I can also say no to everything. People are always standing on a point at which it is meaningless to be. And nothing practical exists any more, nothing but theory. In music we hear what we feel. Truth is tradition, not the truth. I have never been able," the prince said, "to amuse myself, never been able to entertain myself. Literalness has always annihilated everything for me. Everything is always annihilated by literalness. And we cannot help being born into literalness. When we open our mouths, we kill a reputation; we simultaneously kill a reputation and kill ourselves. But if we do not open our mouths we are soon crazy, insane, there is nothing left of us. In dialogue, in monologue, we draw everything more and more strenuously out of the darkness and cite it as proof; we exist only in proofs, you know, and then we lose it again in the darkness. But only now and then do we notice the real coarseness of life in dialogue. In dialogue we bring the dead to life and kill the living. We exploit the playacting until nothing is left of us but playacting. ... We are desperate. Yesterday," the prince said, "I was asked where Hochgobernitz is actually situated. Is is situated east or west? I was asked. I promptly answered: East! And I said: Naturally to the east. But on the way home--I was in the gorge at the time--I thought that I should have said: West. Naturally to the west. The listener is always told what he knows but does not understand," Prince Saurau said. "But we understand a great deal that we do not know. ... Thought," the prince said, "is always represented as a building inhabitable for shorter or longer periods. It is generally pictured as an intellectual edifice in which everybody, the philosophers and their followers, can go in and out with more or less excitement. But thought cannot be represented. To me my thought is: Velocities that I cannot see."
Thomas Bernhard, Gargoyles