Don’t understand things

I look at the egg in the kitchen with superficial attention so as not to break it. I take the utmost care not to understand it. Since it is impossible to understand, I know that if I understand it this is because I am making an error. Understanding is the proof of error. Understanding it is not the way to see it.1

When we write about something, we must do so circumspectly. If we mention the thing by its name, we risk destroying it—or at least, destroying our own ability to see the thing. When other people misunderstand me (and all understanding is misunderstanding), I feel claustrophobic. They look at me, and instead my soul becomes a body, and when they look away, I might disappear. When alone, I am not limited by what others see on my surface.

To utter a word is a violent act against something ineffable.

There are those who believe that reading can lead to true understanding. Such a belief is not only wrong, but dangerous. These people come to confuse reality itself with what is written about it. The reader must be careful not to examine the words too closely; a skilled reader will read quickly and superficially—“like when you look”2, barely touching the words themselves.

As I write it I do not know myself, I forget myself. The I who appears in this book is not I. It is not autobiographical, you all know nothing of me. I never have told you and never shall tell you who I am. I am all of yourselves.3

Some people are more fragile than others. The most fragile among us, we try to protect ourselves by way of a kind of false irony.4 What we say and do becomes artificial. I live life always with “a quotation mark to my left and another to my right”5. This manner of living protects the soul, but only by removing it from the world and thereby starving it of oxygen; the feeling is one of drowning spiritually.

  1. The Egg and the Chicken 
  2. Água Viva, p. 11 
  3. A Breath of Life 
  4. Psychoanalytic Diagnosis: “Many observers have commented on the detached, ironic, and faintly contemptuous attitude of many schizoid people …” 
  5. The Passion According to G. H.