Friday 14 December 2007

Nothing much

I’ve been laid up all day with a fever, so I took the opportunity to read Iain Pears’ novel, The Dream of Scipio (which is delightful), and to watch the remarkable film about the Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas, Before Night Falls. The film includes Arenas’ famous observation about capitalism and communism: “The difference between the communist and capitalist systems is that, although both give you a kick in the ass, in the communist system you have to applaud, while in the capitalist system you can scream.”

Reading a bit of Agamben yesterday, I also came across a delightfully enigmatic quotation from Kafka’s notebooks: “The Messiah will come only when he is no longer necessary, he will come only after his arrival, he will come not on the last day, but on the very last day.”


James F. McGrath said...

That quote about Communism reminds me of a joke they used to tell in Communist Romania. A man applies for a passport hoping to emigrate to the United States. The government official looks at him and asks, "Why would you want to leave? Don't we provide you with guaranteed employment here?"

"I can't complain" replies the man.

The official asks, "Haven't we taken steps to raise people from poverty and create equality?"

"I can't complain" replies the man.

"Then why do you want to leave and go to America?!" the official asks.

The man replies, "Because there I can complain!"

Anonymous said...

Hope you are better soon, Ben :)

Anonymous said...

The great India saint Sri Ramakrishna made this comment:

"When the incarnation comes, the common people are unable to recognize him. He comes in secret."


Plus in a very real sense today is, and will be, very much the same as the "last" day for everyone. We can either wake up or continue in the somambulance of our culturally induced trance.

Joey said...

You're not supposed to read when you're having fever. Hope you feel better.

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