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Feb
15th
Fri
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Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends.
Hafiz, Persian poet (1325/26–1389/1390), "Your Mother and My Mother"
Feb
4th
Mon
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Saudade [noun]


“Saudade is a Portuguese word that has no direct translation in English. (…) The “Dicionário Houaiss da língua portuguesa” defines saudade (or saudades) as “A somewhat melancholic feeling of incompleteness. It is related to thinking back on situations of privation due to the absence of someone or something, to move away from a place or thing, or to the absence of a set of particular and desirable experiences and pleasures once lived.” (…) Saudade is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses. (…)

It can be described as an emptiness, like someone (e.g., one’s children, parents, sibling, grandparents, friends, pets) or something (e.g., places, things one used to do in childhood, or other activities performed in the past) that should be there in a particular moment is missing, and the individual feels this absence. In Portuguese, ‘tenho saudades tuas’, translates as ‘I have saudade of you’ meaning ‘I miss you’, but carries a much stronger tone. In fact, one can have ‘saudade’ of someone whom one is with, but have some feeling of loss towards the past or the future.” “
Wiki (Illustration: Bertha Worms, Saudades de Nápoles (Missing Naples), (1895))
Dec
9th
Sun
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Jul
19th
Thu
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Elie Wiesel on Friendship

“And what is a friend? More than a father, more than a brother: a traveling companion, with him, you can conquer the impossible, even if you must lose it later. Friendship marks a life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing. It is a friend that you communicate the awakening of a desire, the birth of a vision or a terror, the anguish of seeing the sun disappear or of finding that order and justice are no more. That’s what you can talk about with a friend. (…)

What is death, when you come down to it? The closing of a parenthesis, and nothing more? And what about life? In the mouth of a philosopher, these questions may have a false ring, but asked during adolescence or friendship, they have the power to change being: a look burns and ordinary gestures tend to transcend themselves.

What is a friend? Someone who for the first time makes you aware of your loneliness and his, and helps you to escape so you in turn can help him. Thanks to him who you can hold your tongue without shame and talk freely without risk. That’s it.” “
Elie Wiesel, Romanian-born Jewish-American writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate, and Holocaust survivor (b. 1928), The Gates of the Forest: A Novel, Schocken, 1995.
Jul
29th
Fri
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It is not inertia alone that is responsible for human relationships repeating themselves from case to case, indescribably monotonous and unrenewed: it is shyness before any sort of new, unforeseeable experience with which one does not think oneself able to cope. But only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most enigmatical will live the relation to another as something alive.
Rainer Maria Rilke, Bohemian–Austrian poet (1875-1926), Letters to a Young Poet
Jun
20th
Mon
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William Deresiewicz: ‘We live at a time when friendship has become both all and nothing at all’

"Facebook isn’t the whole of contemporary friendship, but it sure looks a lot like its future. (…)  [In ancient times] Friendship was a high calling, demanding extraordinary qualities of character—rooted in virtue, for Aristotle and Cicero, and dedicated to the pursuit of goodness and truth. (…)

Inevitably, the classical ideal has faded. The image of the one true friend, a soul mate rare to find but dearly beloved, has completely disappeared from our culture. We have our better or lesser friends, even our best friends, but no one in a very long time has talked about friendship the way Montaigne and Tennyson did. (…)

Friendship is devolving, in other words, from a relationship to a feeling—from something people share to something each of us hugs privately to ourselves in the loneliness of our electronic caves, rearranging the tokens of connection like a lonely child playing with dolls. (…)

Until a few years ago, you could share your thoughts with only one friend at a time (on the phone, say), or maybe with a small group, later, in person. And when you did, you were talking to specific people, and you tailored what you said, and how you said it, to who they were—their interests, their personalities, most of all, your degree of mutual intimacy. “Reach out and touch someone” meant someone in particular, someone you were actually thinking about. It meant having a conversation.

Now we’re just broadcasting our stream of consciousness, live from Central Park, to all 500 of our friends at once, hoping that someone, anyone, will confirm our existence by answering back. We haven’t just stopped talking to our friends as individuals, at such moments, we have stopped thinking of them as individuals. We have turned them into an indiscriminate mass, a kind of audience or faceless public. We address ourselves not to a circle, but to a cloud. (…)

Friendship (like activism) has been smoothly integrated into our new electronic lifestyles. We’re too busy to spare our friends more time than it takes to send a text. We’re too busy, sending texts. And what happens when we do find the time to get together? (…) The more people we know, the lonelier we get.

[‘About me’ section]: Identity is reducible to information (…)  So information replaces experience, as it has throughout our culture. But when I think about my friends, what makes them who they are, and why I love them, it is not the names of their siblings that come to mind, or their fear of spiders. It is their qualities of character. This one’s emotional generosity, that one’s moral seriousness, the dark humor of a third. (…)  Character, revealed through action: the two eternal elements of narrative. In order to know people, you have to listen to their stories. (…)

Posting information is like pornography, a slick, impersonal exhibition. Exchanging stories is like making love: probing, questing, questioning, caressing. It is mutual. It is intimate. It takes patience, devotion, sensitivity, subtlety, skill—and it teaches them all, too. (…)

Now, in the age of the entrepreneurial self, even our closest relationships are being pressed onto this template. (…)  “There do not seem to be any singletons—disconsolately lurking at the margins—nor do dyads appear, except fleetingly.”

William Deresiewicz, formerly an associate professor of English at Yale University, is a widely published literary critic, ☞ William Deresiewicz on the meaning of friendship in our time
See also: ☞ Dunbar’s Number: Why We Can’t Have More Than 150 Friends
May
1st
Sun
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My gosh, if you’re going away, we got a million things to talk about! All the things we would’ve talked about next month, the month after! Praying mantises, zeppelins, acrobats, sword swallowers!
Ray Bradbury, American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer, Dandelion Wine
Apr
27th
Wed
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We have turned [our friends] into an indiscriminate mass, a kind of audience or faceless public. We address ourselves not to a circle, but to a cloud. (…) Friendship is devolving, in other words, from a relationship to a feeling.
William Deresiewicz, formerly an associate professor of English at Yale University, is a widely published literary critic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, cited in Charles Petersen, In the World of Facebook, The New York Review of Books, Feb 25, 2010.
Apr
10th
Sun
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Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up, if they succeed in loving the distance between them.
Rainer Maria Rilke, Bohemian–Austrian poet (1875-1926)
Jan
25th
Tue
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For the special thrilling quality of their friendship was in their complete surrender. Like two open cities in the midst of some vast plain their two minds lay open to each other. And it wasn’t as if he rode into hers like a conqueror, armed to the eyebrows and seeing nothing but a gay silken flutter—nor did she enter his like a queen walking on soft petals. No, they were eager, serious travellers, absorbed in understanding what was to be seen and discovering what was hidden—making the most of this extraordinary absolute chance which made it possible for him to be utterly truthful to her and for her to be utterly sincere with him.
Katherine Mansfield, modernist writer of short fiction (1888-1923), The Collected Stories
Jan
10th
Mon
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If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give—yes or no, or maybe—
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
William Edgar Stafford, American poet and pacifist (1914-1993), A Ritual To Read To Each Other
Dec
2nd
Thu
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Whenever someone who knows you disappears, you lose one version of yourself. Yourself as you were seen, as you were judged to be. Lover or enemy, mother or friend, those who know us construct us, and their several knowings slant the different facets of our characters like diamond-cutter’s tools. Each such loss is a step leading to the grave, where all versions blend and end.
Salman Rushdie, British-Indian novelist and essayist, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Chapter 16, "Vina Divina", BCA, 1999
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There are stories of elopements, unrequited love, family feuds and exhausting vendettas, which everyone was drawn into, had to be involved with. But nothing is said of the closeness between two people: how they grew in the shade of each other’s presence. No one speaks of that exchange of gift and character - the way a person took on and recognized in himself the smile of a lover…

Where is the intimate and truthful in all this? Teenager and Uncle. Husband and lover. A lost father in his solace. And why do I want to know of this privacy? After the cups of tea, coffee, public conversations … I want to sit down with someone and talk with utter directness, want to talk to all the lost history like that deserving lover.
Michael Ondaatje, Sri Lankan-born Canadian novelist and poet, Running in the Family
Nov
23rd
Tue
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As for me, she said, I seek not the Lover that completes me, that was good for when I was poor of time, when biology dictated my clockwork, ticking into doom. Now I seek the transmuting agent, the opener of worlds, the substance actuator, that which I will be made to re-spect forever. I seek the intertwined reality of numerous sensations, allowing me to explode into innumerable bright sparks of inquisitiveness, of realigning curiosities of old into new constellations of sense-thought.

You see, my dear, no longer being constrained by the time of body, I am now the explorer of the body of time, which is love for the me-eternal.

My desire is fierce into the unknown, parsing joys unheard of, protecting the freedom of ecstasy from the banality of its conclusion.
That is my job description, the eternal lover.
Aubrey De Grey, English author and theoretician in the field of gerontology, and the Chief Science Officer of the SENS Foundation, cited in Wildcat, Longevity Its for Lovers A brief interview with Aubrey De Grey, Polytopia, Nov 2010
Sep
28th
Tue
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He knew one of the women well, and had shared his universe with her. They had seen the same mountains, and the same trees, although each of them had seem them differently. She knew his weaknesses, his moments of hatred, of despair. Yet she was there at his side. They shared the same universe.