Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Money Wisdom #375

"Work on good prose has three steps: a musical stage when it is composed, an architectonic one when it is built, and a textile one when it is woven."

Walter Benjamin One Way Street (Verso Edition) (1997) p.61

Money Wisdom #374

"He who loves is attached not only to the 'faults' of the beloved, not only to the whims and weaknesses of a woman. Wrinkles in the face, moles, shabby clothes, and a lopsided walk bind him more lastingly and relentlessly than any beauty. This has long been known. And why? If the theory is correct that a feeling is not located in the head, that we sentiently experience a window, a cloud, a tree not in our brains but, rather, in the place we see it, then we are, in looking at our beloved, too, outside ourselves. But in a torment of tension and ravishment. Our feeling, dazzled, flutters like a flock of birds in the woman's radiance. And as birds seek refuge in the leafy recesses of a tree, feelings escape into the shaded wrinkles, the awkward movements and inconspicuous blemishes of the body we love, where they can lie low in safety. And no passer-by would guess that it is just here, in what is defective and censurable, that the fleeting darts of adoration nestle."

Walter Benjamin One Way Street (Verso Edition) (1997) p.52

Money Wisdom #373

"The power of a country road is different when one is walking along it from when one is flying over it by airplane. In the same way the power of a text is different when it is read to when it is copied out. The airplane passenger sees only how the road pushes through the landscape, how it unfolds according to the same laws as the terrain surrounding it. Only he who walks the road on foot learns the power it commands, and of how, from the very scenery that for the flier is only the unfurled plain, it calls forth distances, belvederes, clearings, prospects at each of its turns like a commander deploying soldiers at a front. Only the copied text thus commands the soul of him who is occupied with it, whereas the mere reader never discovers the new aspects of his inner self that are opened up by the text, that road cut through the interior jungle forever closing behind it: because the reader follows the movement of his mind in the free flight of day-dreaming, whereas the copier submits it to command."

Walter Benjamin One Way Street (Verso Edition) (1997) p.50

Money Wisdom #372

"First sketched in 1923, [A Tour of German Inflation] condensed Benjamin's reactions to the economic misery of the time, and the degradation of social and personal experience that accompanied it. The material crisis of the German intelligentsia evoked here was to be one of the most constant themes of this journalistic interventions, recurring again and again in his book reviews of the later twenties. The political conclusions he drew from it were now intransigently radical. Where he had written with contemplative resignation in the early draft of 1923: 'But no-one may ever make peace with poverty when it falls like a gigantic shadow upon his countrymen and his house. Then he must be alert to every humiliation done to him and so discipline himself so that his suffering becomes no longer the downhill road of hate but the rising path of prayer', he now reversed the terms of the same passage, to read: 'so discipline himself so that his suffering no longer becomes the downhill road of grief, but the rising path of revolt'. The change can stand as the motto of his political radicalization."

Publisher's Note in Walter Benjamin One Way Street (Verso Edition) (1997) p.34