Everything written symbols can say has already passed by. They are like tracks left by animals. That is why the masters of meditation refuse to accept that writings are final. The aim is to reach true being by means of those tracks, those letters, those signs — but reality itself is not a sign, and it leaves no tracks. It doesn’t come to us by way of letters or words. We can go toward it, by following those words and letters back to what they came from. But so long as we are preoccupied with symbols, theories, and opinions, we fail to reach the principle.
But when we give up symbols and opinions, aren’t we left in the utter nothingness of being?
- Kimura Kyūho, On the Mysteries of Swordsmanship, ca. 1768
(epigraph from Robert Bringhurst, The Elements of Typographic Style)
"I think you (and John, too, for that matter) must watch what is always the great danger with any 'surrealistic' style namely of confusing authentic non-logical relations which arouse wonder with accidental ones which arouse mere surprise and in the end fatigue."
- W.H. Auden to Frank O'Hara (and referring to Ashbery)
"Irritation with the general asininity is a passion common enough in great minds, and sufficiently pardonable to the intelligent, but it is not, after all, the highest of human emotions. And even scorn, which is a very fine thing indeed, is not the one thing essential."
- Ezra Pound
"Always expect the expected."