We suffer a given condition, and we ourselves are inescapably material elements of that given condition. All our anxieties about it, and all our attempts to redeem our condition by some solving word or idea never take us beyond the stuff of thinking, where questions and answers share the same uncertain and fictitious qualities. No answers come from a voice emanating from the external, objective condition, from the world into which we have been born (unable, as we are, to will anything different). Only our subjective experience of the world as an aesthetic phenomenon, and ourselves as its creator, can rescue us from the confines of the objective and the given, from arbitrary existence.
Extracts from the text
‘I know nothing directly of how I came to be here. I can only begin, each day, from the singular point of the awareness of my own being.’
‘Knowledge is added on. It does not appear to be fundamental to the working of anything that works. All of life’s abundance and variety and swarming complexity contrives to exist and persist without the supportive armature of thought. Just because I am aware of that complexity and puzzled by it, it does not follow that the architecture of my thinking brain exists so that I may tax myself with these questions. Despite the illusion of illumination, I may be just as much trapped in my limited nature as the spider is in hers, both of us spinning out our not so different practice of deceit without either of us knowing why.’
'The only trustworthy response to life is perpetual astonishment. To remain unsurprised by this unexpected and unjustified sudden descent form nowhere into a state of conscious being in which nothingness has shrivelled to a mere dependency of our imagination - to be without astonishment at this turn of fate is to plunge into the ocean of consciousness as though it were the infinite everything of the universe and not just something in a small corner of it where the mind sits like a sea anemone sifting saltwater ripples in a rock pool. But when one is suddenly caught by this surprise, when one literally becomes an astonished man, it is impossible simply to plunge into life, to swim in it unselfconsciously like a flounder, as though there were no other possible medium in which life can be conducted, no possibility of coming up for air.’
'Life has a self-sufficient and self-organising trajectory to which self-consciousness adds nothing. Living itself is mere indifference to life. But being is not the same as living. Being is knowing, a perpetual wakefulness to conscious experience in which there is no sleep, no rest or respite or retreat to moral indifference and a blissful state of unknowing.'