Have you heard of this interesting book? I highly recommend it. It is a collection of writings from the Portuguese poet and writer whose works were published under several heteronyms throughout his life. His fragmented The Book of Disquiet was found in pieces after his death as he could never quite finish the book. Scholars have attempted to recreate the book in several editions that order it in a way it might have originally been intended. Yet, perhaps there was never a real intended order.
I love this idea of writing a book without narrative – no beginning, middle, or end. Life is a little bit like this when you start to think about all of the spectrums of our reality. We have a narrative in our mind that has its waking moments and sleeping moments, the narrative of our routines and our everyday lives, our personal projection of ourselves on display to others, and of course our private selves. These are all occurring simultaneously, convoluting the idea of beginning, middle, and end.
Here is a passage from The Book of Disquiet.
To recognize reality as a form of illusion and illusion as a form of reality is equally necessary and equally useless….
… Anything and everything, depending on how one sees it, is a marvel or a hindrance, an all or a nothing, a path or a problem. To see something in constantly new ways is to renew and multiply it. That is why the contemplative person, without ever leaving his village, will nevertheless have the whole universe at his disposal. There’s infinity in a cell or a desert. One can sleep cosmically against a rock.
But there are times in our meditation – and they come to all who meditate – when everything is suddenly worn-out, seen and reseen, even though we have yet to see it. Because no matter how much we meditate on something, and through meditation transform it, whatever we transform it into can only be the substance of meditation. At a certain point we are overwhelmed by a yearning for life, by a desire to know without the intellect, to meditate with only our senses, to think in a tactile or sensory mode, from inside the object of our thought, as if it were a sponge and we were water. And so we also have our night, and the profound weariness produced by emotions becomes even more profound, since in this case the emotions come from thought. But it’s a night without slumber or moon or stars, a night as if all had been turned inside out – infinity internalized and ready to burst, and the day converted into the black lining of an unfamiliar suit.
Yes, it’s always better to be the human slug that loves what it doesn’t know, the leech that’s unaware of how repugnant it is. To ignore so as to live! To feel in order to forget! Ah, and all the events lost in the green-white wake of age-old ships, like a cold spit off the tall rudder that served as a nose under the eyes of the ancient cabins!
- Fernado Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet, A Factless Autobiography