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Octavio Paz

Geburtstag: 31. März 1914
Todesdatum: 19. April 1998

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Octavio Paz Lozano Hören?/i war ein mexikanischer Schriftsteller und Diplomat. Er erhielt 1990 den Nobelpreis für Literatur.

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Zitate Octavio Paz

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„Wenn Freiheit und Demokratie auch keine äquivalenten Begriffe sind, so sind sie doch komplementär: Ohne Freiheit ist die Demokratie Despotie, ohne Demokratie ist die Freiheit eine Chimäre.“

—  Octavio Paz
Zwiesprache. Essays zu Kunst und Literatur. Aus dem Spanischen von Elke Wehr und Rudolf Wittkopf. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1984. S. 236 "Por todo esto, aunque libertad y democracia no son términos equivalentes, son complementarios: sin libertad la democracia es despotismo, sin democracia la libertad es quimera." - “La tradición liberal”, Rede zur Verleihung des Cervantespreises 1981 in Alcalá de Henares am 23. April 1982. rtve.es http://www.rtve.es/rtve/20141020/discurso-octavio-paz-premio-cervantes-1981/1032986.shtml

„Deserve your dream.“

—  Octavio Paz
Merece lo que sueñas. "Hacia el Poema (Puntos de Partida)" [Toward the Poem (Starting Points)] (1950) Variant translation: Deserve what you dream.

„No use going out or staying at home. No use erecting walls against the impalpable.“

—  Octavio Paz
The Clerk's Vision (1949), Context: No use going out or staying at home. No use erecting walls against the impalpable. A mouth will extinguish all the fires, a doubt will root up all the decisions. It will be everywhere without being anywhere. It will blur all the. mirrors. Penetrating walls and convictions, vestments and well-tempered souls, it will install itself in the marrow of everyone. Whistling between body and body, crouching between soul and soul. And all the wounds will open because, with expert and delicate, although somewhat cold, hands, it will irritate sores and pimples, will burst pustules and swellings and dig into the old, badly healed wounds. Oh fountain of blood, forever inexhaustible! Life will be a knife, a gray and agile and cutting and exact and arbitrary blade that falls and slashes and divides. To crack, to claw, to quarter, the verbs that move with giant steps against us! It is not the sword that shines in the confusion of what will be. It is not the saber, but fear and the whip. I speak of what is already among us. Everywhere there are trembling and whispers, insinuations and murmurs. Everywhere the light wind blows, the breeze that provokes the immense Whiplash each time it unwinds in the air. Already many carry the purple insignia in their flesh. The light wind rises from the meadows of the past, and hurries closer to our time.

„Unweave the verbal fabric: reality will appear.“

—  Octavio Paz
The Monkey Grammarian (1974), Context: Fixity is always momentary. But how can it always be so? If it were, it would not be momentary — or would not be fixity. What did I mean by that phrase? I probably had in mind the opposition between motion and motionlessness, an opposition that the adverb always designates as continual and universal: it embraces all of time and applies to every circumstance. My phrase tends to dissolve this opposition and hence represents a sly violation of the principle of identity. I say “sly” because I chose the word momentary as an adjectival qualifier of fixity in order to tone down the violence of the contrast between movement and motionlessness. A little rhetorical trick intended to give an air of plausibility to my violation of the rules of logic. The relations between rhetoric and ethics are disturbing: the ease with which language can be twisted is worrisome, and the fact that our minds accept these perverse games so docilely is no less cause for concern. We ought to subject language to a diet of bread and water if we wish to keep it from being corrupted and from corrupting us. (The trouble is that a-diet-of-bread-and-water is a figurative expression, as is the-corruption-of-language-and-its-contagions.) It is necessary to unweave (another metaphor) even the simplest phrases in order to determine what it is that they contain (more figurative expressions) and what they are made of and how (what is language made of? and most important of all, is it already made, or is it something that is perpetually in the making?). Unweave the verbal fabric: reality will appear. (Two metaphors.) Can reality be the reverse of the fabric, the reverse of metaphor — that which is on the other side of language? (Language has no reverse, no opposite faces, no right or wrong side.) Perhaps reality too is a metaphor (of what and/or of whom?). Perhaps things are not things but words: metaphors, words for other things. With whom and of what do word-things speak? (This page is a sack of word-things.) It may be that, like things which speak to themselves in their language of things, language does not speak of things or of the world: it may speak only of itself and to itself. Ch. 4 Ch. 4 -->

„Following a path: reading a stretch of ground, deciphering a fragment of world.“

—  Octavio Paz
The Monkey Grammarian (1974), Context: The Great Monkey closes his eyes, scratches himself again and muses: before the sun has become completely hidden — it is now fleeing amid the tall bamboo trees like an animal pursued by shadows — I shall succeed in reducing this grove of trees to a catalogue. A page of tangled plant calligraphy. A thicket of signs: how to read it, how to clear a path through this denseness? Hanumān smiles with pleasure at the analogy that has just occurred to him: calligraphy and vegetation, a grove of trees and writing, reading and a path. Following a path: reading a stretch of ground, deciphering a fragment of world. Reading considered as a path toward…. The path as a reading: an interpretation of the natural world? He closes his eyes once more and sees himself, in another age, writing (on a piece of paper or on a rock, with a pen or with a chisel?) the act in the Mahanātaka describing his visit to the grove of the palace of Rāvana. He compares its rhetoric to a page of indecipherable calligraphy and thinks: the difference between human writing and divine consists in the fact that the number of signs of the former is limited, whereas that of the latter is infinite; hence the universe is a meaningless text, one which even the gods find illegible. The critique of the universe (and that of the gods) is called grammar…. Disturbed by this strange thought, Hanumān leaps down from the wall, remains for a moment in a squatting position, then stands erect, scrutinizes the four points of the compass, and resolutely makes his way into the thicket. Ch. 8

„We can now understand the true reason for their condemnation and its severity. The authorities aren’t suppressing a reprehensible practice or a crime. They are suppressing dissidence. … Prohibition is a battle against a contagion of the spirit — against an opinion.“

—  Octavio Paz
Alternating Current (1967), Context: Many psychiatrists think, like Huxley, that these substances [hallucinogens] are neither more nor less dangerous than alcohol. It is not necessary to entirely accept this opinion — although to me it seems to be not far from the truth — in order to recognize that the authorities prohibit these drugs not so much in the name of public health as in the name of public morality. They are a challenge to the ideals of activity, utility, progress, work, and similar notions that justify our daily routine. Alcoholism is an infraction of social rules. Everyone tolerates it because the violation confirms the rules. This case is analogous to prostitution: neither the drunk nor the prostitute and her clientele call into doubt the rules they break. Their acts are a disturbance of order, not a criticism of it. The use of hallucinogens, on the other hand, implies a negation of prevailing social values. … We can now understand the true reason for their condemnation and its severity. The authorities aren’t suppressing a reprehensible practice or a crime. They are suppressing dissidence. … Prohibition is a battle against a contagion of the spirit — against an opinion. The authorities reveal, in their ideological zeal, that they are pursuing a heresy, not a crime. p. 105

„It is not the sword that shines in the confusion of what will be. It is not the saber, but fear and the whip. I speak of what is already among us.“

—  Octavio Paz
The Clerk's Vision (1949), Context: No use going out or staying at home. No use erecting walls against the impalpable. A mouth will extinguish all the fires, a doubt will root up all the decisions. It will be everywhere without being anywhere. It will blur all the. mirrors. Penetrating walls and convictions, vestments and well-tempered souls, it will install itself in the marrow of everyone. Whistling between body and body, crouching between soul and soul. And all the wounds will open because, with expert and delicate, although somewhat cold, hands, it will irritate sores and pimples, will burst pustules and swellings and dig into the old, badly healed wounds. Oh fountain of blood, forever inexhaustible! Life will be a knife, a gray and agile and cutting and exact and arbitrary blade that falls and slashes and divides. To crack, to claw, to quarter, the verbs that move with giant steps against us! It is not the sword that shines in the confusion of what will be. It is not the saber, but fear and the whip. I speak of what is already among us. Everywhere there are trembling and whispers, insinuations and murmurs. Everywhere the light wind blows, the breeze that provokes the immense Whiplash each time it unwinds in the air. Already many carry the purple insignia in their flesh. The light wind rises from the meadows of the past, and hurries closer to our time.

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„Oh fountain of blood, forever inexhaustible! Life will be a knife, a gray and agile and cutting and exact and arbitrary blade that falls and slashes and divides. To crack, to claw, to quarter, the verbs that move with giant steps against us!“

—  Octavio Paz
The Clerk's Vision (1949), Context: No use going out or staying at home. No use erecting walls against the impalpable. A mouth will extinguish all the fires, a doubt will root up all the decisions. It will be everywhere without being anywhere. It will blur all the. mirrors. Penetrating walls and convictions, vestments and well-tempered souls, it will install itself in the marrow of everyone. Whistling between body and body, crouching between soul and soul. And all the wounds will open because, with expert and delicate, although somewhat cold, hands, it will irritate sores and pimples, will burst pustules and swellings and dig into the old, badly healed wounds. Oh fountain of blood, forever inexhaustible! Life will be a knife, a gray and agile and cutting and exact and arbitrary blade that falls and slashes and divides. To crack, to claw, to quarter, the verbs that move with giant steps against us! It is not the sword that shines in the confusion of what will be. It is not the saber, but fear and the whip. I speak of what is already among us. Everywhere there are trembling and whispers, insinuations and murmurs. Everywhere the light wind blows, the breeze that provokes the immense Whiplash each time it unwinds in the air. Already many carry the purple insignia in their flesh. The light wind rises from the meadows of the past, and hurries closer to our time.

„A verbal trap; after the end there is nothing, since if there were something, the end would not be the end. Nonetheless, we are always setting forth to meet … even though we know that there is nothing, or no one, awaiting us.“

—  Octavio Paz
The Monkey Grammarian (1974), Context: The best thing to do will be to choose the path to Galta, traverse it again (invent it as I traverse it), and without realizing it, almost imperceptibly, go to the end — without being concerned about what “going to the end” means or what I meant when I wrote that phrase. At the very beginning of the journey, already far off the main highway, as I walked along the path that leads to Galta, past the little grove of banyan trees and the pools of foul stagnant water, through the Gateway fallen into ruins and into the main courtyard bordered by dilapidated houses, I also had no idea where I was going, and was not concerned about it. I wasn’t asking myself questions: I was walking, merely walking, with no fixed itinerary in mind. I was simply setting forth to meet … what? I didn’t know at the time, and I still don’t know. Perhaps that is why I wrote “going to the end”: in order to find out, in order to discover what there is after the end. A verbal trap; after the end there is nothing, since if there were something, the end would not be the end. Nonetheless, we are always setting forth to meet … even though we know that there is nothing, or no one, awaiting us. We go along, without a fixed itinerary, yet at the same time with an end (what end?) in mind, and with the aim of reaching the end. A search for the end, a dread of the end: the obverse and the reverse of the same act. Without this end that constantly eludes us we would not journey forth, nor would there be any paths. But the end is the refutation and the condemnation of the path: at the end the path dissolves, the meeting fades away to nothingness. And the end — it too fades away to nothingness. Ch. 1

„It may be that, like things which speak to themselves in their language of things, language does not speak of things or of the world: it may speak only of itself and to itself.“

—  Octavio Paz
The Monkey Grammarian (1974), Context: Fixity is always momentary. But how can it always be so? If it were, it would not be momentary — or would not be fixity. What did I mean by that phrase? I probably had in mind the opposition between motion and motionlessness, an opposition that the adverb always designates as continual and universal: it embraces all of time and applies to every circumstance. My phrase tends to dissolve this opposition and hence represents a sly violation of the principle of identity. I say “sly” because I chose the word momentary as an adjectival qualifier of fixity in order to tone down the violence of the contrast between movement and motionlessness. A little rhetorical trick intended to give an air of plausibility to my violation of the rules of logic. The relations between rhetoric and ethics are disturbing: the ease with which language can be twisted is worrisome, and the fact that our minds accept these perverse games so docilely is no less cause for concern. We ought to subject language to a diet of bread and water if we wish to keep it from being corrupted and from corrupting us. (The trouble is that a-diet-of-bread-and-water is a figurative expression, as is the-corruption-of-language-and-its-contagions.) It is necessary to unweave (another metaphor) even the simplest phrases in order to determine what it is that they contain (more figurative expressions) and what they are made of and how (what is language made of? and most important of all, is it already made, or is it something that is perpetually in the making?). Unweave the verbal fabric: reality will appear. (Two metaphors.) Can reality be the reverse of the fabric, the reverse of metaphor — that which is on the other side of language? (Language has no reverse, no opposite faces, no right or wrong side.) Perhaps reality too is a metaphor (of what and/or of whom?). Perhaps things are not things but words: metaphors, words for other things. With whom and of what do word-things speak? (This page is a sack of word-things.) It may be that, like things which speak to themselves in their language of things, language does not speak of things or of the world: it may speak only of itself and to itself. Ch. 4 Ch. 4 -->

„Repetitions, you wander about lost amid repetitions, you are merely a repetition among other repetitions.“

—  Octavio Paz
The Monkey Grammarian (1974), Context: Repetitions, you wander about lost amid repetitions, you are merely a repetition among other repetitions. An artist of repetitions, a past master of disfigurations, a maestro of demolitions. The trees repeat other trees, the sands other sands, the jungle of letters is repetition, the stretch of dunes is repetition, the plethora is emptiness, emptiness is a plethora, I repeat repetitions, lost in the thicket of signs, wandering about in the trackless sand, stains on the wall beneath this sun of Galta, stains on this afternoon in Cambridge, a thicket and a stretch of dunes, stains on my forehead that assembles and disassembles vague landscapes. You are (I am) is a repetition among other repetitions. You are is I am; I am is you are: you are is I. Demolitions: I stretch out full length atop my triturations, I inhabit my demolitions. Ch. 6

„You are (I am) is a repetition among other repetitions. You are is I am; I am is you are: you are is I.“

—  Octavio Paz
The Monkey Grammarian (1974), Context: Repetitions, you wander about lost amid repetitions, you are merely a repetition among other repetitions. An artist of repetitions, a past master of disfigurations, a maestro of demolitions. The trees repeat other trees, the sands other sands, the jungle of letters is repetition, the stretch of dunes is repetition, the plethora is emptiness, emptiness is a plethora, I repeat repetitions, lost in the thicket of signs, wandering about in the trackless sand, stains on the wall beneath this sun of Galta, stains on this afternoon in Cambridge, a thicket and a stretch of dunes, stains on my forehead that assembles and disassembles vague landscapes. You are (I am) is a repetition among other repetitions. You are is I am; I am is you are: you are is I. Demolitions: I stretch out full length atop my triturations, I inhabit my demolitions. Ch. 6

„And in regard to the present matter, if the present matters: I do not belong to the masters. I don't wash my hands of it, but I am not a judge, nor a witness for the prosecution, nor an executioner. I do not torture, interrogate, or suffer interrogation.“

—  Octavio Paz
The Clerk's Vision (1949), Context: The world stretches out before me, the vast world of the big, the little, and the medium. Universe of kings and presidents and jailors, of mandarins and pariahs and liberators and liberated, of judges and witnesses and the condemned: stars of the first, second, third and nth magnitudes, planets, comets, bodies errant and eccentric or routine and domesticated by the laws of gravity, the subtle laws of falling, all keeping step, all turning slowly or rapidly around a void. Where they claim the central sun lies, the solar being, the hot beam made out of every human gaze, there is nothing but a hole and less than a hole: the eye of a dead fish, the giddy cavity of the eye that falls into itself and looks at itself without seeing. There is nothing with which to fill the hollow center of the whirlwind. The springs are smashed, the foundations collapsed, the visible or invisible bonds that joined one star to another, one body to another, one man to another, are nothing but a tangle of wires and thorns, a jungle of claws and teeth that twist us and chew us and spit us out and chew us again. No one hangs himself by the rope of a physical law. The equations fall tirelessly into themselves. And in regard to the present matter, if the present matters: I do not belong to the masters. I don't wash my hands of it, but I am not a judge, nor a witness for the prosecution, nor an executioner. I do not torture, interrogate, or suffer interrogation. I do not loudly plead for leniency, nor wish to save myself or anyone else. And for all that I don't do and for all that they do to us, I neither ask forgiveness nor forgive. Their piety is as abject as their justice. Am I innocent? I'm guilty. Am I guilty? I'm innocent. (I'm innocent when I'm guilty, guilty when I'm innocent. I'm guilty when … but that is another song. Another song? It's all the same song.) Guilty innocent, innocent guilty, the fact is I quit.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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