Zitate von Octavio Paz

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

—  Octavio Paz
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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„Their acts are a disturbance of order, not a criticism of it.“

—  Octavio Paz
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

„Unweave the verbal fabric: reality will appear.“

—  Octavio Paz
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
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

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„No one is alone, and each change here brings about another change there. No one is alone and nothing is solid: change is comprised of fixities that are momentary accords.“

—  Octavio Paz
Context: Fixity is always momentary. It is an equilibrium, at once precarious and perfect, that lasts the space of an instant: a flickering of the light, the appearance of a cloud, or a slight change in temperature is enough to break the repose-pact and unleash the series of metamorphoses. Each metamorphosis, in turn, is another moment of fixity succeeded by another change and another unexpected equilibrium. No one is alone, and each change here brings about another change there. No one is alone and nothing is solid: change is comprised of fixities that are momentary accords. Ch. 2

„Fixity is always momentary. But how can it always be so? If it were, it would not be momentary — or would not be fixity.“

—  Octavio Paz
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 -->

„People like me and I like them.“

—  Octavio Paz
Context: I too await the coming of my hour, I too exist. No. I quit. Yes, I know, I could settle down in an idea, in a custom, in an obsession. Or stretch out on the coals of a pain or some hope and wait there, not making much noise. Of course it's not so bad: I eat, drink, sleep, make love, observe the marked holidays and go to the beach in summer. People like me and I like them. I take my condition lightly: sickness, insomnia, nightmares, social gatherings, the idea of death, the little worm that burrows into the heart or the liver (the little worm that leaves its eggs in the brain and at night pierces the deepest sleep), the future at the expense of today – the today that never comes on time, that always loses its bets. No. I renounce my ration card, my I. D., my birth certificate, voter's registration, passport, code number, countersign, credentials, safe conduct pass, insignia, tattoo, brand.

„It is not proper to project our feelings onto things or to attribute our own sensations and passions to them. Can it also be improper to see in them a guide, a way of life?“

—  Octavio Paz
Context: It is not proper to project our feelings onto things or to attribute our own sensations and passions to them. Can it also be improper to see in them a guide, a way of life? To learn the art of remaining motionless amid the agitation of the whirlwind, to learn to remain still and to be as transparent as this fixed light amid the frantic branches — this may be a program for life. <!-- But the bright spot is no longer an oval pool but an incandescent triangle, traversed by very fine flutings of shadow. The triangle stirs almost imperceptibly, until little by little a luminous boiling takes place, at the outer edges first, and then, with increasing fury, in its fiery center, as if all this liquid light were a seething substance gradually becoming yellower and yellower. Will it explode? The bubbles continually flare up and die away, in a rhythm resembling that of panting breath. As the sky grows darker, the bright patch of light dims and begins to flicker; it might almost be a lamp about to go out amid turbulent shadows. The trees remain exactly where they were, although they are now clad in another light. Ch. 2

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„I begin all over again: if it does not make sense to say that fixity is always momentary, the same may not be true if I say that it never is.“

—  Octavio Paz
Context: Since movement is a metaphor for change, the best thing will be to say: nonchange is (always) change. It would appear that I have finally arrived at the desired disequilibrium. Nonetheless, change is not the primordial, original word that I am searching for: it is a form of becoming. When becoming is substituted for change, the relation between the two terms is altered, so that I am obliged to replace nonchange by permanence, which is a metaphor for fixity, as becoming is for coming-to-be, which in turn is a metaphor for time in all its ceaseless transformations…. There is no beginning, no original word: each one is a metaphor for another word which is a metaphor for yet another, and so on. All of them are translations of translations. A transparency in which the obverse is the reverse: fixity is always momentary. I begin all over again: if it does not make sense to say that fixity is always momentary, the same may not be true if I say that it never is. Ch. 4

„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
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

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„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
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.

„No. I renounce my ration card, my I.D., my birth certificate, voter's registration, passport, code number, countersign, credentials, safe conduct pass, insignia, tattoo, brand.“

—  Octavio Paz
Context: I too await the coming of my hour, I too exist. No. I quit. Yes, I know, I could settle down in an idea, in a custom, in an obsession. Or stretch out on the coals of a pain or some hope and wait there, not making much noise. Of course it's not so bad: I eat, drink, sleep, make love, observe the marked holidays and go to the beach in summer. People like me and I like them. I take my condition lightly: sickness, insomnia, nightmares, social gatherings, the idea of death, the little worm that burrows into the heart or the liver (the little worm that leaves its eggs in the brain and at night pierces the deepest sleep), the future at the expense of today – the today that never comes on time, that always loses its bets. No. I renounce my ration card, my I. D., my birth certificate, voter's registration, passport, code number, countersign, credentials, safe conduct pass, insignia, tattoo, brand.

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