Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Finding Comfort, Finding Salvation

Adam Zagajewski...I never heard of him but ran across this quote. In this quote he refers to the writing of one of the French existentialists who said, "Hell is other people" in one of his works. I quick perusal of Google, Zagajewski is an internationally renowned Polish poet. I didn't have time with my slow Slow SLOW system to learn more tonight.

We find comfort only in
another beauty, in others'
music, in the poetry of others.
Salvation lies with others,
though solitude may taste like
opium. Other people aren't hell
if you glimpse them at dawn, when
their brows are clean, rinsed by dreams.
- Adam Zagajewski

The way he puts it, that's the reason I am not a monk. I see you guys this way too. I know this life makes it hard in precisely the sense that I wrote the other day...it is hard to remember your original intention when the alligators start biting. I have that challenge every day in my project work in corporate-land. But it is a general lesson. Here is the basic form. You have to catch us all in the special moments, the brief ones, to see the holy beauty without confusion.

Most of the spiritual walks on the planet ultimately demand community even when they claim that the highest path requires relinquishment in the end. I won't argue all that, just want to wish you all, "May you be rinsed clean by your dreams, over and over again."


  1. "Hell is other people" comes from Jean Paul Sartre's play "No Exit." As such, it's more a literary themre than a philosophical doctrine...and the play certainly does show that other people CAN be hell...though even then it's the way we and other people relate to each other. Anyway, some time ago in a blog post I did my own version of that line: "hell is hating other people"...which begs the question of whether people can exist together without hatred...which, arguably, is a question on which may rest the future of the species...

  2. Existentialists tend to literature over philosophy, I notice, because existence is not logically organized, I surmise. I was too lazy to chase down - Sartre or Camus.

    It is quite common for aphorisms to need considerable qualification when you actually try to apply them.

    I was taught to hate by my parents in the fourth grade. It was a consequence administered for behavior they didn't care for. It was designed to get me to stop the behavior. It did. The side effect they didn't intend was a cold rage so odd and unknown to me before that point that it took some time for me to understand I had learned to hate them along with all the other complex feelings I had about them. This cost them and me as it came back up in puberty.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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