The thoughtful soul to solitude retires.
But when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money--booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets:Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!
I'm a lapsed Quaker. I don't go to meetings any more. But I'm very drawn to Catholicism - all that glitter. I'd love to be a Catholic. I think it would be fantastic - faith, forgiveness, absolution, extreme unction - all these wonderful words. I don't think anyone who was ever born a Catholic hasn't died a Catholic, no matter how lapsed they are.
The events of human life, whether public or private, are so intimately linked to architecture that most observers can reconstruct nations or individuals in all the truth of their habits from the remains of their public monuments or from their domestic relics. Archaeology is to social nature what comparative anatomy is to organized nature. A mosaic reveals an entire society, just as a skeleton of an ichthyosaur suggests an entire creation. Everything is deducible, everything is linked. The cause allows one to guess the effect, just as each effect allows one to reconstruct a cause. The scientist can resuscitate in this manner even the warts of ancient times. From this comes without doubt the prodigious interest that an architectural description can inspire when the writer's fantasy is faithful to its basic elements. Cannot each person reattach it to its past by rigorous deductions? And as for man, does not the past singularly resemble the future? Tell him what was and is this not almost always the same thing as telling him what will be?
Anybody who would like to travel as an archaeologist of mores and observe men instead of rocks could find an image of the century of Louis XV in some village in Provence, that of Louis XIV in Poitou, that of even more remote times in the far reaches of Brittany. Most of these cities have fallen from some splendor that historians, more preoccupied with dates than customs, no longer speak of, but whose memory lives on, such as in Brittany, where the national character scarcely accepts the forgetting of what this country is fundamentally about. . . All of these cities have their primitive character.
Every landscape appears first of all as a vast chaos . . . . But the most majestic meaning of all is surely that which precedes and, commands and, to a large extent, explains the others. . . . My aim is to recapture the master-meaning, which may be obscure but of which each of the others is a partial or distorted transposition. . . . I quite naturally looked upon Freud's theories as the application to the human being of a method the basic pattern of which is represented by geology. . . . Marxism, psychoanalysis and geology demonstrate that understanding consists in reducing one type of reality to another; that the true reality is never the most obvious; and that the nature of truth is already indicated by the care it takes to remain elusive. . . . But I had learned from my three sources of inspiration that the transition between one order and the other is discontinuous; that to reach reality one has first to reject experience, and then subsequently to reintegrate it into an objective synthesis devoid of any sentimentality.
The man who can but sketch his purpose beforehand in words is regarded as a wonder, and every artist and writer possesses that faculty. But gestation, fruition, the laborious rearing of the offspring, putting it to bed every night full fed with milk, embracing it anew every morning with the inexhaustible affection of a mother's heart, licking it clean, dressing it a hundred times in the richest garb only to be instantly destroyed; then never to be cast down at the convulsions of this headlong life till the living masterpiece is perfected which in sculpture speaks to every eye, in literature to every intellect, in painting to every memory, in music to every heart! --this is the task of execution. The hand must be ready at every moment to work in obedience to the mind.