Correspondence

The Good Things in Death

Letter From London

It has been argued that, of all human deeds, only the act of conception is selfless, since, for the briefest of instants that consummate it, neither the man nor the woman ever thinks of himself or herself, but always of the other.  And it can further be said that this is precisely where our lifelong thirst for otherness comes from—our apparently perverse, though very real and often crushing, desire to have, or to be, something other than that which we own or are—literally, from the moment of conception.

Any metaphysics of roulette must take account of such strengths and frailties of the human psyche, and, at his leisure, when his mind is not magnetized by the hypnotic green of the baize, the poet player—my hero—is fond of worrybeading them through his fingers.  “Man is limitless,” wrote the 20th-century feoffee of Dostoyevsky’s subterranean benefice of the spirit, Vasily Rozanov, “and limitlessness is man’s whole essence.  Hence metaphysics.”  Rozanov went on:

“Everything’s clear as day.”  Then man says:
“I want something that is
unclear.”

To the contrary, everything is
rather obscure.  Then he says:
Light, give me light.”

Man...

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