‘None can speak the truth who have not mastered their own souls’

We order lives as houses, drift along the cool black floors unshod, a slender height of windows. None can speak the truth who have not mastered their own souls: our words are a refinement of our deeds. At root the act, the open hand, like music pulls us to it, grips us in a shadow of the world’s embrace. The green symmetry of plants is accidental, means not end; and so our lives have system not in structure but in function.

We are weavers, always weavers, of the cloth. We draw the pattern after us, wind, wrap it, in our simplest, most convolute of gestures.

Work in philosophy is work upon oneself. Slow chip and erasure, fabric first grows rough, then thin, the texture of a life. Rarely under gentleness, unless another’s, other hands to bear the weight, more seldom point the way. So, solitary work turns ritual, like ritual, rots unless one clings to inner sense, digs one’s nails into the darkened core, demands of every gesture that it be as honest as an honest kiss.

– Jan Zwicky, Wittgenstein Elegies

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