Thus was this expedition finished...after having, by its event, strongly evinced this important truth; that though prudence, intrepidity and perseverence united are not exempted from the blows of adverse fortune, yet in a long series of transactions they usually rise superior to its power, and in the end rarely fail of proving successful.Voyage Around The World, 1751
There were profound reasons for his attachment to the sea: he loved it because as a hardworking artist he needed rest, needed to escape from the demanding complexity of phenomena and lie hidden on the bosom of the simple and tremendous; because of a forbidden longing deep within him that ran quite contrary to his life's task and was for that very reason seductive, a longing for the unarticulated and immeasurable, for eternity, for nothingness. To rest in the arms of perfection is the desire of any man intent upon creating excellence; and is not nothingness a form of perfection?
How the excitement comes upon me to tell it all! In the quest of writing, the heart can speed up with anticipation--as it does, indeed, during the chase itself of whales. I can swear it, having done both, and I will tell YOU though other writers may not. My heart is beating fast; I am in pursuit; I want my victory--that you should see and hear and above all feel the reality behind these words. For they are but a mask. Not the mask that conceals, not a mask that I would have you strike through as mere appearance, or, worse, deceitful appearance. Words need not be that kind of mask, but a mask such as the ancient Greek actors wore, a mask that expresses rather than conceals the inner drama.(But do you know me? Una? You have shipped long with me in the boat that is this book. Let me assure you and tell you that I know you, even something of your pain and joy, for you are much like me. The contract of writing and reading requires that we know each other. Did you know that I try on your mask from time to time? I become a reader, too, reading over what I have just written. If I am your shipbuilder and captain, from time to time I am also your comrade. Feel me now, standing beside you, just behind your shoulder?)
I find it very difficult to talk here now because I'm watching the sea all the time. The sea always makes me watch it all the time. I've spent hours and hours not just on the sea but just watching wave after wave come in. If it's an image of anything, I think it's an image of our own unconscious, the unconscious of our own minds... or you can put it the other way around, and that is that we have a sea in us. After all, we are sea creatures that learnt to walk on the land, are we not? And perhaps one way or another we go back to it. Every night when we dream we go back into that kind of depths, and that kind of beauty and monstrosity and mystery. So really the sea is not a single image, it can really image almost anything that the human mind can discover.
THAT crazed girl improvising her music.Her poetry, dancing upon the shore,Her soul in division from itselfClimbing, falling She knew not where,Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship,Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declareA beautiful lofty thing, or a thingHeroically lost, heroically found.No matter what disaster occurredShe stood in desperate music wound,Wound, wound, and she made in her triumphWhere the bales and the baskets layNo common intelligible soundBut sang, 'O sea-starved, hungry sea
We must remember that there is a great difference between a myth and a miracle. A myth is the idealization of a fact. A miracle is the counterfeit of a fact. There is the same difference between a myth and a miracle that there is between fiction and falsehood -- between poetry and perjury. Miracles belong to the far past and the far future. The little line of sand, called the present, between the seas, belongs to common sense to the natural.
Could any State on Earth Immortall be,Venice by Her rare Goverment is She;Venice Great Neptunes Minion, still a Mayd,Though by the warrlikst Potentats assayed;Yet She retaines Her Virgin-waters pure,Nor any Forren mixtures can endure;Though, Syren-like on Shore and Sea, Her FaceEnchants all those whom once She doth embrace,Nor is ther any can Her bewty prizeBut he who hath beheld her with his Eyes:Those following Leaves display, if well observed,How she long Her Maydenhead preserved,How for sound prudence She still bore the Bell;Whence may be drawn this high-fetchd parallel,Venus and Venice are Great Queens in their degree,Venus is Queen of Love, Venice of Policie.
In the deeps are the violence and terror of which psychology has warned us. But if you ride these monsters deeper down, if you drop with them farther over the world's rim, you find what our sciences cannot locate or name, the substrate, the ocean or matrix or ether which buoys the rest, which gives goodness its power for good, and evil its power for evil, the unified field: our complex and inexplicable caring for each other, and for our life together here. This is given. It is not learned.