the unbearable lightness of being

“The heaviest of burdens is simultaneously an image of life’s most intense fulfillment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become.

Conversely, the absolute absence of a burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into the heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant.

What then shall we choose?

Weight or lightness?

– Milan Kundera, Czech-born, French-nationalized writer (1984)

Encore une fois, en français

Le plus lourd fardeau nous écrase, nous fait ployer sous lui, nous presse contre le sol. Le plus lourd fardeau est donc en meme temps l’image du plus intense accomplissement vital. Plus lourd est le fardeau, plus notre vie est proche de la terre, et plus elle est réelle et vraie.

En revanche, l’absence totale de fardeau fait que l’être humains devient plus léger que l’air, qu’il s’envole, qu’il s’éloigne sa la terre, de terrestre, qu’il n’est plus qu’à demi réel et que ses mouvements sont aussi libres qu’insignifiants.

Alors, que choisir? La pesanteur ou la légèreté?

– Milan Kundera, écrivain né tchèque, nationalisé français (1984)img_0907img_1110img_1047img_1063img_0941img_1103img_1106img_0951img_0956img_0927img_0931
Location: Prague & Terezín (aka Theresienstadt), Czech Republic 

the conquest of happiness

“The man who acquires easily things for which he feels only a very moderate desire concludes that the attainment of desire does not bring happiness. If he is of a philosophic disposition, he concludes that human life is essentially wretched, since the man who has all he wants is still unhappy. He forgets that to be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.”

– Bertrand Russell (1930)

Some of the wisdom in this book is really dated, but much of it is really true, nearly 100 years later. Does human nature really evolve? Or are we reacting to so-called ‘disruptive technology’ in similar patterns to how our ancestors responded to basic stimuli related to success and internal drive? I think we can all relate to achieving benchmarks we thought would make us happy only to find further restlessness. One thing I think Russell got wrong though, is that you can be of a philosophic disposition and still conclude that the attainment of happiness is a continuous practice that has no end point. Contentedness and growth are not mutually exclusive, indeed both require daily practice.

“A man who has once perceived, however temporarily and however briefly, what makes greatness of soul, can no longer by happy if he allows himself to be petty, self-seeking, troubled by trivial misfortunes, dreading what fate may have in store for him. The man capable of greatness of soul will open wide the windows of his mind, letting the winds blow freely upon it from the world as truly as our human limitation will permit; realizing the brevity and minuteness of human life, he will realize also that in individual minds is concentrated whatever of value the known universe contains. And he will see that the man whose mind mirrors the world becomes in a sense as great as the world.”

xo your friend alice


Here rest the Van Goghs…

In the last 70 days of his life Vincent stayed in Auvers-sur-Oise at the Auberge Ravoux Inn, where he produced 80 paintings and ultimately ended his own life. He is buried next to his brother and confidante, Theo, who died only 6 months after him.

The city and surrounding Oise valley served as a kind of impressionist’s art colony in the late 19th century, home for a time to Pissarro, Cezanne, Monet, Daubigny, and Gauguin. Its pastoral way of living has rendered little change to the little town, with many scenes identical to their immortal paintings to this day. While it was still snowing in mid-March during our visit, we imagined the wind rolling through the wheat fields he walked through from May to July, which served also as his primary subject matter during the last prolific burst of his decade-long art career. 000408390007.jpg

000408400014.jpg000408390009.jpg000408400018.jpg000408400021.jpgall analog film shot by the great MK , my kindred spirit and travel companion to auvers ❤
Location: Auvers-sur-Oise, Pontoise, France

a little life

“The axiom of equality states that always equals x: it assumes that if you have a conceptual thing named x, that it must always be equivalent to itself, that it has a uniqueness about it, that it is in possession of something so irreducible that we must assume it is absolutely, unchangeably equivalent to itself for all time, that its very elementalness can never be altered. But it is impossible to prove. Always, absolutes, nevers: these are the words, as much as numbers, that make up the world of mathematics…he had always appreciated how elusive it was, how the beauty of the equation itself would always be frustrated by the attempts to prove it. It was the kind of axiom that could drive you mad, that could consume you, that could easily become an entire life.”

– Hanya Yanagihara (2015)

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