Monday, December 21, 2009

The shortest day

An observation from Thomas Mann, on this, the shortest day of the year:

“The days lengthen in the winter-time, and when the longest comes, the twenty-first of June, the beginning of summer, they begin to go downhill again, toward winter. You call that “of course”; but if one once loses hold of the fact that it is of course, it is quite frightenening, you feel like hanging on to something. It seems like a practical joke – that spring begins at the beginning of winter, and autumn at the beginning of summer. You feel you’re being fooled, led about in a circle, with your eye fixed on something that turns out to be a moving point. A moving point in a circle. For the circle consists of nothing but such transitional points without any extent whatever; the curvature is incommensurable, there is no duration of motion, and eternity turns out to be not “straight ahead” but “merry-go-round”!’

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