Friday, October 26, 2007

Outsiders find themselves hard pressed to explain the political passions of the Serbs. Having reduced complex political relations to vulgar, petty squabbles, the Serb is not inclined to weigh the contradictions between individual and common interests in the most efficient and just manner. Lust for power, a Byzantine brand of power, in a form limited by no constraints whatsoever, informs the vision of each and every political hack and local government agent as much as it moves the prime minister and leader of the opposition. Politics in Yugoslavia are not conducted for the purpose of achieving some tangible goal...[but] so that the parties can harangue one another to the point of exhaustion, or lunacy.

Slobodan Selenic, Fathers and Forefathers

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Human thinking develops in leaps. Such a leap may germinate for a while in our subconscious, but then it happens in a flash, like an epiphany....Duration is in fact a state of constant flux. There is no spiritual state identical to itself from minute to minute. With each new moment, something has been added to the one before. As he endures, a man is constantly shaping a new self. A person can stop changing only when he stops existing. Though my memory is constantly nudging thoughts, feelings, wishes, from the just abandoned past into the emerging present, I am not aware of this. The changes are too minuscule for my crude perceptive apparatus, and the weight of personal dogma too great to acquiesce without resistance. So it is only when the outcome of the change is noticeable, and when the contradictions inherent to my thinking and behavior have reshaped and reconciled themselves to a new sequence, at last, with some semblance of harmony, that I register the change as a shift from one state of mind to another.

Slobodan Selenic, Fathers and Forefathers

Friday, October 19, 2007

No man may place his hopes in anyone but God and his own hands.

A Balkan proverb, as quoted in Father and Forefathers by Slobodan Selenic.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fear always runs the State Department. They always follow what they are most afraid of.

Averell Harriman, as quoted by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr, New York Review of Books of October 11, 2007.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

[T]he main purpose of human association was to share enjoyment of the world's absurdity.

Auberon Waugh on his father Evelyn as quoted by John Banville in "The Family Pinfold," New York Review of Books of June 28, 2007