The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space. ~Italo Calvino
Commonplace book of a teacher, poet, and counselor.
The true method of making things present is to represent them in our space (not to represent ourselves in their space). (The collector does just this, and so does the anecdote.) Thus represented, the things allow no mediating construction from out of ‘large contexts.’ The same method applies, in essence, to the consideration of great things from the past–the Cathedral of Chartres, the temple of Paestum–when, that is, a favorable prospect presents itself: the method of receiving things into our space. We don’t displace our beings into theirs; they step into our life.
–Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project