Quotes About Beyond Words

Quotes tagged as "beyond-words" (showing 1-6 of 6)
Eugène Ionesco
“I read a page of Plato's great work. I can no longer understand anything, because behind the words on the page, which have their own heavenly brightness, to be sure, there shines an even brighter, an enormous, dazzling -why- that blots out everything, cancels out, destroys all meaning. All individual intelligence. When one has understood, one stops, satisfied with what one has understood. I do not understand. Understanding is far too little. To have understood is to be fixed, immobilized. It is as though one wanted to stop on one step in the middle of a staircase, or with one foot in the void and the other on the endless stair. But a mere why, a new why can set one off again, can unpetrify what was petrified and everything starts flowing afresh. How can one understand? One cannot.”
Eugène Ionesco, Fragments of a Journal

William James
“Philosophy lives in words, but truth and fact well up into our lives in ways that exceed verbal formulation.”
William James

Ben Okri
“The greatest inspiration, the most sublime ideas of living that have come down to humanity come from a higher realm, a happier realm, a place of pure dreams, a heaven of blessed notions. Ideas and infinite possibilities dwell there in absolute tranquility.
Before these ideas came to us they were pure, they were silent, and their life-giving possibilities were splendid. But when they come to our earthly realm they acquire weight and words. They become less.
The sweetest notions, ideas of universal love and justice, love for one another, or intuitions of joyful creation, these are all perfect in their heavenly existences. Any artist will tell you that ideas are happier in the heaven of their conception than on the earth of their realization. We should return to pure contemplation, to sweet meditation, to the peace of silent loving, the serenity of deep faith, to the stillness of deep waters. We should sit still in our deep selves and dream good new things for humanity. We should try and make those dreams real. We should keep trying to raise higher the conditions and possibilities of this world. Then maybe one day, after much striving, we might well begin to create a world justice and a new light on this earth that could inspire a ten-second silence of wonder – even in heaven.”
Ben Okri, Birds of Heaven

Ben Okri
“A flamenco dancer, lurking under a shadow, prepares of the terror of her dance. Somebody has wounded her with words, alluding to the fact that she has no fire, or ‘duende’. She knows she has to dance her way past her limitations, and that this may destroy her forever. She has to fail, or she has to die. I want to dwell for a little while on this dancer because, though a very secular example, she speaks very well for the power of human transcendence. I want you to imagine this frail woman. I want you to see her in deep shadow, and fear. When the music starts, she begins to dance, with ritual slowness. Then she stamps out the dampness from her soul. Then she stamps fire into her loins. She takes on a strange enchanted glow. With a dark tragic rage, shouting, she hurls her hungers, her doubts, her terrors, and her secular prayer for more light into the spaces around her. All fire and fate, she spins her enigma around us, and pulls into the awesome risk of her dance.

She is taking herself apart before our sceptical gaze.

She is disintegrating, shouting and stamping and dissolving the boundaries of her body. Soon, she becomes a wild unknown force, glowing in her death, dancing from her wound, dying in her dance.

And when she stops – strangely gigantic in her new fiery stature – she is like one who has survived the most dangerous journey of all. I can see her now as she stands shining in celebration of her own death. In the silence that follows, no one moves. The fact is that she has destroyed us all.

Why do I dwell on this dancer? I dwell on her because she represents for me the courage to go beyond ourselves. While she danced she became the dream of the freest and most creative people we had always wanted to be, in whatever it is we do. She was the sea we never ran away to, the spirit of wordless self-overcoming we never quite embrace. She destroyed us because we knew in our hearts that rarely do we rise to the higher challenges in our lives, or our work, or our humanity. She destroyed us because rarely do we love our tasks and our lives enough to die and thus be reborn into the divine gift of our hidden genius. We seldom try for that beautiful greatness brooding in the mystery of our blood.

You can say in her own way, and in that moment, that she too was a dancer to God.

That spirit of the leap into the unknown, that joyful giving of the self’s powers, that wisdom of going beyond in order to arrive here – that too is beyond words.

All art is a prayer for spiritual strength. If we could be pure dancers in spirit, we would never be afraid to love, and we would love with strength and wisdom. We would not be afraid of speech, and we would be serene with silence. We would learn to live beyond words, among the highest things. We wouldn't need words. Our smile, our silences would be sufficient. Our creations and the beauty of our functions would be enough. Our giving would be our perpetual gift.”
Ben Okri, Birds of Heaven

Kelseyleigh Reber
“I can see her struggling to find the right word. Death seems so harsh. Passing so oblique. Some things are beyond words, I suppose, and she never finishes the statement. It seems right, that her words should fall into oblivion; after all, she—like me, like everyone—has no words for what follows, for the unknowable, only her hopes and prayers and an unwavering faith in something more.”
Kelseyleigh Reber, If I Resist

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