Olga Tokarczuk Quotes

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You know what, sometimes it seems to me we're living in a world that we fabricate for ourselves. We decide what's good and what isn't, we draw maps of meanings for ourselves... And then we spend our whole lives struggling with what we have invented for ourselves. The problem is that each of us has our own version of it, so people find it hard to understand each other.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
The best conversations are with yourself. At least there's no risk of a misunderstanding.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
I wasn’t in a hurry. I never have to be in any particular place at any particular time. Let time watch me, not me it.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
The prison is not outside, but inside each of us. Perhaps we simply don't know how to live without it.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
The human psyche evolved in order to defend itself against seeing the truth. To prevent us from catching sight of the mechanism. The psyche is our defense system - it makes sure we'll never understand what's going on around us. Its main task is to filter information, even though the capabilities of our brains are enormous. For it would be impossible for us to carry the weight of this knowledge. Because every tiny particle of the world is made of suffering.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
Standing there on the embankment, staring into the current, I realized that—in spite of all the risks involved—a thing in motion will always be better than a thing at rest; that change will always be a nobler thing than permanence; that that which is static will degenerate and decay, turn to ash, while that which is in motion is able to last for all eternity.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Everything will pass. The wise Man knows this from the start, and has no regrets.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Perhaps that’s the whole point of prayer – to think to yourself in peace, to want nothing, to ask for nothing, but simply to sort out your own mind. That should be enough.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Drawing is never reproducing - in order to see, you have to know how to look, and you have to know what you’re looking at.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Then you realize: night gives the world back its natural, original appearance, without suger-coating it; day is a flight of fancy, light a slight exception, an oversight, a disruption of the order. The world in fact is dark, almost black. Motionless and cold.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Move. Get going. Blessed is he who leaves.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
O kraju świadczą jego Zwierzęta. Stosunek do Zwierząt. Jeżeli ludzie zachowują się bestialsko wobec Zwierząt, nie pomoże im żadna demokracja ani w ogóle nic.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
Other people's life stories are not a topic for debate. One should hear them out, and reciprocate in the same coin.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Nothing is innocent, and nothing is insignificant, it's all a big endless puzzle.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
I believe, unswervingly, agonizingly, that it is in freaks that Being breaks through to the surface and reveals its true nature.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
There is too much world, so it's better to concentrate on particulars, rather than the whole.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
She’s a loner, she doesn’t care about being around people. So neither failure nor success concerns her.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
There are countries out there where people speak English. But not like us - we have our own languages hidden in our carry-on luggage, in our cosmetics bags, only ever using English when we travel, and then only in foreign countries, to foreign people. It's hard to imagine, but English is the real language! Oftentimes their only language. They don't have anything to fall back on or to turn to in moments of doubt. How lost they must feel in the world, where all instructions, all the lurics of all the stupidest possible songs, all the menus, all the excruciating pamphlets and brochures - even the buttons in the lift! - are in their private language. They may be understood by anuone at any moment, whenever they open their mouths. They must have to write things down in special codes. Wherever they are, people have unlimited access to them - they are accessible to everyone and everything! I heard there are plans in the works to get them some little language of their own, one of those dead ones no one else is using anyway, just so that for once they can have something just for them.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Nie, nie ludzie w naszym kraju nie mają umiejętności zrzeszania się i tworzenia wspólnoty, nawet pod sztandarem prawdziwka. To kraj neurotycznych indywidualistów, z których każdy, gdy tylko znajdzie się wśród innych, zaczyna ich pouczać, krytykować, obrażać i okazywać im swoją niewątpliwą wyższość.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
He was a man of very few words, and as it was impossible to talk, one had to keep silent. It’s hard work talking to some people, most often males. I have a Theory about it. With age, many men come down with testosterone autism, the symptoms of which are a gradual decline in social intelligence and capacity for interpersonal communication, as well as a reduced ability to formulate thoughts. The Person beset by this Ailment becomes taciturn and appears to be lost in contemplation. He develops an interest in various Tools and machinery, and he’s drawn to the Second World War and the biographies of famous people, mainly politicians and villains. His capacity to read novels almost entirely vanishes; testosterone autism disturbs the character’s psychological understanding.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Speaking does harm, sows confusion and weakens things that are obvious. Speaking makes me tremble inside. I don't think I have ever said anything really important in my entire life -- there's a lack of words for the most important things anyway. (I must make a list of missing words -- top of it I'll put a verb that means something in between "I sense" and "I see.")
Olga Tokarczuk (House of Day, House of Night)
But why should we have to be useful and for what reason? Who divided the world into useless and useful, and by what right? Does a thistle have no right to life, or a Mouse that eats the grain in a warehouse? What about Bees and Drones, weeds and roses? Whose intellect can have had the audacity to judge who is better, and who worse? A large tree, crooked and full of holes, survives for centuries without being cut down, because nothing could possibly be made out of it. This example should raise the spirits of people like us. Everyone knows the profit to be reaped from the useful, but nobody knows the benefit to be gained from the useless.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
In a way, people like her, those who wield a pen, can be dangerous. At once a suspicion of fakery springs to mind – that such a Person is not him or herself, but an eye that’s constantly watching, and whatever it sees it changes into sentences: in the process it strips reality of its most essential quality – its inexpressibility.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Newspapers rely on keeping us in a constant state of anxiety, on diverting our emotions away from the things that really matter to us. Why should I yield to their power and let them tell me what to think?
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
(...) zrozumiałam, że smutek jest ważnym słowem w definicji świata. Leży u podstaw wszystkiego, jest piątym żywiołem, kwintesencją.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
perhaps solitude has stretched out his thoughts into long strands, and accustomed him to internal dialogues.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Sometimes it’s as if I’m composed of nothing but symptoms of illness, I am a phantom built out of pain.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Your memory creates postcard images, but it doesn't really comprehend the world at all. That's why a landscape is so affected by the mood of the person looking at it. In it a person sees his own inner, transitory moments. Wherever he looks, he sees nothing but himself.
Olga Tokarczuk (House of Day, House of Night)
(...) maybe in our bodies there's a whole world of mythology? Maybe there exists some sort of reflection of the great and the small, the human body joining within itself everything with everything - stories and heroes, gods and animals, the order of plants and the harmony of minerals?
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
to someone from nowhere, every movement turns into a return
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
That’s what I dislike most of all in people – cold irony. It’s a very cowardly attitude to mock or belittle everything, never be committed to anything, not feel tied to anything. Like an impotent man who can’t experience pleasure himself, but will do all he can to ruin it for others
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Everyone knows how to cook parasols—you soak them in milk, then dip them in egg and breadcrumbs and fry them until they're brown as chops. You can do the same thing with a panther amanita that smells of nuts, but people don't pick amanitas. They divide mushrooms into poisonous and edible, and the guidebooks discuss the features that allow you to tell the difference—as if there are good mushrooms and bad mushrooms. No mushroom book separates them into beautiful and ugly, fragrant and stinking, nice to touch and nasty, or those that induce sin and those that absolve it. People see what they want to see, and in the end they get what they want—clear, but false divisions. Meanwhile, in the world of mushrooms, nothing is certain.
Olga Tokarczuk
The best place for this kind of training is Holland where people, convinced of their utter innocence, do not use curtains. After dusk the windows turn into little stages on which actors act out their evenings. Sequences of images bathed in yellow, warm light are the individual acts of the same production entitled 'Life'. Dutch painting. Moving lives.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Nobody takes any notice of old women who wander around with their shopping bags.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
This is why tyrants of all stripes, infernal servants, have such deep-seated hatred for the nomads - this is why they persecute the Gypsies and the Jews, and why they force all free peoples to settle, assigning the addresses that serve as our sentences. What they want is to create a frozen order, to falsify time's passage. They want for the days to repeat themselves, unchanging, they want to build a big machine where every creature will be forced to take its place and carry out false actions. Institutions and offices, stamps,newsletters, a hierarchy, and ranks, degrees, applications and rejections, passports, numbers, cards, elections results, sales and amassing points, collecting, exchanging some things for others. What they want is to pin down the world with the aid of barcodes, labelling all things, letting it be known that everything is a commodity, that this is how much it will cost you. Let this new foreign language be illegible to humans, let it be read exclusively by automatons, machines. That way by night, in their great underground shops, they can organize reading of their own barcoded poetry. Move. Get going. Blesses is he who leaves.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Wie pani, czasem mam wrażenie, że żyjemy w świecie, który sobie wymyślamy. Ustalamy sobie, co jest dobre, a co nie, rysujemy mapy znaczeń... A potem całe życie zmagamy się z tym, cośmy sobie wykoncypowali. Problem polega na tym, że każdy ma swoją wersję, i dlatego tak trudno jest się ludziom dogadać.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
To wielka tajemnica, że każde wyzwanie uruchamia w nas prawdziwie żywotne siły
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
Ludzie mają potężną potrzebę, żeby czuć się lepszymi od innych. Nieważne, kim są, muszą mieć kogoś, kto byłby gorszy od nich.
Olga Tokarczuk (Księgi Jakubowe)
Fluidity, mobility, illusoriness -- these are precisely the qualities that make us civilised. Barbarians don't travel. They simply go to destinations or conduct raids.
Olga Tokarczuk
Someday he would write his memoirs, when his adventures had arranged themselves into a suitably attractive package.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
They weren’t real travelers: they left in order to return. And they were relieved when they got back, with a sense of having fulfilled an obligation.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
It's clear that the largest things are contained in the smallest. There can be no doubt about it. At this very moment, as I write, there's a planetary configuration on the table, the entire Cosmos if you like: a thermometer, a coin, an aluminum spoon and a porcelain cup. A key, a cell phone, a piece of paper and a pen. And one of my gray hairs, whose atoms preserve the memory of the origins of life, of the cosmic Catastrophe that gave the world its beginning.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
There are some people at whom one only has to glance for one’s throat to tighten and one’s eyes to fill with tears of emotion. These people make one feel as if a stronger memory of our former innocence remains in them, as if they were a freak of nature, not entirely battered by the Fall. Perhaps they are messengers, like the servants who find a lost prince who’s unaware of his origins, show him the robe that he wore in his native country, and remind him how to return home.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
I find this division of people into three groups—skiers, allergy sufferers and drivers—very convincing. It is a good, straightforward typology. Skiers are hedonists. They are carried down the slopes. Whereas drivers prefer to take their fate in their hands, although their spines often suffer as a result; we all know life is hard. Whereas the allergy sufferers are always at war. I must surely be an allergy sufferer.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Historie życia nie są tematem do dyskusji. Powinno się ich wysłuchać i zrewanżować się tym samym.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
(...) ograniczenie umysłowe i okrucieństwo ludzkie nie zna granic.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
Once we have reached a certain age, it's hard to be reconciled to the fact that people are always going to be impatient with us.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
In a certain sense this was true, and truth is always true in a certain sense;
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
We have a view of the world, but Animals have a sense of the world, do you see?
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
the truest argument was an old one—the earth is round, let us not be too attached, then, to directions.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Below the mill the rivers merge. First they flow close beside each other, undecided, overawed by their longed-for intimacy, and then they fall into each other and get lost in one another. The river that flows out of this melting pot by the mill is no longer either the White or the Black, but it is powerful and effortlessly drives the mill wheel that grinds the grain for bread. Primeval lies on both the White and Black rivers and also on the third one, formed out of their mutual desire. The river arising from their confluence below the mill is called The River, and it flows on calm and contented.
Olga Tokarczuk (Primeval and Other Times)
When you're traveling you need to take care of yourself to get by, you have to keep an eye on yourself and your place in the world. It means concentrating on yourself, thinking about yourself and looking after yourself. So when you travel all you really encounter is yourself, as if that were the whole point of it. When you're at home you simply are, you don't have to struggle with anything or achieve anything. You don't have to worry about the railways connections, and timetables, you don't need to experience any thrills or disappointments. You can put yourself to one side - and that's when you see the most.
Olga Tokarczuk
Anyone who has ever tried to write a novel knows what an arduous task it is, undoubtedly one of the worst ways of occupying oneself. You have to remain within yourself all the time, in solitary confinement. It's a controlled psychosis, an obsessive paranoia manacled to work completely lacking in the feather pens and bustles and Venetian masks we would ordinarily associate with it, clothed instead in a butcher's apron and rubber boots, eviscerating knife in hand. You can only barely see from that writerly cellar the feet of passers-by, hear the rapping of their heels. Every so often someone stops and bends down and glances in through the window, and then you get a glimpse of a human face, maybe even exchange a few words. But ultimately the mind is so occupied with its own act, a play staged by the self ofr the self in a hasty, makeshift cabinet of curiosities peopled by author and character, narrator and reader, the person describing and the person described, that feet, shoes, heels, and faces become, sooner or later, mere components of that act.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
But it also crossed my mind that in spite of all, in spite of our fragility and ignorance, we have an incredible advantage over the stars – it is for us that time works, giving us a major opportunity to transform the suffering, aching world into a happy and peaceful one.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Postcards of landscapes, panoramas of old ruins, postcards ambitiously prepared so as to show as much as possible on that flat space, are slowly being replaced by photographs focusing on details. This is no doubt a good idea, because they relieve tired minds. There is too much world, so it’s better to concentrate on particulars, rather than the whole.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Spring is just a short interlude, after which the mighty armies of death advance; they’re already besieging the city walls. We live in a state of siege. If one takes a close look at each fragment of a moment, one might choke with terror. Within our bodies disintegration inexorably advances; soon we shall fall sick and die. Our loved ones will leave us, the memory of them will dissolve in the tumult; nothing will remain. Just a few clothes in the wardrobe and someone in a photograph, no longer recognized. The most precious memories will dissipate. Everything will sink into darkness and vanish
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Ludzie myślą, że żyją bardziej intensywnie niż zwierzęta, niż rosliny, a tym bardziej - niż rzeczy. Zwierzeta przeczuwają, że żyją bardziej intensywnie niż rośliny i rzeczy. Rośliny śnią, że żyją bardziej intensywnie niż rzeczy. A rzeczy trwają, i to trwanie jest bardziej życiem niż cokolwiek innego.
Olga Tokarczuk (Primeval and Other Times)
Winter mornings are made of steel; they have a metallic taste and sharp edges. On a Wednesday in January, at seven in the morning, it’s plain to see that the world was not made for Man, and definitely not for his comfort or pleasure.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Czy ludzie niecierpliwi nie przypominają duchów, które nigdy nie są tu, w tym miejscu, i teraz, w tej właśnie chwili, ale wystawiają głowę z życia jak ci wędrowcy, którzy podobno, gdy znaleźli się na końcu świata, wyjrzeli poza horyzont.
Olga Tokarczuk (Księgi Jakubowe)
One has to tell people what to think. There is no alternative. Otherwise, someone else will do it.
Olga Tokarczuk
A man's free to do what he wants with his life, until he falls foul of the banks.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
There must be some sort of drugs. I’d like that. To stop me from feeling anything, or worrying, to let me sleep. Is that possible
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
That’s too much. You can’t want all those things,’ he said. ‘Oh yes I can! And I’m the one to define what I can want,’ I shouted furiously
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Słowa są jak jaszczurki, potrafią uciec z każdego zamknięcia.
Olga Tokarczuk (Księgi Jakubowe)
I am already at an age and additionally in a state where I must always wash my feet thoroughly before bed, in the event of having to be removed be an ambulance in the Night.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
What makes us most human is the possession of a unique and irreproducible story, that we take place over time and leave behind our traces.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
I realized that sorrow is an important word for defining the world. It lies at the foundation of everything, it is the fifth element, the quintessence.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
She is happy, because she doesn’t have a single thought in her head, a single care, a single expectation or hope. It’s a good feeling.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Nie ma tu nikogo, Bóg stworzył świat i umarł z wysiłku.
Olga Tokarczuk (Księgi Jakubowe)
Anger always leaves a large void behind it, into which a flood of sorrow pours instantly, and keeps on flowing like a great river, without beginning or end.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
For the best conversations are with yourself. At least there’s no risk of a misunderstanding.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Describing something is like using it – it destroys; the colours wear off, the corners lose their definition, and in the end what’s been described begins to fade, to disappear. This applies most of all to places. Enormous damage has been done by travel literature – a veritable scourge, an epidemic. Guidebooks have conclusively ruined the greater part of the planet; published in editions numbering in the millions, in many languages, they have debilitated places, pinning them down and naming them, blurring their contours. Even I, in my youthful naiveté, once took a shot at the description of places. But when I would go back to those descriptions later, when I’d try to take a deep breath and allow their intense presence to choke me up all over again, when I’d try to listen in on their murmurings, I was always in for a shock. The truth is terrible: describing is destroying.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
She thought about how no one had taught us to grow old, how we didn’t know what it would be like. When we were young we thought of old age as an ailment that affected only other people. While we, for reasons never entirely clear, would remain young. We treated the old as though they were responsible for their condition somehow, as though they’d done something to earn it, like some types of diabetes or arteriosclerosis. And yet this was an ailment that affected the absolute most innocent.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Perhaps one could get used to it? Learn to live with it, just as people live in the cities of Auschwitz or Hiroshima, without ever thinking about what happened there in the past. They simply live their lives.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Zimska jutra su napravljena od čelika, imaju metana okus i oštre rubove. U srijedu, u sedam ujutro, u siječnju, vidi se da svijet nije stvoren za Čovjeka , a posve sigurno ne za njegovu ugodu i zadovoljstvo." str. 117.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
Ale dlaczego mielibyśmy być pożyteczni i wobec czego? Kto podzielił świat na bezużyteczne i pożyteczne, i jakim prawem? Czy oset nie ma prawa do życia albo Mysz, która zjada ziarno w magazynach, Pszczoły i Trutnie, chwasty i róże. Czyj to rozum odważył się na taki tupet, żeby sądzić, kto jest lepszy, a kto gorszy? Wielkie drzewo, krzywe i dziurawe, przetrwało wieki i nie zostało ścięte, bo w żadnym wypadku nie dałoby się niczego z niego wykonać. Ten przykład powinien podnieść na duchu takich jak my. Wszyscy znają korzyść z pożytecznego, ale nikt nie zna pożytku z nieużytecznego.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
Obsession is, in any case, the premonition of the existence of an individual language, an irreproducible language through the attentive use of which we will be able to uncover the truth. We must follow this premonition into regions that to others might seem absurd and mad. I don’t know why this language of truth sounds angelic to some, while to others it changes into mathematical signs or notations. But there are also those to whose whim it speaks in a very strange way.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
I grew up in a beautiful era, now sadly in the past. In it there was great readiness for change, and a talent for creating revolutionary visions. Nowadays no one still has the courage to think up anything new. All they ever talk about, round the clock, is how things already are, they just keep rolling out the same old ideas. Reality has grown old and gone senile; after all, it is definitely subject to the same laws as every living organism — it ages. Just like the cells of the body, its tiniest components — the senses, succumb to apoptosis. Apoptosis is natural death, brought about by the tiredness and exhaustion of matter. In Greek this word means ‘the dropping of petals.’ The world has dropped its petals.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
every single Person has their own expression which he or she overuses. Or uses incorrectly. These words or phrases are the key to their intellect. Mr. “Apparently,” Mr. “Generally,” Mrs. “Probably,” Mr. “Fucking,” Mrs. “Don’t You Think?,” Mr. “As If.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
В куфарчето, с което идваме на този свят, има неща, които можем да употребим само веднъж, като фойерверките. Като магията в приказките. Блеснат ли, разгорят ли се, втурнат ли се към земята и гибелта си, свършено е. Край, не можеш да ги събереш от пепелта им.
Olga Tokarczuk (Gra na wielu bębenkach)
Then you realize: night gives the world back its natural, original appearance, without sugar-coating it; day is a flight of fancy, light a slight exception, an oversight, a disruption of the order. The world in fact is dark, almost black. Motionless and cold.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
have a Theory. It’s that an awful thing has happened—our cerebellum has not been correctly connected to our brain. This could be the worst mistake in our programming. Someone has made us badly. This is why our model ought to be replaced. If our cerebellum were connected to our brain, we would possess full knowledge of our own anatomy, of what was happening inside our bodies. Oh, we’d say to ourselves, the level of potassium in my blood has fallen. My third cervical vertebra is feeling tension. My blood pressure is low today, I must move about, and yesterday’s egg salad has sent my cholesterol level too high, so I must watch what I eat today.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
I see everything as if in a dark mirror, as if through smoked glass. I view the world in the same way as others look at the Sun in eclipse. Thus I see the Earth in eclipse. I see us moving about blindly in eternal Gloom, like the May bugs trapped in a box by a cruel child. It's easy to harm and injure us, to smash up our intricately assembled, bizarre existence. I interpret everything as abnormal, terrible and threatening. I see nothing but Catastrophes. But as the Fall is the beginning, can we possibly fall even lower?
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Prawda jest jak sękacz, składa się z wielu warstw, które kręcą się wokół siebie, raz siebie zawierają, a raz same są zawierane przez inne. Prawda to jest coś, co można wyrażać wieloma opowieściami, bo jest jak ten ogród, do którego weszli mędrcy: każdy widział co innego.
Olga Tokarczuk (Księgi Jakubowe)
Sometimes a figure carves itself out of the crowd, and then I deviate from my itinerary to follow it for a moment, start on its story. It’s a good method; I excel at it. With the years, time has become my ally, as it does for every woman—I’ve become invisible, see-through. I am able to move around like a ghost, look over people’s shoulders, listen in on their arguments and watch them sleep with their heads on their backpacks or talking to themselves, unaware of my presence, moving just their lips, forming words that I will soon pronounce for them.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Водата беше силна,жизнена,изпълнена със зелени и сини отражения и с вълнички. Синьо море. Море индиго. Графитово море. А после, когато нетърпеливото тропическо слънце докосна повърхността на водата, по него се разляха пурпурни и виолетови петна, настъпващата нощ наливаше във водата хектолитри мастило.
Olga Tokarczuk (Poslední příběhy)
W jakimś sensie takie osoby jak ona, te, które władają piórem, bywają niebezpieczne. Narzuca się od razu podejrzenie fałszu - że taka osoba nie jest sobą, tylko okiem, które bezustannie patrzy, a to, co widzi, zamienia w zdania; w ten sposób okrawa rzeczywistość ze wszystkiego, co w niej najważniejsze, z niewyrażalności.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
Хората - които самите са всъщност процес - се боят от това, което е непостоянно и винаги променливо, затова са измислили нещо, което не съществува - непроменливостта, и са сметнали, че това, което е вечно и непроменливо, е съвършено. Затова приписали на Бог непроменливост. И по този начин са загубили способността да го разбират.
Olga Tokarczuk (Primeval and Other Times)
Uvečer promatram Veneru, podrobno pratim promjene te lijepe Gospođice. Više je volim kao večernju zvijezdu, kada se pojavljuje niotkud, kao začarana, i spušta za Suncem, Iskra vječne svjetlosti. Upravo u Sumrak zbivaju se najzanimljivije stvari, jer tada se zaglađuju jednostavne razlike. Mogla bih živjeti u vječnom Sumraku." str. 48.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
One for sorrow, two for joy. So they said when I was a child, but there were fewer Magpies then.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
S gledišta prirode nema korisnih i nekorisnih bića. To je samo glupavo razlikovanje koje primjenjuju ljudi." str. 156.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
...сънят успява да изгради плавни граници между събитията.Наистина нищо не може да започне или да свърши, докато сънят не сложи край на деня.
Olga Tokarczuk (Poslední příběhy)
Зеленикавосинкавият цвят на водата е компрес за убодените от слънцето очи.
Olga Tokarczuk (Poslední příběhy)
They weren’t real travelers: they left in order to return.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
It occurred to me that every unjustly inflictd death deserved public exposure. Even an Insect's. A death that nobody noticed was twice as scandalous.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Literatura to szczególny rodzaj wiedzy, to... (...) ... doskonałość form nieprecyzyjnych.
Olga Tokarczuk (Księgi Jakubowe)
Everything is hypothetical in hell.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
The truth is terrible: describing is destroying.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
It is widely known, after all, that real life takes place in movement.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Annushka also needs to feel someone’s gaze on her, to feel that her crying is witnessed by someone, to feel it isn’t just addressing a void.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
When we were young we thought of old age as an ailment that affected only other people.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
I know the date of my own death, and that lets me feel free.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Newspapers rely on keeping us in a constant state of anxiety, on diverting our emotions away from the things that really matter to us.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Being healthy is an insecure state and does not bode well. It's better to be ill in a quiet way, then at least we know what we're going to die of.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
But children aren’t people. Children become people when they wriggle out of your arms and say “no.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
This is in essence what interested him the most: In what way do such distinct substances as the body and the soul connect in the human body and act upon one another?
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
me, a homegrown detective, a private investigator of signs and coincidences. He evidently noticed my unease,
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Świat mógł powstać tylko dlatego, że Bóg go opuścił. Najpierw było coś, a potem tego zabrakło. To jest świat. Świat cały jest brakiem.
Olga Tokarczuk (Księgi Jakubowe)
jeżeli ktoś zaczyna zdanie od słowa "zawsze", to znaczy, ze stracił kontakt ze światem, i że mówi o sobie
Olga Tokarczuk (House of Day, House of Night)
One has to tell people what to think. There's no alternative. Otherwise someone else will do it.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
checks the sick soggy plaster with his finger, the wet paint leaving a mark on his skin. The stains on the walls make maps of countries he can’t recognize, he can’t name.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Whose intellect can have had the audacity to judge who is better, and who worse?
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
The prison is not outside, but inside each of us.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Once we have reached a certain age, it’s hard to be reconciled to the fact that people are always going to be impatient with us.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Change is the nobler thing than permanence; that that which is static will degenerate and decay, turn to ash, while that which is in motion is able to last for all eternity. (P4)
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
(the face turns out to be one of the most superficial characteristics of the whole human form),
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Fluidity, mobility, illusoriness—these are precisely the qualities that make us civilized.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
The last time I had brought him maps, for I had heard that nothing cures melancholy like looking at maps.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
People are always far away.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Reality has grown old and gone senile; after all, it is definitely subject to the same laws as every living organism—it ages.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Reject everything, do not look, shut your eyes and change your gaze, awaken another one that almost everyone has, but that few use.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
You know what, sometimes it seems to me we’re living in a world that we fabricate for ourselves. We decide what’s good and what isn’t, we draw maps of meanings for ourselves . . . And then we spend our whole lives struggling with what we have invented for ourselves. The problem is that each of us has our own version of it, so people find it hard to understand each other.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Gnjev uvijek za sobom ostavlja puno praznoga mjesta na koje se odmah, kao poplava, ulijeva tuga i teče velika rijeka., bez početka i kraja. Suze, opet su se obnovili njihovi izvori." str. 235.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
In reality, movement doesn’t exist. Like the turtle in Zeno’s paradox, we’re heading nowhere, if anything we’re simply wandering into the interior of a moment, and there is no end, nor any destination.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Odrasla sam u lijepom razdoblju koje je, nažalost, već prošlo. Bilo je u njemu velike spremnosti na promjene i sposobnosti snivanja revolucionarnih vizija. Danas više nitko nema hrabrosti izmisliti nešto novo. Neprekidno se govori kako jest i razvijaju stare ideje. Stvarnos se postarala, postala čangrizavom, jer i ona odlučno podliježe istim zakonima kao i svaki živi organizam - stari. Njezini najsitniji sastavni dijelovi - smislovi, podliježu apoptozi kao i stanice tijela. Apoptoza je prirodna smrt, uzrokovana umorom i iscrpljivanjem materije. Na grčkom ta riječ znači "opadanje lišća". Svijetu je opalo lišće.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
Držim, naime, da je ljudska psiha stvorena da nas obrani od sagledavanja istine. Da nam ne dopusti izravno sagledati mehanizam. Psiha je naš obrambeni sustav - skrbi za to da nikada ne pojmimo ono što nas okružuje. Bavi se uglavnom filtriranjem obavijesti i pored toga što su mogućnosti našeg mozga goleme. Jer to se znanje ne bi moglo podnijeti. Svaki se pa i najmanji djelić svijeta sastoji od patnje." str. 219.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
As I gazed at the black-and-white landscape of the Plateau I realized that sorrow is an important word for defining the world. It lies at the foundations of everything, it is the fifth element, the quintessence.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
With age, many men come down with testosterone autism, the symptoms of which are a gradual decline in social intelligence and capacity for interpersonal communication, as well as a reduced ability to formulate thoughts.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
My Venus is damaged, or in exile, that’s what you say of a Planet that can’t be found in the sign where it should be. What’s more, Pluto is in a negative aspect to Venus, and in my case Pluto rules the Ascendant. The result of this situation is that I have, as I see it, Lazy Venus syndrome. That’s what I call this Conformity. In this case we’re dealing with a Person whom fortune has gifted generously, but who has entirely failed to use their potential. Such People are bright and intelligent, but don’t apply themselves to their studies, and use their intelligence to play card games or patience instead. They have beautiful bodies, but they destroy them through neglect, poison themselves with harmful substances, and ignore doctors and dentists. This Venus induces a strange kind of laziness—lifetime opportunities are missed, because you overslept, because you didn’t feel like going, because you were late, because you were neglectful. It’s a tendency to be sybaritic, to live in a state of mild semiconsciousness, to fritter your life away on petty pleasures, to dislike effort and be devoid of any penchant for competition. Long mornings, unopened letters, things put off for later, abandoned projects. A dislike of any authority and a refusal to submit to it, going your own way in a taciturn, idle manner. You could say such people are of no use at all.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Jaka to rozkosz, jaka słodycz życia – siedzieć w chłodnym domu, pić herbatę, pogryzać ciasto i czytać. Przeżuwać długie zdania, smakować ich sens, odkrywać nagle w mgnieniu sens głębszy, zdumiewać się nim i pozwalać sobie zastygać z oczami wklejonymi w prostokąt szyby. Herbata stygnie w delikatnej filiżance; nad jej powierzchnią unosi się koronkowy dymek, który znika w powietrzu zostawiając ledwie uchwytny zapach. Sznureczki liter na białej stronie książki dają schronienie oczom, rozumowi, całemu człowiekowi. Okruszki ciasta wysypują się na serwetę, zęby dzwonią leciutko o porcelanę. W ustach zbiera się ślina, bo mądrość jest apetyczna jak drożdżowe ciasto, ożywiająca jak herbata.
Olga Tokarczuk (House of Day, House of Night)
It's clear that the largest things are contained in the smallest. There can be no doubt about it. At this very moment, as I write, there's a planetary configuration on this table, the entire Cosmos if you like: a thermometer, a coin, an aluminum spoon and a porcelain cup. A key, a mobile phone, a piece of paper and pen. And one of my grey hairs, whose atoms preserve the memory of the origins of life, of the cosmic Catastrophe that gave the world its beginning.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Everything about my own face that seemed to me familiar and obvious had vanished; what remained was a distinctive scattering of dots that symbolized the planets set against the celestial vault. I cannot be someone other than I am. How awful.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Gdyby umieć spojrzeć tak, jak Jenta to widzi, zobaczyłoby się, że w istocie świat składa się ze słów, które raz powiedziane, roszczą sobie odtąd pretensje do wszelkiego porządku i wszystko wydaje się dziać pod ich dyktando, wszystko im podlega.
Olga Tokarczuk (Księgi Jakubowe)
The planet’s witnessing the appearance of a new creature now, ones that have already conquered all continents and almost every ecological niche. They travel in packs and are anemophilous, covering large distances without difficulty. Now I see them from the window of the bus, these airborne anemones, whole packs of them, roaming the desert. Individual specimens cling on tight to brittle little desert plants, fluttering noisily-perhaps this is the way they communicate. The experts say these plastic bags open up a whole new chapter of earthly existence, breaking nature’s age-old habits. They’re made up of their surfaces exclusively, empty on the inside, and this historic forgoing of all content unexpectedly affords them great evolutionary benefits.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Марта казваше, че косъмът, който расте, събира мислите на човека. Акумулира ги в себе си под формата на неопределени частици. Така че, ако човек иска да забрави нещо, да го промени и да започне отначало, трябва да отреже косата си и да я закопае в земята.
Olga Tokarczuk (House of Day, House of Night)
Treba imati otvorene oči i uši, povezivati činjenice, vidjeti sličnosti tamo gdje drugi vide potpunu različitost, pamtiti da se s tanoviti događaji zbivaju na različitim razinama, ili, govoreći drugim riječima, puno događaja su aspekti istog. Da je svijet velika mreža, da je cjelina i da nema nijedne stvari koja bi bila zasebna. Da je svaki, čak i najmanji djelić svijeta s drugima povezan složenim Svemirom korespondencija u koje je teško proniknuti običnom umu. Tako to djeluje. Poput japanskog auta." str. 60.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
Какъв разкош, каква сладост на живота - да седиш в хладната къща, да пиеш чай, да си похапваш сладкиш и да четеш. Да предъвкваш дългите изречения, да вкусваш смисъла им, да откриваш неочаквано, в един миг, по-дълбок смисъл, да се изумяваш над него и да си позволяваш да застинеш с очи, влепени в правоъгълника на стъклото. Чаят изстива в изисканата чашка; над повърхността и се носи дантелена пара, която изчезва във въздуха, оставяйки едва доловим аромат. Въженцата на буквите върху бялата страница на книгата дават убежище на очите, на разума, на целия човек. Това прави света открит и безопасен. Трохите сладкиш се посипват по салфетката, зъбите лекичко звънят о порцелана. В устата се събира слюнка, защото мъдростта е апетитна като козуначения сладкиш, живителна като чая.
Olga Tokarczuk (House of Day, House of Night)
One must keep one's eyes and ears open, one must know how to match up the facts, see similarity where others see total difference, remember that certain events occur at various levels or, to put it another way, many incidents are aspects of the same, single occurrence. And that the world is a great big net, it is a whole, where no single thing exists separately; every scrap of the world, every last tiny piece, is bound up with the rest by a complex Cosmos of correspondences, hard for the ordinary mind to penetrate.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Колко болезнено е да се обичан за нищо, тоест, заради това, че те има. Какво безпокойство носи такава любов. Как мислите е оплитат от недоверие, а сърцето набъбва от ускорените удари. Как светът се отдръпва и губи осезаемостта си. Криша изведнъж се почуствала самотна.
Olga Tokarczuk (House of Day, House of Night)
People think they live more intensely than animals, than plants, and especially than things. Animals sense that they live more intensely than plants and things. Plants dream that they live more intensely than things. But things last, and this lasting is more alive than anything else.
Olga Tokarczuk (Primeval and Other Times)
Here Mankind is not governed by the rules of reason, stupid and strict, but by the heart and intuition. The people do not indulge in idle chatter, parading what they know, but create remarkable things by applying their imagination. The state ceases to impose the shackles of daily oppression, but helps people to realize their hopes and dreams. And Man is not just a cog in the system, not just playing a role, but a free Creature. That’s what was passing through my mind, making my bed-rest almost a pleasure. Sometimes I think that only the sick are truly healthy.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
В някакъв смисъл такива като нея, дето владеят перото, биват опасни. Веднага възниква подозрение да фалш – че такава персона не е себе си, а само око, което гледа непрекъснато, и това, което вижда, обръща в изречения; така лишава действителността от най-важното в нея – неизразимостта.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
A syndrome is small, portable, not weighed down by theory, episodic. You can explain something with it and then discard it. A disposable instrument of cognition. Mine is called Recurrent Detoxification Syndrome. Without the bells and whistles, its description boils down to the insistence of one’s consciousness on returning to certain images, or even the compulsive search for them. It is a variant of the Mean World Syndrome, which has been described fairly exhaustively in neuropsychological studies as a particular type of infection caused by the media. It’s quite a bourgeois ailment, I suppose. Patients spend long hours in front of the TV, thumbing at their remote controls through all the channels till they find the ones with the most horrendous news: wars, epidemics, and disasters. Then, fascinated by what they’re seeing, they can’t tear themselves away. The symptoms themselves
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Gradually I felt flooded by a powerful sense of communion with the people passing by. Each man was my brother and each woman my sister. We were so very much alike. So fragile, impermanent, and easily destroyed. We trustingly went to and fro beneath the sky, which had nothing good in store for us.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
To my mind, Death should be followed by the annihilation of matter. That would be the best solution for the body. Like this, annihilated bodies would go straight back into the black holes whence they came. The Souls would travel at the speed of light into the light. If such a thing as the Soul exists.
Olga Tokarczuk
- Сънувах – обади се Кклоска – че луната почука на прозореца ми и каза: „Нямаш майка, Клоске, а дъщеря ти няма баба, нали?” „Да” – отговорих. А тя: „В селото има самотна добра жена, която нараних, вече даже не знам защо. Няма нито деца, нито внуци. Иди при нея и й кажи да ми прости. Вече съм стара и имам слаб ум.” Така ми каза. И добави още: „Ще я намериш на Хълма. Там ме ругае, когато всеки месец се показвам на света в целия си образ.” Тогава я попитах „Защо искаш да ти прости? За какво ти е прошката на някой човек?” А тя отвърна: „Защото страданията на хората дълбаят тъмни бръчки на лицето ми. Един ден ще изгасна от болката на хората.” Така ми каза, затова дойдох тук. Флорентинка погледна проницателно в очите Клоска. - Истина ли е това? - Истина е. Самата истина. - Иска да й простя? - Да. - И ти да ми станеш дъщеря, а тя – внучка? - Така ми каза. Флорентинка вдигна лице към небето и нещо проблясна в бледите й очи.
Olga Tokarczuk (Primeval and Other Times)
They are more than travel hubs: this is a special category of city-state, with a stable location, but citizens in flux.They are airport-republics...(a)n example of an extroverted system,where the constitution is spelled out on every ticket, and where one's boarding pass is one's only identification as a citizen.
Olga Tokarczuk
Być obcym to być wolnym. Mieć za sobą wielką przestrzeń, step, pustynię. [...] Mieć swoją historię, nie dla każdego, własną opowieść, napisaną śladami, jakie zostawia się po sobie. Wszędzie czuć się gościem, domy zasiedlać tylko na jakiś czas, nie przejmować się sadem, raczej cieszyć się winem, niż przywiązywać do winnicy. Nie rozumieć języka, przez co widzieć lepiej gesty i miny, wyraz ludzkich oczu, emocje, które pojawiają się na twarzach niby cienie chmur. Uczyć się cudzej mowy od początku, w każdym miejscu po trochę, porównywać słowa i znajdować porządki podobieństw. Trzeba tego stanu uważnie pilnować, bo daje ogromną moc.
Olga Tokarczuk (Księgi Jakubowe)
In a way, people like her, who wield a pen, can be dangerous. At once a suspicion of fakery springs to mind - that such a Person is not him or herself, but an eye that's constantly watching, and whatever it sees it changes into sentences; in the process it strips reality of its most essential quality - its inexpressibility.
Olga Tokarczuk
In a way, people like her, those who wield a pen, can be dangerous. At once a suspicion of fakery springs to mind—that such a Person is not him- or herself, but an eye that’s constantly watching, and whatever it sees it changes into sentences; in the process it strips reality of its most essential quality—its inexpressibility.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
I find the satellite pictures and the curvature of the Earth very moving. So is it true that we live on the surface of a sphere, exposed to the gaze of the planets, left in a great void, where after the Fall the light was smashed to smithereens and blown apart? It is true. We should remember that every day, for we do tend to forget.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Boros's presence reminded me what it's like to live with someone. And how very awkward it is. How much it diverts you from your own thoughts and distracts you. How another Person starts to irritate you without actually doing anything annoying, but simply by being there. Each morning when he went off to the forest, I blessed my glorious solitude. How do people manage to spend decades living together in a small space? I wondered. How can they possibly sleep in the same bed together, breathing on and jostling each other accidentally in their sleep? I'm not saying it hasn't happened to me too. For some time I shared my bed with a Catholic, and nothing good came of it.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Te osobe stvaraju dojam kao da je u njima sačuvano više sjećanja na našu nevinost, kao da su čudo prirode i da ih nije dokraja izudarao Pad. Možda su glasnici, poput onih slugug koji pronađu izgubljenog kraljevića, koji nije svjestan svoga podrijetla, pa mu pokazuju ruho što ga je nosio u svojoj zemlji i podsjećaju na povratak kući." str. 127.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
When I heard Good News’s account of her life, I mentally began to formulate questions that start with the words “Why don’t you . . . ,” followed by a description of what—in our view—one should do in this sort of situation. My lips were on the point of producing one of these impertinent “why don’t yous” when I bit my tongue. That’s just what the color magazines do—just for a moment I’d wanted to be like them: they tell us what we’ve failed to do, where we’ve messed up, what we’ve neglected; ultimately they set us on ourselves, filling us with self-contempt. So I didn’t say a word. Other people’s life stories are not a topic for debate. One should hear them out, and reciprocate in the same coin.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
„Gdyby tak można odmłodzić człowieka, jak drzewo. Ściąć z niego złe wspomnienia, zeskrobać cały ból, wszelkie rozczarowania, jak martwą tkankę; poobcinać błędy, głupie decyzje, pomyłki, prześwietlić myśli. I żeby to można było robić po każdej zimie, żeby się w nowy rok wchodziło czystym i niewinnym. Wiadomo przecież – któraś z kolejnych zim nas zabije.
Olga Tokarczuk (Ostatnie historie)
Within our bodies disintegration inexorably advances; soon we shall fall sick and die. Our loved ones will leave us, the memory of them will dissolve in the tumult; nothing will remain. Just a few clothes in the wardrobe and someone in a photograph, no longer recognized. The most precious memories will dissipate. Everything will sink into darkness and vanish.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Tenderness is the most modest form of love. ……..Tenderness is spontaneous and disinterested; it goes far beyond empathetic fellow feeling. Instead it is the conscious, though perhaps slightly melancholy, common sharing of fate. Tenderness is deep emotional concern about another being, its fragility, its unique nature, and its lack of immunity to suffering and the effects of time. Tenderness perceives the bonds that connect us, the similarities and sameness between us. It is a way of looking that shows the world as being alive, living, interconnected, cooperating with, and codependent on itself. — Olga Tokarczuk, "The Tender Narrator," Translated by Jennifer Croft and Antonia Lloyd-Jones, from Nobel Lecture, 7 December 2019
Olga Tokarczuk
Да си представяш е цяло творение, мост на помирение между материята и духа. Особено когато се прави често и интензивно. Тогава картината се превръща в капка материя и се включва в потока на живота. Понякога по пътя нещо в нея се деформира и се променя. Затова пък всички желания на хората, ако са достатъчно силни, се сбъдват. Но не винаги докрай така, както се очаква.
Olga Tokarczuk (Primeval and Other Times)
Imagination is essentially creative; it is a bridge reconciling matter and spirit. Especially when it is done intensely and often. Then the image turns into a drop of matter, and joins the currents of life. Sometimes along the way something in it gets distorted and changes. Therefore, if they are strong enough, all human desires come true — but not always entirely as expected.
Olga Tokarczuk (Primeval and Other Times)
W Polsce jest inaczej. Niech kuzynka popatrzy, Polska to kraj, gdzie wolność religijna i nienawiść religijna w równym się stopniu spotykają. Z jednej strony Żydzi mogą tu praktykować swoją religię, jak chcą, mają swoje swobody i sądownictwo własne. Z drugiej zaś nienawiść do nich jest tak wielka, że samo słowo „Żyd” jest w poniewierce i dobrzy chrześcijanie używają go jako przekleństwa.
Olga Tokarczuk (Księgi Jakubowe)
Nie powinno się wierzyć zdjęciom – sugerują, że czas pozbawia ludzi siebie samych, że tnie nasze życie na małe kawałki i maceruje tym samym nasze dusze. Że w ten sposób tracimy siebie część po części. A przecież – tak myślę – dojście do końca jest zebraniem wszystkiego w garść, ujęciem w jedną małą kolekcję chwil życia. Nie żadną stratą, a wręcz przeciwnie – odnalezieniem tego, co zostało pogubione.
Olga Tokarczuk (Ostatnie historie)
Kiedy wyruszam w podróż znikam z map. Nikt nie wie, gdzie jestem. W punkcie, z którego wyruszyłam czy w punkcie, do którego dążę? Czy istnieje jakieś pomiędzy. Czy obowiązuje mnie to samo prawo, z którego dumna jest fizyka kwantowa – że cząstka może istnieć jednoczenie w dwóch miejscach? Czy inne, o którym jeszcze nie wiemy i którego nie udowodniono – że można podwójnie nie istnieć w jednym i tym samym miejscu?
Olga Tokarczuk (Bieguni)
Constellation, not sequencing, carries truth. This is why travel psychology envisions man in equivalently weighted situations, without trying to lend his life any—even approximate—continuity. Life is made up of situations. There is, of course, a certain inclination toward the repetition of behaviors. This repetition does not, however, mean that we should succumb in our imaginations to the appearance of any sort of consistent whole.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Който е виждал някога планината през късна есен, когато по дърветата още висят последните измръзнали листа, покрити с глазурата на сланите; когато земята е по-топла от небето и бавно умира под дантелите на първите снегове; когато изпод изсъхналите треви започват да се оголват нейните каменни кости; когато от размитите краища на хоризонта започва да се просмуква тъмнина; когато звуците изведнъж стават остри и висят в мразовития въздух като ножове - той е изпитал смъртта на света. Но аз бих казал, че светът умира постоянно, ден след ден, макар че по някакви съображения едва късната есен разбулва цялата тайна на тази смърт. И единственото живо място, което се противи на това разпадане, е чевешкото тяло, но не цялото - само една малка негова част, туптяща под сърцето, в самия център, в средата на гърдите, където невидим за очите пулсира изворът на всякакъв живот.
Olga Tokarczuk (House of Day, House of Night)
Богородица от Йешкотле с цялата си воля помагаше на болните и недъгавите. Беше вписана в иконата със силата на божественото чудо. Когато хората обръщаха лицата си към нея, когато мърдаха устни, стискаха ръце на корема или ги събираха на височината на сърцето, Богородица от Йешкотле им даваше сила и оздравителна мощ. Даваше я на всички, без изключение, не от милосърдие, а заради това, че такава беше нейната природа – да дава оздравителна мощ на тези, които се нуждаят от нея. Какво ставаше по-нататък – това решаваха хората. Едни позволяваха в себе си на тази сила да подейства и оздравяваха. Връщаха се после с фигурки – отлети от сребро, мед или дори от злато миниатюри на излекуваните части на тялото, с мъниста, верижки, на които е изобразена иконата. Други позволяваха на мощта да изтече от тях като от пробит съд и да попие в земята. А после губеха вярата в чудеса.
Olga Tokarczuk
Миша като всеки човек се роди разбира на части, непълна, на парчета. Всичко в нея беше отделно – гледането, слушането, разбирането, усещането, чувствата и възприятията. Рефлекси и инстинкти владееха малкото й тяло. Целият бъдещ живот на Миша щеше да се състои в събирането на това в едно цяло, а после в позволението му да се разпадне. Нуждаеше се от някого, който би застанал пред нея и би бил огледало за нея, в когото да се отрази цялата.
Olga Tokarczuk (Primeval and Other Times)
There are two kinds of learning, from the inside and from the outside. The fist is regarded as the best, or even the only kind. And so people learn through distant journeys, watching, reading, universities and lectures — they learn from what is happening outside them. Man is a stupid creature who had to learn. So he tacks knowledge onto himself, he gathers it like a bee, gaining more and more of it, putting it to use and processing it. But the thing inside that is "stupid" and needs learning doesn't change. Cornspike learned by absorbing things from the outside to the inside. Knowledge that is only grown on the outside changes nothing inside a man, or merely changes him on the surface, as one garment is changed for another. But he who learns by taking things inside himself undergoes constant transformation, because he incorporates what he learns into his being. So by taking the stinking, dirty peasants from Primeval and the district into herself, Cornspike became just like them, was drunk just like them, frightened by the war just like them, and aroused just like them. What's more, by taking them into herself in the bushes behind the inn, Cornspike also took in their wives, their children, and their stuffy, stinking wooden cottages around Maybug Hill. In a way she took the entire village into herself, every pain in the village, and every hope.
Olga Tokarczuk (Primeval and Other Times)
Ne, ne, ljudi u našoj zemlji ne znaju se udružiti i stvoriti zajednicu, čak i pod vrganjevim barjakom. To je zemlja neurotičnih individualista, od kojih svaki, čim se nađe među drugima, počinje poučavati, kritizirati, vrijeđati i pokazivati svoju nedvojbenu nadmoćost. Mislim da je u Češkoj posve drugačije. Tamo ljudi znaju mirno raspravljati i nitko se ni s kim ne svađa. Čak i kada bi htjeli, ne bi mogli jer im jezik nije prikladan za svađu." str. 185.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
Anyone who has ever tried to write a novel knows what an arduous task it is, undoubtedly one of the worst ways of occupying oneself. You have to remain within yourself all the time, in solitary confinement. It’s a controlled psychosis, an obsessive paranoia manacled to work, completely lacking in the feather pens and bustles and Venetian masks we would ordinarily associate with it, clothed instead in a butcher’s apron and rubber boots, eviscerating knife in hand.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
He thought of his old name. He’d almost forgotten it. He said it out loud, and it sounded as though he were being called by some stranger. He felt the familiar pressure in his head after yesterday’s drinking. Because it must be noted that Chinese people have two names: one given by their families, used to summon the child, scold and punish him, but also the basis for affectionate nicknames. But when the child goes out into the world, he or she takes another name, an outside name, a world name, a personage name. Donned like a uniform, a surplice, a prison jumpsuit, an outfit for a formal cocktail party. This outside name is useful and easy to remember. From here on out it will corroborate its person. Best if it’s worldly, universal, recognizable to everyone; down with the locality of our names. Down with Oldrzich, Sung Yin, Kazimierz, and Jyrek; down with Blażen, Liu, and Milica. Long live Michael, Judith, Anna, Jan, Samuel, and Eryk!
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
People are built like houses inside- they have stairwells, spacious halls, vestibules that are always too weakly lit to count the doors into the rooms, row upon row of apartments, damp chambers, slimy, tiled bathrooms with cast-iron baths, steps with handrails taut as veins, artery-like corridors, joint-like landings, passages, guest rooms, draughty chambers into which a sudden current of warm air flows, closets, twists and turns and cubby-holes, and larders full of forgotten supplies.
Olga Tokarczuk (House of Day, House of Night)
Sada mi se razjasnilo zašto čeke, streljačke tornjeve, koji uostalom jako podsjećaju na stražarske tornjeve u koncentracijskim logorim, nazivaju amboni – propovjedaonice. Na propovjedaonici Čovjek se postavlja iznad drugih Bića i priznaje sam sebi pravo na njihove živote i smrti. Postaje tiranin i uzurpator. Svećenik je govorio nadahnuto, zamalo pa u ekstazi: - Sebi zemlju podložite. Vama je lovcima, Bog uputio ove riječi, jer Bog čini Čovjeka svojim pomoćnikom da sudjeluje u djelu stvaranja. (...)
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
There are two kinds of learning, from the inside and from the outside. The first is regarded as the best, or even the only kind. And so people learn through distant journeys, watching, reading, universities and lectures — they learn from what is happening outside them. Man is a stupid creature who has to learn. So he tacks knowledge onto himself, he gathers it like a bee, gaining more and more of it, putting it to use and processing it. But the thing inside that is “stupid” and needs learning doesn’t change.
Olga Tokarczuk (Primeval and Other Times)
it must be noted that Chinese people have two names: one given by their families, used to summon the child, scold and punish him, but also the basis for affectionate nicknames. But when the child goes out into the world, he or she takes another name, an outside name, a world name, a personage-name. Donned like a uniform, a surplice, a prison jumpsuit, an outfit for a formal cocktail. This outside name is useful and easy to remember. From here on out it will corroborate its person. Best if it’s worldly, universal, recognizable to everyone; down with the locality of our names.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Blake would say that there are some places in the Universe where the Fall has not occurred, the world has not turned upside down and Eden still exists. Here Mankind is not governed by the rules of reason, stupid and strict, but by the heart and intuition. The people do not indulge in idle chatter, parading what they know, but create remarkable things by applying their imagination. The state ceases to impose the shackles of daily oppression, but helps people to realize their hopes and dreams. And Man is not just a cog in the system, not just playing a role, but a free Creature.
Olga Tokarczuk
I have always regarded the feet as the most intimate and personal part of our bodies, and not the genitals, not the heart, or even the brain, organs of no great significance that are too highly valued. It is in the feet that all knowledge of Mankind lies hidden; the body sends them a weighty sense of who we really are and how we relate to the earth. It's in the touch of the earth, at its point of contact with the body that the whole mystery is located - the fact that we're built of elements of matter, while also being alien to it, separated from it. The feet - those are our plugs into the socket.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
I often dreamed of watching without being seen. Of spying. Of being the perfect observer. Like that camera obscura I once made out of a shoebox. It photographed for me a part of the world through a black closed space with a microscopic pupil through which light sneaks inside. I was training. The best place for this kind of training is Holland, where people, convinced of their utter innocence, do not use curtains. After dusk the windows turn into little stages on which actors act out their evenings. Sequences of images bathed in yellow, warm light are the individual acts of the same production titled Life.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
have a Theory about it. With age, many men come down with testosterone autism, the symptoms of which are a gradual decline in social intelligence and capacity for interpersonal communication, as well as a reduced ability to formulate thoughts. The Person beset by this Ailment becomes taciturn and appears to be lost in contemplation. He develops an interest in various Tools and machinery, and he’s drawn to the Second World War and the biographies of famous people, mainly politicians and villains. His capacity to read novels almost entirely vanishes; testosterone autism disturbs the character’s psychological understanding.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
He said that death marks places like a dog marking its territory. Some people can sense it right away, while others simply start to feel uncomfortable after a time. Every stay in any place betrays the quiet ubiquitousness of the dead. As he said: ‘At first you always see what’s alive and vibrant. You’re delighted by nature, by the local church painted in different colours, by the smells and all that. But the longer you’re in a place, the more the charm of those things fades. You wonder who lived here before you came to this home and this room, whose things these are, who scratched the wall above the bed and what tree the sills were cut from. Whose hands built the elaborately decorated fireplace, paved the courtyard? And where are they now? In what form? Whose idea led to these paths around the pond and who had the idea of planting a willow out the window? All the houses, avenues, parks, gardens and streets are permeated with the deaths of others. Once you start feeling this, something starts to pull you elsewhere, you start to think it’s time to move on.’ He added that when we are in motion, there’s no time for such idle meditations. Which is why to people on trips everything seems new and clean, virginal, and, in some sense, immortal.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Един ден, когато Изидор се вглеждаше в своето парче небе, получи просветление. Разбра, че Бог не е нито мъж, нито жена. Позна това, когато си казваше думата „Боже”. В тази дума се криеше развръзката на проблема с пола на Бога. „Боже” звучеше по същия начин като „слънце”, като „въздух“, като „място”, като „поле”, като „море”, като „живото”, като „тъмно”, „светло”, „студено“, „топло”... Изидор с вълнение повтаряше откритото божие име и след всеки път знаеше все повече и повече. Боже беше младо, но същевременно съществуваше от началото на света или и по-рано, защото „Боже” звучи по същия начин като ‘винаги”), беше необходимо за всеки живот (както „изхранване”), намираше се във всичко (като „навсякъде”), но когато се опиташ да го намериш, нямаше нищо („като „никъде”). Боже беше пълно с любов и радост, но се случваше да бъде жестоко и опасно. Имаше в себе си всички черти и качества, които съществуват на света, и приемаше образа на всяко нещо, на всяко събитие, на всяко време. Твореше или унищожаваше или позволяваше сътвореното да се разрушава само. Беше непредвидимо като дете, като някой побъркан. По определен начин приличаше на Иван Мукта. Боже съществуваше по толкова очевиден начин, че Изидор се чудеше как е могъл някога да не си дава сметка за това.
Olga Tokarczuk (Primeval and Other Times)
Nekoliko dana mi je jako nedostajao – njegova kozmetika u kupaonici i čak njegove prazne šalice čaja koje je ostavljao po cijeloj kući. Svakodnevno je nazivao. Potom malo rjeđe, svaki drugi dan, recimo. Glas mu je zvučao kao da živi u drugoj dimenziji, u nekakvom drugom svijetu na sjeveru zemlje, gdje drveće ima tisuće godina, a velike se Životinje među njim kreću usporeno, izvanvremenski. Spokojno sam promatrala kako slika Borosa Sznajdera, entomologa i tafonoma, blijedi i razilazi se, od njega ostaje samo sijeda pleteničica što visi u zraku, apsurdna. Sve prolazi. Pametan Čovjek to zna od početka i ni za čim ne žali." str. 176.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
I had my Theory about interjections of this kind: ever single Person has their own expression which he or she overuses. Or uses incorrectly. These words or phrases are the key to their intellect. Mr. "Apparently," Mr. "Generally," Mrs. "Probably," Mr. "Fucking," Mrs. "Don't You Think?," Mr. "As If,". The President was Mr. "In Truth." Of course there are entire fashions for some words, just like the ones that for some crazy reason suddenly make everyone going about in identical shoes or clothes - people just as suddenly start using one particular word or phrase. Recently the word, "generally" was fashionable, but now "actually" is out in front.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Sparks come from the very source of light and are made of the purest brightness—so say the oldest legends. When a human Being is to be born, a spark begins to fall. First it flies through the darkness of outer space, then through galaxies, and finally, before it falls here, to Earth, the poor thing bumps into the orbits of planets. Each of them contaminates the spark with some Properties, while it darkens and fades. First Pluto draws the frame for this cosmic experiment and reveals its basic principles—life is a fleeting incident, followed by death, which will one day let the spark escape from the trap; there’s no other way out. Life is like an extremely demanding testing ground. From now on everything you do will count, every thought and every deed, but not for you to be punished or rewarded afterward, but because it is they that build your world. This is how the machine works. As it continues to fall, the spark crosses Neptune’s belt and is lost in its foggy vapors. As consolation Neptune gives it all sorts of illusions, a sleepy memory of its exodus, dreams about flying, fantasy, narcotics and books. Uranus equips it with the capacity for rebellion; from now on that will be proof of the memory of where the spark is from. As the spark passes the rings of Saturn, it becomes clear that waiting for it at the bottom is a prison. A labor camp, a hospital, rules and forms, a sickly body, fatal illness, the death of a loved one. But Jupiter gives it consolation, dignity and optimism, a splendid gift: things-will-work-out. Mars adds strength and aggression, which are sure to be of use. As it flies past the Sun, it is blinded, and all that it has left of its former, far-reaching consciousness is a small, stunted Self, separated from the rest, and so it will remain. I imagine it like this: a small torso, a crippled being with its wings torn off, a Fly tormented by cruel children; who knows how it will survive in the Gloom. Praise the Goddesses, now Venus stands in the way of its Fall. From her the spark gains the gift of love, the purest sympathy, the only thing that can save it and other sparks; thanks to the gifts of Venus they will be able to unite and support each other. Just before the Fall it catches on a small, strange planet that resembles a hypnotized Rabbit, and doesn’t turn on its own axis, but moves rapidly, staring at the Sun. This is Mercury, who gives it language, the capacity to communicate. As it passes the Moon, it gains something as intangible as the soul. Only then does it fall to Earth, and is immediately clothed in a body. Human, animal or vegetable. That’s the way it is. —
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
My Ailments appear treacherously; I never know when they’re coming. And then something happens inside my body, my bones begin to ache. It’s an unpleasant ache, sickening – that’s the word I’d use. It continues incessantly, it doesn’t stop for hours, sometimes days on end. There’s no hiding from this pain, there are no pills or injections for it. It must hurt, just as a river must flow and fire must burn. It spitefully reminds me that I consist of physical particles, which are slipping away by the second. Perhaps one could get used to it? Learn to live with it, just as people live in the cities of Auschwitz or Hiroshima, without ever thinking about what happened there in the past. They simply live their lives.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Писателката пристигаше обикновено през май ... Приличаше на човек, който е преживял трагедията на Помпей - цялата сякаш беше посипана с пепел; лицето ѝ беше пепеляво, цветът на устните също, сивите ѝ очи и дългата коса, стегната с ластик и прибрана в малък кок високо над главата. Ако не я познавах толкова добре, сигурно щях да прочета книгите ѝ. Но понеже я познавах добре, ме беше страх от тях. Може да се откриех там, описана по начин, който не бих разбрала? Или моите любими места, които за нея не са същото, каквото за мен. В някакъв смисъл такива като нея, дето владеят перото, биват опасни. Веднага възниква подозрение за фалш - че такава персона не е себе си, а само око, което гледа непрекъснато, а това, което вижда, обръща в изречения; така лишава действителността от най-важното в нея, от неизразимостта.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
Правек и други времена" - Времето на Играта „Когато Играчът най-сетне намери изхода към Петия свят и нерешителен, както да прави по-нататък, търси помощ в упътването, каквото е Ignis fatuus, или Поучителна игра за един игра, намира следната историйка: „В Петия Свят Бог разговаря сам със себе си, когато особено го измъчва самотата. Вглежда се с обич в хората и най-вече в един от тях, на име Хиоб. <Ако, ей така, му бях взел всичко, което има, на което основава тази своя сигурност, ако му бях отнел всички блага, едно по едно, дали тогава все още би бил това, което е сега? Дали нямаше да започна за злослови и богохулства? Щеше ли да ме уважава и да ме обича, въпреки това? > Поглежда Бог отгове Хиоб и сам си отговаря: <Със сигурност не.. Той ме почита, само защото го дарявам с блага. Ще взема на Хиоб това, което съм му дал.> И Бог обелва Хиоб като лук. И плаче над него от съчувствие. Най-напред го лишава от всичко, което Хиоб е имал: къща, земя, стада, кози, работници, гори. После му отнема тези, които е обичал: деца, жени, близки и роднини. Накрая взима на Хиоб това, което го прави такъв, какъвто е: здравото тяло, здравите сетива, навиците и привързаностите. Гледа сега своето творение и е принуден да притвори божествените си очи. Хиоб искри със същата светлина, с която блести Бог. А може би дори блясъкът на Хиоб е по-силен, защото Бог е принуден да притвори божествените си очи. Уплашен, Бог забързано връща на Хиоб всичко подред, а дори му дава още нови блага. Въвежда пари за размяната им, а заедно с парите – сейфове и банки, дарява красиви предмети, мода, желания, копнежи. И непрестанно безпокойство. Обсипва Хиоб с всичко това, докато светлината му започва бавно да гасне и накрая изчезва.
Olga Tokarczuk
Sjedili smo u vrtu ispod stare jabuke na kojoj su se već zametnuli plodovi. Vrt je mirisao i šumorio. Izgubila sam osjećaj vremnea i svaka stanka među izgovorenim rečenicama činila mi se beskonačnom. Prostranstvo vremena otvorilo se pred nama. Razgovarali smo cijela stoljeća, neprestano smo govorili o istom, jednom jednim, drugi put drugim ustima, i nitko oda nas nije se sjećao da je argument s kojim se upravo sporio bio maloprije onaj koji je branio. A zapravo se uopće nismo sporili; vodili smo dijalog, trijalog, tri fauna, druga vrsta ljudi, napola ljudski, napola životinjski. I shvatila sa da nas ima puno u vrtu i šumi, lica su nam pokrivena dlakom. Čudni stvorovi. A na drvo su sletjeli naši Šišmiši i zapjevali. Njihovi tanašni, treperavi glasovi sudarali su se s mikroskopskim djelićima magle pa je Noć oko nas počela tiho zvoniti, prizivajući sva Stvorenja na noćnu pobožnost." str. 164.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
Времето на Бога" - "Правек и други времена" Странно е, че извънвремевият Бог се появява във времето и неговите промени. Ако не се знае „къде” е Бог – а хората понякога задават такива въпроси – трябва да се види всичко това, което се променя и движи, което не се вмества във формата, което се вълнува и изчезва: на повърхността на море, в танците на слънчевата корона, в земетресение, в дрейфа на континентите, в топенето на снеговете и пътищата на ледниците, в реките, които текат към моретата, в пъпките на семената, във вятъра, който резбова горите, в развитието на плода в корема на майката, в бръчките под очите, в разлагането на тялото в гроба, в узряването на виното, в гъбите, които растат след дъжд. Бог е във всеки процес. Бог пулсира в промените. Веднъж го има, друг път го има по-малко, а понякога съвсем го няма. Защото Бог се проявява дори в това, че го няма. Хората – които самите са всъщност процес – се боят от това, което е непостоянно и винаги променливо, затова са измислили нещо, което не съществува – непроменливоста, и са сметнали, че това, което е вечно и непроменливо, е съвършено. Затова приписали на Бог непроменливост. И по този начин са загубили способността да го разбират. Лятото на тридесет и девета година Бог беше във всичко наоколо, затова се случиха редки и необикновени неща. В началото Бог сътвори всички възможни неща, но сам е Бог на невъзможните неща, на тези, които или въобще не се случват, или се случват много рядко. Бог се проявяваше в боровинките с големина на сливи, които зрееха на слънце точно пред къщата на Клоска. Клоска откъсна най-узрялата. Изтри с кърпа тъмносинята й обвивка и в отражението й видя друг свят. Небето в него беше тъмно, почти черно, слънцето замъглено и далечно, горите изглеждаха като купища голи пръчки, забити в земята, а земята, пияна и клатушкаща се, страдаше от дупките. Хората хлъзваха от нея в черната бездна. Клоска изяде тази боровинка с лоша поличба и почувства върху езика си стипчивия й вкус. Разбра, че трябва да направи запаси за зимата, по-големи от когато и да е преди.
Olga Tokarczuk
[...] ludzie mają potężną potrzebę, żeby czuć się lepszymi od innych. Nieważne, kim są, muszą mieć kogoś, kto byłby gorszy od nich. Kto jest gorszy, kto lepszy, zależy od wielu przypadkowych cech. Ci, co mają jasne oczy, myślą z wyższością o tych ciemnookich. Ci ciemnoocy zaś patrzą z góry na jasnookich. Ci, co mieszkają pod lasem, czują jakąś wyższość nad tymi, co mieszkają nad stawami, i odwrotnie. Chłopi patrzą z wyższością na Żydów, Żydzi zaś z wyższością na chłopów. Mieszczanie czują się lepsi niż mieszkańcy wsi, a ci ze wsi traktują tych z miasta jak jakichś gorszych. Czy to nie jest spoiwem ludzkiego świata? Czy po to są nam potrzebni inni ludzie, żeby nam dostarczać radości, żeśmy d nich lepsi? O dziwo, nawet ci - wydawałoby się - najgorsi w swoim poniżeniu znajdują przewrotną satysfakcję, że nie ma już gorszych od nich, a więc właśnie w tym są górą. Skąd się to bierze, zastanawia się Aszer. Czy nie dałoby się człowieka naprawić? Gdyby był maszyną, jak teraz niektórzy mówią, wystarczyłoby przesunąć lekko dżwigienkę czy dokręcić małą śrubkę, a ludzie zaczęliby znajdować wielką przyjemność w traktowaniu się jak równi.
Olga Tokarczuk (Księgi Jakubowe)
„W miejscach jak ta wysepka wszyscy się w końcu do siebie upodabniają. Przybysze, wędrowcy, włóczędzy zawsze stoją wyżej, ponieważ nie powiedzieli „tak” żadnemu miejscu, a więc nie oddali się w niewolę. Domy, z których wyruszyli, ulegają chwilowemu zapomnieniu, zapadają w niebyt. Ich kraje także stają się nierealne, nie mówią o nich tutejsze gazety, nikogo nie obchodzą. Tamto życie, z którego się na jakiś czas ewakuowali, przestaje istnieć, co daje iluzję wolności. Bez miejsca i imienia, bez znajomości ich łóżek, szaf z ubraniami, ich porannego wstawania, półek z kosmetykami w łazience, słów, którymi klną, i stron w Internecie, które odwiedzają. Bo czym można jeszcze określić ludzi? – Stają się powtarzalni, wielokrotni. Im mniej jest się określonym, im mniej zależnym – tym większe złudzenie, że ma się przed sobą więcej wyborów, kręci się w głowie od możliwości samego siebie, od potencjalnych, nierozwiniętych jeszcze łańcuchów zdarzeń. Sztuką jest odkryć i utrzymać ten stan zawieszenia, nieopowiadania się po żadnej ze stron, być jak preparat w formalinie, który tkwi w przezroczystym płynie, nie dotykając żadnej ze ścian, i obojętnie daje się oglądać, jakby go śniono. Pozwalać się śnić – po to są podróże.
Olga Tokarczuk (Ostatnie historie)
It is strange that God, who is beyond the limits of time, manifests Himself within time and its transformations. If you don’t know “where” God is – and people sometimes ask such questions – you have to look at everything that changes and moves, that doesn’t fit into a shape, that fluctuates and disappears: the surface of the sea, the dances of the sun’s corona, earthquakes, the continental drift, snows melting and glaciers moving, rivers flowing to the sea, seeds germinating, the wind that sculpts mountains, a foetus developing in its mother’s belly, wrinkles near the eyes, a body decaying in the grave, wines maturing, or mushrooms growing after a rain. God is present in every process. God is vibrating in every transformation. Now He is there, now there is less of Him, but sometimes He is not there at all, because God manifests Himself even in the fact that He is not there. People – who themselves are in fact a process – are afraid of whatever is impermanent and always changing, which is why they have invented something that doesn’t exist – invariability, and recognised that whatever is eternal and unchanging is perfect. So they have ascribed invariability to God, and that was how they lost the ability to understand Him.
Olga Tokarczuk (Primeval and Other Times)
The internet itself led him from one word to the next, giving links, pointing out. When it didn’t know something it tactfully kept quiet or stubbornly showed him the same pages, ad nauseam. Then Kunicki had the impression that he had just landed at the border of the known world, at the wall, at the membrane of the heavenly firmament. There wasn’t any way to break through it with his head and look through. The internet is a fraud. It promises so much—that it will execute your every command, that it will find you what you’re looking for; execution, fulfillment, reward. But in essence that promise is a kind of bait, because you immediately fall into a trance, into hypnosis. The paths quickly diverge, double and multiply, and you go down them, still chasing an aim that will now get blurry and undergo some transformations. You lose the ground beneath your feet, the place where you started from just gets forgotten, and your aim finally vanishes from sight, disappears in the passage of more and more pages, businesses that always promise more than they can give, shamelessly pretending that under the flat plane of the screen there is some cosmos. But nothing could be more deceptive, dear Kunicki. What are you, Kunicki, looking for? What are you aiming at? You feel like spreading out your arms and plunging into it, into that abyss, but there is nothing more deceptive: the landscape turns out to be a wallpaper, you can’t go any farther.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)
Czasami, gdy Człowiek doświadcza Gniewu, wszystko wydaje się oczywiste i proste. Gniew zaprowadza porządek, pokazuje świat w oczywistym skrócie, w Gniewie powraca też dar Jasności Widzenia, o który trudno w innych stanach.
Olga Tokarczuk (Prowadź swój pług przez kości umarłych)
You know what, sometimes it seems to me we’re living in a world that
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
we fabricate for ourselves. We decide what’s good and what isn’t, we draw maps of meanings for ourselves . . . And then we spend our whole lives struggling with what we have invented for ourselves. The problem is that each of us has our own version of it, so people find it hard to understand each other.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
There’s also a stony precipice nearby, but anyone who thinks it’s a natural feature would be mistaken, for it’s the remains of an old quarry, which used to take bites out of the Plateau and would surely have consumed the whole thing eventually in the avid mouths of its diggers. They say there are plans to start it up again, at which point we shall vanish from the face of the Earth, devoured by Machines.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Mas por que, então, deveríamos ser úteis? E para quem? Quem é que dividiu o mundo em útil e inútil, e quem lhe deu o direito de fazê-lo? [...] Quem foi o dono da mente que se atreveu a tanta arrogância para julgar quem é melhor ou pior? [...] Todos conhecem o benefício do útil, mas ninguém conhece o proveito do inútil.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
Older ladies dressed like hippies would maintain that they knew what they were doing.
Olga Tokarczuk (Flights)