Richard Dawkins visited Colombia … Thanks God!

Dawkins, Richard
River Out of Eden
Phoenix Paperback, 1999

Since the moment that we started to travel to Oxford (1999), I started to hear about the books written by Richard Dawkins. A few years later both, Juan David and Constanza read some of his books (The Selfish Gene) and I got interested but didn’t read any of his books. In December 2017 Dawkins visited Bogotá, Medellín, and Cartagena and had an exciting dialogue with Gerardo Remolina, from the Jesuits. Though I wanted to attend, I didn’t because it was too expensive.

Scared by his own shadow

Anyway, I was interested because of his Darwinian position about our origin, and his clear negation about the existence of God, Heaven and Hell, the Angels, and the stories that people after people since ancient history have told us, in order to defend our transcendence and our projection, heaven and hell, into the future after we will be dead. In a very simple language, he connects the reader with the micro and macro dimensions of our world to explain a few fundamental ideas.


His statement was clear: the key purpose of life is transmitting DNA. It flows through time and not geography. It’s a river of information. In the River Out of Eden, he explains some of the key arguments.

In chapter 1 Dawkins explains why DNA is a digital river. After a precious comparison between analog (older) and digital (newer? engineering) systems, he concludes that humans share both. “The world becomes full of organisms that have what it takes to become ancestors”.2 Genes are not improved. They are just passed on. “There are now perhaps thirty million branches to the river of DNA, for that it is an estimate of the number of species on earth”. 9 “All earthly living things are certainly descended from a single ancestor”. 14 “apart from the differences in jargon, the pages of a molecular-biology journal might be interchanged with those of a computer-engineering journal”. 20 “Life is just bytes and bytes and bytes of digital information”. 22

In chapter 2, the author goes into the many beliefs, tribes, religions, etc…. and all of them are true for their believers. This is relative. Science, math, etc., are supported by evidence, while myths and faiths ”are not and do not”. 37 “It is molecular biology that has given us the charismatic African Eve. 44 “African Eve is sometimes called Mitochondrial Eve”. 51 “We get our mitochondria from our mother only”. Our conclusions are: (1) There is one Mitochondrial Eve (most recent common ancestor of all modern human s down the female path). (2) There existed one person (unknown sex) who is the most recent common ancestor – Focal Ancestor – down any pathway; (3) It is vanishingly unlikely that both are the same; (4) It is more likely that the Focal Ancestor was a male; (5) Mitochondrial Eve lived less than a quarter of millions of years ago; (6) Informed opinion still favours Africa. “The river of DNA has been flowing through our ancestors in an unbroken line that spans not less than three thousand million years”. 66

Chapter 3 is dedicated to the evolution of specific animals. Though the many cases are pretty impressive, I loved how he describes bees, and the patterns that they follow in order to indicate the existence of food in one specific direction and how they represent in a dance, the distance where the food is.

Chapter 4 is dedicated to a utility function. “The true process that has endowed wings and eyes, beaks, nesting instincts and everything else about life with the full illusion of purposeful design is now well understood.”114 “Utilitarians strive to maximize <>”.121 “What was God’s utility function?”. 122 “…everything makes sense once you assume that DNA survival is what is being maximized”. 124 “Genes don’t care about suffering because they don’t care about anything”. 153

The last chapter is dedicated to the Replication Bomb when the author goes into heredity. He describes 10 Thresholds:
1. Replicator Threshold – self-copying system. Variants compete for resources.
2. After many generations of evolution, we move into Threshold 2, the Phenotype Threshold (causal effects on something else.
3. The replicator team threshold, because the genes work in teams.
4. Many-cells threshold
5. High-speed information processing
6. Consciousness threshold (related to language?).
7. Language threshold is a MAJOR THRESHOLD.
8. Cooperative technology threshold
9. Radio threshold
10. Space travel threshold

It seems important his recommendation to read Carl Sagan’s Cosmos.  American astronomer.

The book ends “on some beneficial effects upon our normally parochial little consciousness; some echo of the poetic impact of Newton’s statue in Trinity College, Cambridge, upon the admittedly giant consciousness of William Wordsworth:

And from my pillow, looking forth by light
Of moon on favouring stars, I could behold
The antechapel where the statue stood
Of Newton with his prism and silent face,
The marble index of a mind for ever
Voyaging through strange seas of Thought, alone. 188



Thomas Merton (1915 – 1968) – “The Seven Story Mountain”, An Autobiography of Faith, A Harvest Book, Fiftieth Anniversary Edition, 1948, 1999


Ochun is syncretized with la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, who is the Patroness of Cuba.  On September 8,  Cubans show their devotion to Ochún by dressing in yellow, putting sunflowers and special treats like honey and pumpkins on her altar, lighting candles and, if possible, holding a tambor (drumming ceremony) or violín (classical music played by a solo violin or a small string orchestra) in her honor.  One reason Ochun and La Caridad del Cobre were syncretized in Cuba is that both are traditionally represented as women of mixed race, thereby thought to symbolize the Cuban people.  

During the1980s or so, I have read Merton’s “No Man is an Island”, and I got no idea about who he was. I loved that book, but I never tried to know anything else about him and / or about his work during the last 40 years.

It has been recently, when we resumed our regular sessions on meditation, that I started the timing of the sessions and I got into an app, where you can contact several meditation sessions, being Thomas Merton’s one of them. I started to read comments from other people meditating anywhere in the world and I found interesting that he was an important symbol within this tradition.

The Seven Storey Mountain has been interesting, in order to see which was his years of life and how he converted into Catholicism and decided to become a priest, at the end of 1939.

It was good to read about his family life, the relations with his dad (artist) and with his grandparents. His many types of “travels”: to London, to the USA, to Cuba, but also about his political incursions into communism and into the lack of any belief too. This writing is a masterpiece on how it describes his becoming a priest.

I loved the chapter about his visit to Cuba (before the Revolution) and how he looks for the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre (black virgin) and the poem that he writes about girls:

“The white girls lift their heads like trees, The black girls go   Reflected like flamingoes in the street.   The white girls sing as shrill as water,  The black girls talk as quiet as clay. The white girls open their arms like clouds, The black girls close their eyes like wings: Angels bow down like bells,  Angels look up like toys, Because the heavenly stars  Stand in a ring:  And all the pieces of the mosaic, earth,  Get up and flyaway like birds.”

The last half of the book is outstanding. I loved the way he combines his conversation with Christ, with the daily chores. The contrast that he establishes between contemplation and action in the normal daily life of anyone anywhere, keeping priority properly.

Here ends the book, but not the quest.



Al fin estoy leyendo a Jung!

Jung, C.G. / The Spirit in Man, Art and Literature / Ark Paperbacks, 1966

Hace muchos años que quería a comenzar a leer los libros de Jung que la Flaca comenzó a leer hace como 30 años! Hasta ahora encontré las ganas de hacerlo y ha sido un gusto enorme comenzar por este libro en que se relacionan espíritu, arte y literatura.


Me gustó mucho la estructura del texto que ayuda a elaborar el contenido. Primero Jung junta artículos que ha trabajado sobre Paracelso (el médico que es capaz de ligar la salud del cuerpo con los astros y con la filosofía), Sigmund Freud (con quien trabajó) y Richard Whilhelm (quien trae el I Ching a occidente). Luego dedica un capítulo a la relación entre Psicología Analítica y Poesía, entre Psicología y Literatura. Cierra el texto analizando el Ulises (de Joyce) y Picasso.

Encontré como limitante enorme el que salvo algunas excepciones pequeñitas, yo no he leído ninguno de los autores o los temas mencionados. El libro es una buena invitación a trabajar estos y otros autores que aparecen reseñados tales como Dante (y la Divina Comedia), Nietzsche, Goethe (y el Fausto). Llama a leer Ulises y a mirar de una manera diferente a Picasso y a otros pintores.

Me gustó cómo mira la relación del médico Paracelso con el conocimiento especial que debe tener cualquier médico con la “luz de la naturaleza”. Nacido en 1493, fue capaz de ligar a los médicos clásicos, originarios de la medicina, con diversas fuentes de conocimiento empírico y la relación con diversos campos y con la Alquimia (entendida como procedimiento filosófico). Liga la salud con la astrología y la astronomía. Sus contemporáneos lo consideraron el Lutero de la medicina, una de las figuras importantes del Renacimiento.

En el capítulo sobre Freud, Jung lanza abiertamente sus críticas a los métodos de Freud. Pero también nos llama la atención sobre la importancia de ubicar a Freud en su contexto histórico específico del materialismo científico del siglo XIX: “It is an instrument to be used by a doctor, and it is dangerous or destructive, or at best ineffective, when applied to the natural expressions of life and its needs”. 47

Uno de los capítulos que más me gustó es el dedicado a la memoria de Richard Wilhelm. Yo tenía referencias de él, pero no lo ligaba con tanta fuerza al I Ching, a la China y a la ciencia desarrollada en ése país desde hace miles de años. Es un autor para trabajar bien y con juicio:

“… it is Wilhelm who brings new light from the East. This was the cultural task to which he felt himself called, recognizing how much  the East had to offer in our spiritual need”. 58

“The spirit of Europe is not helped merely  by new sensations or a titillation of the nerves. What it has taken China thousands of years to build cannot be acquired by theft”. 58

“Nothing can be sacrificed for ever. Everything returns later in changed form, and when once a great sacrifice has been made, the sacrificed thing when it returns must meet with a healthy and resistant body that can take the shock”. 62

Del capítulo de relación con la poesía hay muchos aspectos poderosos. Uno de los que más me gustó es la relación que tiene la creación artística con los arquetipos y con la memoria/inconsciente colectivo.  Es el aspecto supra-personal. Cómo entender el aspecto supra-personal nuestro, latinoamericano, colombiano? “The plant is not a mere product of the soil; it is  a living, self-contained process which in essence has nothing to do with the character of the soil”.

Cómo se acciona la conexión con los arquetipos desde la perspectiva del artista, cualquiera que sea el arte?

“A special ability demands a greater expenditure of energy, which must necessarily leave a deficit on some other side of life”.103

Toca ver cómo seguir trabajando con juicio:

  • C.G. Jung
  • Richard Wilhelm
  • Dante – Divina Comedia
  • Nietzsche y la experiencia dionisíaca
  • Goethe – El Fausto
  • Joyce – leer el Ulysses y volver a leer el capítulo de este libro!
  • Picasso y los símbolos que utiliza

Chía, 28 de diciembre de 2016

Reflexionando con la Flaca sobre el Amor

Qué hago? Amor estético? Amor romántico? Ambos? Qué hacer sobre el amor?

Hay unas ramas de este naranjo que se refieren al amor. Otras se refieren a la literatura. Aquí van las reflexiones que hicimos a la sombra del danés Soren Kierkegaard, quien nació hace un poco más de 200 años sobre nuestra experiencia del amor. Me ha gustado Kierkegaard por la forma como se relacionó con el origen del Existencialismo y con las innovaciones literarias. Con el permiso de María C., aquí van estas líneas enviadas a Oxford desde Lima hace 10 años.



Aprendiendo del Buchón

Foto tomada por Margarita Salcedo


Lima, 8 de noviembre de 2005

Mi querida Flaquis,

Sigo disfrutando la lectura del “Either/Or” de Kierkegaard y me he encontrado unas citas que quiero compartir contigo. Sin embargo, debo advertir que el libro está estructurado en dos grandes partes y que aunque todo está escrito por el mismo Soren Kierkegaard, la primera parte está (supuestamente) escrita por alguien que defiende una mirada estética de la vida. Yo a penas (dos palabras “a” y “penas”: el libro no es fácil y realmente hay partes en las que cuesta avanzar) he pasado de la p. 100 y por lo tanto solo puedo dar un vistazo muy parcial. La segunda parte está (supuestamente) escrita por otro individuo y comenzará en la p. 377. Aunque es la parte que supuestamente es la mirada desde una perspectiva ética (y pensando en el título general del libro, realmente no sé si ambas partes están contrapuestas y Kierkegaard quiera oponer ética y estética o por el contrario quiera dejar abierta la posibilidad de una rica síntesis), se inicia con unas reflexiones tituladas “The aesthetic validity of marriage”. Hasta allá no he llegado y lo que quiero compartir es entonces mis reflexiones a partir de unas citas y de una lectura muy parcial.

Otra anotación previa importante es decirte que en las primeras 100 páginas (realmente en las últimas 40 del total de 100 leídas, pues la introducción del supuesto primer autor tiene unas 30 páginas y las del otro autor que se encontró los dos textos escondidos en un escritorio viejo comprado en un almacén de antigüedades, tiene otras 30) el autor se dedica a reflexionar por qué Don Juan es la pieza magistral para expresar el amor sensual, la sensualidad total. Y como encuentra una imposibilidad total para ‘meterse’ en el terreno musical a partir de escribir (verbalizar) explica que el ‘campo’ vecino de la música es precisamente el del lenguaje verbal y escrito (el racional) y entonces a partir del terreno ‘vecino’ va a intentar explicar el terreno desconocido de la sensualidad a partir de su único vehículo posible, como es la música, pero no cualquier pieza musical, sino la máxima para expresar sensualidad como es el Don Juan de Mozart.

Hay más de una reflexión sobre los griegos y sobre el cristianismo, pero no voy a entrar en ello pues me distraería en un montón de otros aspectos que realmente no entendí y por los que “a penas” (dos palabras) voy donde voy. Alguna vez tendré que repasar este texto para entender a cabalidad lo que Kierkegaard quiso decir. Por esta vez quiero compartir algunas reflexiones sobre nuestra vida juntos y cuatro citas que me impactaron de manera especial, y las cuatro están centradas en la oposición entre el amor del corazón o del alma (love of the soul) y el amor sensual (que es el de Don Juan, no tanto en cuanto personaje especifico de la ópera, pero más en tanto arquetipo presentado en la obra misma). No me atreví a traducir las citas, pues ellas ya son una traducción desde el original en Danés, y como bien sabes cada vez que traduces, algo se pierde en la traducción.

La primera cita que me recordó de tus lecturas del Quijote es esta: “Chivalrous love, too, is of the soul and, therefore, according to its own lights essentially faithful; only sensual love is, in its own lights, essentially faithless”. “Its faithlessness manifests itself also in another way; it becomes simply a repetition”. 99

En esta primera cita el autor “estético” iguala el amor del alma con el amor caballeresco y fiel, mientras que caracteriza el amor sensual como sin fidelidad (que es distinto a infiel), y más como repetición. A partir de esta idea, lo que siento y reflexiono es que en nuestros primeros 25 años juntos hemos vivido ambos tipos de amor, y que muy posiblemente, en algunas etapas de nuestra vida juntos, con más acentos de un tipo de amor sobre el otro, sin decir que sea bueno o malo. Pero al mirar en retrospectiva, el primero, el del alma, lo hemos ido desarrollando y fortaleciendo, al tiempo que el segundo fue perdiendo intensidad en cuanto a su carácter de ser repetitivo y rutinario y se hizo parte necesaria del primero, pero no exclusiva. Tengo la intuición de que en nuestro caso el amor del alma necesitó del amor sensual, pero que pasado un tiempo – no sabría decir cuándo ni cómo sucedió – no es más así. Muy seguramente para otras personas sea posible vivir el amor sensual, sin el contexto más rico y profundo del amor del alma, pero estoy seguro que para mi ya no lo es. Mi experiencia me llevaría a decir que, incluso como tendencia en nuestra vida, el amor sensual se ha ido enriqueciendo a partir de desarrollar el amor del alma. Lo cual me lleva a pensar que el ‘amor del alma’ no es algo dado a partir de la elección de pareja o del matrimonio o del iniciar la vida de pareja en que hay muchas promesas y expectativas pero nada de experiencia sólida que las fundamente, sino algo que se construye en una rica dialéctica entre ambas formas del amor.

En la segunda colección de citas, el ‘primer autor’ escribe sobre el carácter dialéctico del amor del alma: “Love from the soul is dialectical in a twofold sense. In the first place, it has in it the doubt and disquiet as to whether it will also be happy, see its desire fulfilled, and be requited. This anxiety is something sensual love does not have”. “Love from the soul has, secondly, yet another dialectic, for it differs in relation to every single individual who is the object of love. ”Such is not the case with Don Giovanni…” “the very same moment everything is over, and the same endlessly repeats itself.” 100

Así como difícil conocerse uno a sí mismo, seguramente que es mucho más difícil para mi el conocerte a ti en toda tu profundidad como para ti el conocerme a mi. Y a partir de pensar en estas dos formas de dialécticas del amor, es bien interesante reflexionar en qué fue lo que pasó en la relación entre dos seres desconocidos (para sí mismos y entre ambos). Siento que obviamente hemos ido aumentando nuestro conocimiento profundo de cada uno de nosotros mismos, pero en la medida en que éramos desconocidos para nosotros mismos (aún lo seguimos siendo, pero menos, creo), alimentábamos dudas de la relación entre ambos, inquietudes y una incertidumbre acerca de la relación. Era como el haber encontrado el buey ése enorme y salvaje del que habla el Zen, y a lo largo de la vida, juntos, haber podido avanzar en domesticarlo, sin que pierda su fuerza y su vigor original (de raíces profundas, insospechadas y arraigadas en nuestros pasados individuales, influidas por fuerzas de las que no somos plenamente conscientes). Y el segundo tipo de dialéctica es mucho más complicado de agarrar en cuanto a la individualización del yo-tú amoroso de dos seres que se van conociendo a sí mismos, cada uno, pero también gracias a la relación que hemos ido desarrollando.

La tercera cita se refiere al día a día de la vida:“Love from the soul moves precisely in the rich multiplicity of the individual life, where the nuances are what are really significant. Sensual love, on the other hand, can lump everything together”. 100

Seguramente que te sucede como a mi, que me es muy difícil recordar el pasado. Intentar poner de presente lo que hice ayer o hace una semana o hace un mes es una labor casi que imposible. Así mismo, recordar cómo fue cambiando nuestra relación amorosa no es cosa fácil. Asumiendo los riesgos del intentar recordar y de equivocarme en lo recordado (que solamente tú podrás poner en evidencia), creo que el inicio del noviazgo y de la vida en pareja era totalmente sensual y alborotado, y que el ‘primer escritor’ tiene toda la razón: no teníamos ni tú ni yo, apreciación por el detalle ni por las cositas del día al día. Alguna vez podemos hacer el intento de recordar cómo vivíamos! No sé cuándo ni cómo – ni si así le sucede a todo mundo, seguramente que sí – fuimos dando más peso cada vez a más detalles de la vida cotidiana, y hasta a los detalles mismos del amor sensual. Dicho en palabras que podría usar el autor (no se si el primero o el segundo), hemos aprendido a crear un espacio en el que podemos disfrutar plenamente a Don Juan y encontrar instantes deliciosos en los cuales ‘todo vale y todo se puede juntar’ a partir de que se ha enriquecido el cuidado del detalle en la cotidianeidad.

Y la cuarta y última cita se refiere a la relación entre el amor y el tiempo:“Love from the soul is a continuation in time, sensual love a disappearance in time, but the medium which expresses this is precisely music”. 100

La música, inclusive la del radio o la de la tele, solamente se escucha cuando es interpretada. Se calla el instrumento y calla la música. Calla el cantor y calla el canto, definiendo una relación diferente entre ambas formas de amor con el tiempo en que suceden. Nunca había reflexionado que algo parecido sucede entre ambas formas del amor y que es diferente la relación que cada una guarda con el tiempo. Cuando pienso en cómo evolucionó el ‘amor del alma’ entre nosotros dos, tengo una sensación rara en la relación con el tiempo, ya que aunque solo vivimos el momento presente (el pasado ya no es), la verdad es que la riqueza del presente define una continuidad que tiende a proyectarse con fuerza en el futuro. En este sentido tiende a trascender. Por otro lado, siento que aunque el amor sensual entre ambos va cambiando en su especificidad, como dije arriba va también enriqueciéndose. Si recuerdo bien, hace unos 25 años un rico polvito podría suceder en cualquier parte y en cualquier momento. Creo que hoy día (mejor dicho, sin el ‘creo’) no es así. Sin embargo, quizás no sea osado decir que hoy día tenemos más calidad y menos cantidad.

No sé hasta qué punto podría uno pensar que aunque ambos tipos de amor son ‘temporales’, el amor del alma es más independiente del tiempo (porque logró madurar y establecer continuidad), mientras que el amor sensual va de varias maneras condicionado por la temporalidad de la vida y por el ciclo vital mismo.

Se diga o no con música (dependiendo de los ratos que nos damos para escuchar el ‘silencio’, o aquellos otros para poner a Don Juan a todo volumen) de todas maneras creo que lo que hemos ido aprendiendo es a escucharnos el uno al otro y a escuchar la música del día a día. Escucha el susurro de mi alma. Escucha su música. Yo escucho la tuya. Muchos besos (y mucha música),


Y aquí siguen más notas, del principio al fin de una extensa y deliciosa obra:

Soren Kierkegaard
A Fragment of Life

The notes from the introduction will go last, so we can get a better interpretation.

Part One
Containing the papers of A

‘I have sought guidance from the authors whose views in this respect I shared; in short, I have done everything in my power to fill the gap left by the philosophical literature”.27

‘…while my mind found its doubt corroborated – that the outward after all is not the inward, and my empirical proposition confirmed – that luck is needed to make such discoveries”.30

‘It is really as if A himself had become afraid of his work which, like a restless dream, still continued to frighten him while it was being told”. 32

I. Diapsalmata

“Grandeur, savoir, renomné
Amitié, plaisir et bien,
Tout n’est que vent, que fumée:
Pour mieux dire, tout n’est rien”.

“That is how it is with me: always an empty space before me, what drives me on is a result that lies behind me. This life is back-to-front and terrible, unendurable”.46

“Of all ridiculous things in the world what strikes me as the most ridiculous of all is being busy in the world, to be a man quick to his meals and quick to his work”.46

“Also cause and effect don’t seem to hang properly together. At one time huge and powerful causes give rise to tiny and unimpressive little effects, occasionally to none at all,; at another a brisk little cause gives birth to a colossal effect”. 47

“One should be an enigma not just to others but to oneself too. I study myself. When I’m tired of that I light a cigar to pass the time, and think: God only knows what the good Lord really meant with me, or what He meant to make of me.” 47

“My soul is so heavy that no longer can any thought sustain it, no wingbeat lift it up into the ether. If it moves, it only sweeps along the ground like the low flight of birds when a thunderstorm is brewing”. 48

“A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that’s just how the world will come to an end: to general applause from wits who believe it’s a joke”. 49

“I have speculated for some time as to the real reason why I resigned my post as secondary-school teacher. Thinking it over now, it occurs to me that such a position was the very thing for me. Today is dawned on me: that was precisely the reason, I had to consider myself absolutely fitted for the job. O if I’d continued in it I had everything to lose, nothing to gain. Wherefore I thought it proper to resign my post and seek employment with a travelling theatre, the reason being that I had no talent, and so everything to gain.”51

“When I was very young I forgot in the cave of Trophonius how to laugh; when I became older, when I opened my eyes And Saw reality, I started to laugh and haven’t stopped since.”51

“I die death itself. Is there anything that could divert me? Yes, if I caught sight of a fidelity that stood every trial, an enthusiasm that sustained everything, a faith that moved mountains; if I came by a thought that bound together the finite and the infinite. But my soul’s poisonous doubt is all consuming”. 53

“I am alone, as I have always been; abandoned not by men, that would not pain me, but by the happy spirits of joy who in countless hosts encircled me, who met everywhere with their kind, pointed everywhere to an opportunity”. 57

“The I am reminded of my youth and my first love – I longed then, now I only long for my first longing. What is youth? A dream. What is love? The dream’s content.”57

“Immortal Mozart! You, to whom I owe everything, to whom I owe the loss of my reason, the wonder that overwhelmed my soul, the fear that gripped my inmost being; you, who are the reason I did not go through life without there being something that could make me tremble; you whom I thank for the fact that I shall not have died without having loved, even though my love was unhappy”. 62

“This unity, this inward mutuality, is possessed by every classic work, and thus one easily sees that any attempt in classifying the different classics based on a separation of matter and form, or of idea and form, is by virtue of that very fact a failure”. 67

“…for language is the most concrete of all media”. 68

“But, what is the most abstract idea?” 69 “The most abstract idea conceivable is the spirit of sensuality”. 69

“One can indeed imagine many more musical classics, yet there still remains one work of which it can be said that its idea is absolutely musical, so that the music does not enter as accompaniment but, in bringing the idea to the light, reveals its innermost being. Therefore Mozart with his Don Giovanni stands highest among the immortals”. 70

“The task this enquiry has really set itself is to show the significance of the musical erotical”. 71

“In its mediate state and its reflection in something else it comes under language and becomes subject to ethical categories. In its immediacy it can only be expressed in music”. …” This is where the significance of music is revealed in its full validity, and in a stricter sense it also reveals itself as a Christian art, or rather as the art which Christianity posits by shutting it out, as the medium for what Christianity shuts out and thereby posits. In other words, music is the demonic. In the erotic sensual genius, music has its absolute object”. 75

“Language becomes the perfect medium just at the moment when everything sensual is negated in it”. 78 … “Language has time as its element; all other media have space as their element”. Only music also takes place in time, but the fact that it takes place in time is again a negation of the sensual”.79

“If I begin with language, in order, by moving through it, to as it were hear my way towards music, the matter appears to be roughly as follows. If I assume that prose is the language-form farthest removed from music, then I detect already in the oratorical style of delivery, in the sonorous structure of periods, a suggestion of the musical which comes more and more strongly to the fore through different levels of the poetic style, in the structure of the verse, in the rhyme, until at last the musical has developed so strongly that language ceases and everything becomes music”.79

“…the stronger the religiosity, the more one renounces music and stresses the word”.82

[[Talking about Papageno and the Magic Flute]]: “If we remember that desire is present in all three stages, we can say that in the first stage it is specified as dreaming, in the second as seeking, in the third as desiring.” … “I would say that [[Mozart’s music]] is merrily chirping, vigorous, sparkling with love”. 90

“You friendly genii who protect all innocent love, to you I commit all my faculties, watch over the busy thoughts that they may be found worthy of their object, fashion my soul into a euphonious instrument, let the gentle breezes of eloquence pass swiftly over it, send the refreshment and blessing of fruitful moods!”. 94

“You powerful spirits who know how to stir the heart of man, stand by me that I may capture the reader, not in the net of passion, nor the artifices of eloquence, but in the eternal truth of conviction”. 95

“The grand dialectic of life is thus invariably illustrated by representative individuals, who more often that not confront each other in pairs; … Thus the king has his fool by his side, Faust has his Wagner, Don Quixote Sancho Panza, and Don Giovanni Leporello. This arrangement, too, belongs essentially to the Middle Ages”. 95

“The idea of femininity is constantly in motion, in many ways, which was not the case with the Greeks, where all were simply beautiful individuals with no hint of femininity as such.” 96

“Faust and Don Giovanni are the Titans and giants of the Middle Ages, who although no different from those of antiquity in the grandeur pf their endeavours, certainly differ from them in standing in isolation, in not combining their forces before storming heaven. All the power is gathered in just one individual”. 98

“…Don Giovanni is an image that constantly appears but gains neither form nor substance, an individual who is constantly being formed but not finished… there is meaning and profound significance in everything”. 99

“Love from the soul … is a continuation in time…it is far more abstract than language” 101.
“To be a seducer he lacks the time ahead in which to lay his plans, and the time behind in which to become conscious of his act. A seducer should therefore be in possession of a power which Don Giovanni does not have, however well equipped he is otherwise – the power of speech. As soon as we give him that power he ceases to be musical, and then the aesthetic interest becomes quite another.”.105

“So I do not do that but say ‘Listen to Don Giovanni; that’s to say if you cannot get an idea of Don Giovanni by listening to him, you will never get one. Hear the beginning of his life…’ Hear the stillness of the moment – listen, listen, listen, to Mozart’s Don Giovanni.”109

“When Don Juan is interpreted musically I hear the whole of the infinity of passion in him, but also its infinite power which nothing can resist; I hear the wild craving of desire, but also that desire’s absolute triumphancy which it would be in vain to oppose. You only need to think once of the obstacle to realize that its function is merely to inflame the passion…”. 111

“…the very secret of this opera is that its hero is also the force animating the other characters….But he is more; he is, if I may so put it, the common denominator.” 121

“Because of the omnipresence of the musical in this opera, one may enjoy any snatch of it and be instantly transported. […] As soon as the eyes are engaged the impression gets confused, for the dramatic unity afforded to the eye is entirely subordinate and defective compared with the musical unity which is heard simultaneously”. 122

“… I am not an expert in music, but then I am writing only for those in love, and they will surely understand me, some of them better than I understand myself”. […] “…and although I usually thank the gods that I was born a man and not a woman, Mozart’s music has taught me that it is beautiful and restorative and rich to love like a woman”. 129

“Our age certainly has one peculiarity to a greater degree than Greece, namely that it is more melancholy and hence deeper in despair. Our age is thus melancholy enough to realize there is something called responsibility and that it has some significance. So while everyone wants to rule, no one wants the responsibility”. 141