Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Quotes: Rumi & Freud? (and more)

Category: SOUND

You heard me right. And yes, this does belong under the SOUND category. I realize how controversial Freud is, the sheer damage he has wrought cannot be denied (See: Ali Shariati on his influence on the 20th century).

But whenever I find myself defending Freud (more often these days), it's by distinguishing Freud the man from Freud the pseudo-philosopher-psychologist. What it seems to amount to is that Freud was a brilliant man with a bit of an elitist streak, a superiority complex. We know well what he thought of the masses around him, his work in psychology speaks for itself. He thought of them as animals, ruled by the sex drive (honestly, can we blame him for his conclusions? we should be blaming him for what he did in response to them). But did he ever apply his psychology to himself? It doesn't seem to be the case (not too often, anyway). He reserved some quite different, quite traditional explanations for himself and the other "intelligent", "enlightened" people around him (or who preceded him).

So I'm going to post a bunch of quotes I had dug up sometime last year from both, but with this label attached to the post. I apologize in advance, because I had originally sought to follow up each Freud quote with a corresponding saying of Maulana Rumi (ra), but I just don't have the time at the moment to undertake that kind of search and effort. =\ This also means I had to leave out his controversial quotes that would make more sense with an explanation (because I can't write them). Other random quotes follow at the end (uncited in italics).

Without further ado:


"Whoever loves becomes humble. Those who love have, so to speak, pawned a part of their narcissism."
-Sigmund Freud

"A man should not strive to eliminate his complexes but to get into accord with them: they are legitimately what directs his conduct in the world."
-Sigmund Freud

"America is the most grandiose experiment the world has seen, but, I am afraid, it is not going to be a success."
-Sigmund Freud

"Everywhere I go I find that a poet has been there before me."
-Sigmund Freud

"One is very crazy when in love."
-Sigmund Freud

"We are never so defensless against suffering as when we love."
-Sigmund Freud

"He does not believe that does not live according to his belief."
-Sigmund Freud

"What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult."
-Sigmund Freud

"I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection."
-Sigmund Freud

"I have found little that is "good" about human beings on the whole. In my experience most of them are trash, no matter whether they publicly subscribe to this or that ethical doctrine or to none at all. That is something that you cannot say aloud, or perhaps even think."
-Sigmund Freud

"Men are more moral than they think and far more immoral than they can imagine."
-Sigmund Freud

"It is impossible to overlook the extent to which civilization is built upon a renunciation of instinct."
-Sigmund Freud

"The goal of all life is death."
-Sigmund Freud

"The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is "What does a woman want?""
-Sigmund Freud

"We must reckon with the possibility that something in the nature of the sexual instinct itself is unfavorable to the realization of complete satisfaction."
-Sigmund Freud

"A man who has been the indisputable favorite of his mother keeps for life the feeling of a conqueror."
-Sigmund Freud

"A certain degree of neurosis is of inestimable value as a drive, especially to a psychologist."
-Sigmund Freud

"Every normal person, in fact, is only normal on the average. His ego approximates to that of the psychotic in some part or other and to a greater or lesser extent."
-Sigmund Freud

"Neurotics complain of their illness, but they make the most of it, and when it comes to talking it away from them they will defend it like a lioness her young."
-Sigmund Freud

Maulana Rumi (ra):

In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.

You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you.

but sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art.
Totally conscious, and apropos of nothing, you come to see me.
Is someone here? I ask.
The Moon. The full moon is inside your house.

My friends and I go running out into the street.
I'm in here, comes a voice from the house, but we aren't listening.
We're looking up at the sky.

Lo, I am with you always means when you look for God,
God is in the look of your eyes,
in the thought of looking, nearer to you than your self,
or things that have happened to you
There's no need to go outside.

Be melting snow.
Wash yourself of yourself.

A white flower grows in the quietness.
Let your tongue become that flower.
Re: "All loves are a bridge to Divine Love, but those who have not had a taste of it do not know!":
God has given us a dark wine so potent that,
drinking it, we leave the two worlds.

God has put into the form of hashish a power
to deliver the taster from self-consciousness.

God has made sleep so
that it erases every thought

God made Majnun love Layla so much that
just her dog would cause confusion in him.

There are thousands of wines
that can take over our minds.

Don't think all ecstasies
are the same!

Jesus was lost in the love of God.
His donkey was drunk with barley.

Drink from the presence of saints,
not from those other jars.

Every object, every being,
is a jar full of delight.

Be a connoisseur,
and taste with caution.

Any wine will get you high.
Judge like a king, and choose the purest,

the ones unadulterated with fear,
or some urgency about "what's needed."

Drink the wine that moves you
as a camel moves when it's been untied,
and is just ambling about.
A True Man stares at his old shoes
and sheepskin jacket. Every day he goes up
to his attic to look at his work-shoes and worn-out coat.
This is his wisdom, to remember the original clay
and not get drunk with ego and arrogance.

To visit those shoes and jacket
is praise
Do you think I know what I am doing?
That for one breath or half-breath I belong to myself?
As much as a pen knows what it's writing,
or the ball can guess where it's going next.
i don't need
a companion who is
nasty sad and sour

the one who is
like a grave
dark depressing and bitter

a sweetheart is a mirror
a friend a delicious cake
it isn't worth spending
an hour with anyone else

a companion who is
in love only with the self
has five distinct characters

stone hearted
unsure of every step

lazy and disinterested
keeping a poisonous face

the more this companion waits around
the more bitter everything will get
just like a vinegar
getting more sour with time

enough is said about
sour and bitter faces
a heart filled with desire for

sweetness and tender souls
must not waste itself with unsavory matters
Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky,
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now.
You're covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side. Die,
and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign
that you've died.
Your old life was a frantic running
from silence.

The speechless full moon
comes out now.
I've said before that every craftsman
searches for what's not there
to practice his craft.

A builder looks for the rotten hole
where the roof caved in. A water carrier
picks the empty pot. A carpenter
stops at the house with no door.

Workers rush toward some hint
of emptiness, which they then
start to fill. Their hope, though,
is for emptiness, so don't think
you must avoid it. It contains
what you need!

Dear soul, if you were not friends
with the vast nothing inside,
why would you always be casting your net
into it, and waiting so patiently?

This invisible ocean has given you such abundance,
but still you call it "death,"
that which provides you sustenance and work.
Know that your body nurtures the spirit,
helps it grow, and then gives it wrong advice.

The body becomes, eventually, like a vest
of chainmail in peaceful years,
too hot in summer and too cold in winter.

But the body's desires, in another way, are like
an unpredictable associate, whom you must be
patient with. and that companion is helpful,
because patience expands your capacity
to love and feel peace.

The patience of a rose close to a thorn
keeps it fragrant. It's patience that gives milk
to the male camel still nursing in its third year,
and patience is what the prophets show to us.

The beauty of careful sewing on a shirt
is the patience it contains.

Friendship and loyalty have patience
as the strength of their connections.

Feeling lonely and ignoble indicates
that you haven't been patient.

Be with those who mix with God
as honey blends with milk, and say,

"Anything that comes and goes,
rises and sets,
is not what I love."

Live in the one who created the prophets,
else you'll be like a caravan fire left
to flare itself out alone beside the road.
There is a way between voice and presence
where information flows.

In disciplined silence it opens.
With wandering talk it closes.
Who gets up early to discover the moment light begins?
Who finds us here circling, bewildered, like atoms?
Who comes to a spring thirsty
and sees the moon reflected in it?
Who, like Jacob blind with grief and age,
smells the shirt of his lost son
and can see again?
Who lets a bucket down and brings up
a flowing prophet? Or like Moses goes for fire
and finds what burns inside the sunrise?

Jesus slips into a house to escape enemies,
and opens a door to the other world.
Solomon cuts open a fish, and there's a gold ring.
Omar storms in to kill the prophet
and leaves with blessings.
Chase a deer and end up everywhere!
An oyster opens his mouth to swallow one drop
Now there's a pearl.
A vagrant wanders empty ruins,
Suddenly he's wealthy.

But don't be satisfied with stories, how things
have gone with others. Unfold
your own myth, without complicated explanation,
so everyone will understand the passage,
We have opened you.

Start walking toward Shams. Your legs will get heavy
and tired. Then there comes a moment
of feeling the wings you've grown,
That intellectual warp and woof keeps you wrapped
in blindness. And four other characteristics
keep you from loving. The Qur'an calls them
four birds. Say Bismillah, "In the name of God,"
and chop the heads of the mischief-birds.

The rooster of lust, the peacock of wanting
to be famous, the crow of ownership, and the duck
of urgency, kill them and revive them
in another form, changed and harmless.
The cloud weeps, and then the garden sprouts.
The baby cries, and the mother's milk flows.
The nurse of creating has said, Let them cry a lot

This rain-weeping and sun-burning twine together
to make us grow. Keep your intelligence white-hot
and your grief glistening, so your life will stay fresh.
Cry easily like a little child.

Let body needs dwindle and soul decisions increase.
Diminish what you give your physical self.
Your spiritual eye will begin to open.

When the body empties and stays empty,
God fills it with musk and mother-of-pearl.
That way a man gives his dung and gets purity.

Listen to the prophets, not to some adolescent boy.
The foundation and the walls of the spiritual life
are made of self-denials and disciplines.

Stay with friends who support you in these.
Talk with them about sacred texts,
and how you're doing, and how they're doing,
and keep your practices together.
Little by little, wean yourself.
This is the gist of what I have to say.

From an embryo, whose nourishment comes in the blood,
move to an infant drinking milk,
to a child on solid food,
to a searcher of wisdom,
to a hunter of more invisible game.

Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo.
You might say, "The world outside is vast and intricate.
There are wheatfields and mountain passes,
and orchards in bloom.

At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight
the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding."

You ask the embryo why he, or she, stays cooped up
in the dark with eyes closed.
Listen to the answer.

There is no "other world"
I only know what I've experienced.
You must be hallucinating.
This is how it is when your animal energies,
the nafs, dominate your soul:

You have a piece of fine linen
that you're going to make into a coat
to give to a friend, but someone else uses it
to make a pair of pants. The linen
has no choice in the matter.
It must submit. Or, it's like
someone breaks into your house
and goes to the garden and plants thornbushes.
An ugly humiliation falls over the place.

Or, you've seen a nomad's dog
lying at the tent entrance, with his head
on the threshold and his eyes closed.

Children pull his tail and touch his face,
but he doesn't move. He loves the children's
attention and stays humble within it.

But if a stranger walks by, he'll spring up
ferociously. Now, what if that dog's owner
were not able to control it?

A poor dervish might appear: the dog storms out.
The dervish says, "I take refuge with God
when the dog of arrogance attacks,"
and the owner has to say, "So do I!
I'm helpless against this creature
even in my own house!

Just as you can't come close,
I can't get out!"

This is how animal energy becomes monstrous
and ruins your life's freshness and beauty.

Think of taking this dog out to hunt!
You'd be the quarry.
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently swep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Who makes these changes?
I shoot an arrow right.
It lands left.
I ride after a deer and find myself
chased by a hog.
I plot to get what I want
and end up in prison.
I dig pits to trap others
and fall in.

I should be suspicious
of what I want.
It's the habit of yours to walk slowly.
You hold grudge for years.
With such heaviness, how can you be modest?
With such detachments, do you expect to arrive anywhere?

Be wide as the air to learn a secret.
Right now your're equal portions clay
and water, thick mud.

Abraham learned how the sun and the moon and the stars all set.
He said, No longer will I try to assign partners for God

You are so weak. Give up to grace.
The ocean takes care of each wave
till it gets to shore.
You need more help than you know.
You're trying to live your life in open scaffolding.
Say Bismillah, In the name of God,
as the priest does with a knife when he offers an animal.

Bismillah your old self
to find your real name.
What God said to the rose and caused it to bloom in hearty laughter,
He said to my heart and made it a hundred times prettier.

Other Assorted Quotes:

A group of men once visited Rabia al-Basri to test her to see if she would make an unguarded comment. “All the virtues have been scattered upon the heads of men,” they said. “The crown of prophethood has been placed on the heads of men. The belt of nobility has been fastened around the waists of men. No women has ever been a prophet.”

“All that is true,” she replied. “But egotism, worshiping one’s self, and “I am your Lord, the Most High” have never sprung from a woman’s breast. All these things have been the specialty of men.”
-Tazkirah Al-Awliyaa’

"Through you I have found the stars I've been seeking."

"And He placed the stars for you, so that you might be guided by them in the dark shadows of the earth and of the sea..."

"Your life lies before you like a path of snow, be careful how you tread it because every step will show."
-Lowri Williams.

“This text requires a single name, not two,”
He answered them, “Majnun alone will do.
If someone delves within a lover’s heart,
He’ll find the loved one in its deepest part.”
“But why,” they asked him, “from among the two,
It’s Layli who’s been cut away, not you?”
“It’s wrong,” he said, “for her to be the cover
That hides within itself this ardent lover.
I am the veil for what should be internal
I am the outer shell; she is the kernel.”

"These two friends are one, eternal companions. He is Majnun, the king of the world in right action. And she is Layla, the moon among idols in compassion. In the world, like unpierced rubies they treasured their fidelity affectionately, but found no rest and could not attain their heart's desire. Here they suffer grief no more. So it will be until eternity. Whoever endures suffering and forebears in that world will be joyous and exalted in this world."

"Whoever would find a place in that world must tread on the lusts of this world. This world is dust and is perishable. That world is pure and eternal. . . . Commit yourself to love's sanctuary and at once find freedom from your ego. Fly in love as an arrow towards its target. Love loosens the knots of being, love is liberation from the vortex of egotism. In love, every cup of sorrow which bites into the soul gives it new life. Many a draft bitter as poison has become in love delicious. . . . However agonizing the experience, if it is for love it is well."

"For how long then do you want to deceive yourself? For how long will you refuse to see yourself as you are and as you will be? Each grain of sand takes its own length and breadth as the measure of the world; yet, beside a mountain range it is as nothing. You yourself are the grain of sand; you are your own prisoner. Break your cage, break free from yourself, free from humanity; learn that what you thought was real is not so in reality. Follow Nizami: burn but your own treasure, like a candle -- then the world, your sovereign, will become your slave."
-The Story of Layla and Majnun by Nizami, trans. and ed. by Dr. Rudolf Gelpke
Then said Almitra, “Speak to us of Love.”
And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them.
And with a great voice he said:
When love beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.
-Khalil Gibran

"Available language forces us to speak in terms of knowledge, but sometimes this knowledge is in excess of speech."

"A witty saying proves nothing."

"All sects are different, because they come from men; morality is everywhere the same, because it comes from God."

"Love is lightning. Poetry is the thunder."

"Believe me, if all those endearing young charms, Which I gaze on so fondly today, Were to change by tomorrow, and fleet in my arms, Like fairy-gifts fading away, Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art, Let thy loveliness fade as it will, And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart Would entwine itself verdantly still. It is not while beauty and youth are thine own, And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear That the fervor and faith of a soul can be known, To which time will but make thee more dear; No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets, But as truly loves on to the close, As the sunflower turns on her god, when he sets, The same look which she turned when he rose."
-Thomas Moore

"Knowledge without action is insanity and action without knowledge is vanity."
-Al-Ghazali (ra)

"Physical love is attraction, and it is an addiction. Psychological love is projection, and it is a disorder. Spiritual love is reflection, and it is Truth."

"There is only one thread of all cotton.
The warp, the woof, the quill of the weaver's shuttle,
The shuttle, the texture of cloths, the cotton shoes and hanks of yarn,
All are known by their respective names,
And they all belong to their respective places
But there is only one thread of yarn."
-Bulleh Shah

"Very clearly, life appears as a mirror holding the great secret of the universe and its reality."

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards."
-The White Queen, Through the Looking-Glass

"When it's dark enough men see stars."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Hitch your wagon to a star."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him with his friendship."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death."
-E.B. Browning

"Islam is, amongst mankind, what Love is, amongst thoughts ... A believer that turns to Allah momentarily is akin to a stray thought of the Beloved that enters the heart ... And if the Iman is true, then the believer is unwielding, just as a heart harbors nothing but thoughts of the beloved when the Love is true."

"To be an angel, one need not have wings.
In giving love there is an equal grace.
Nor need one seek the aura in the face,
As love unveils the beauty of all things."
-Nicholas Gordon

"To love is not to look at one another, But to look together in the same direction."
-Antoine de Saint (Exupery)

"People who are brutally honest get more satisfaction out of the brutality than out of the honesty."

"I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein's brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops."
-Stephen Jay Gould

"You will find rest from vain fancies if you perform every act in life as though it were your last."
-Caesar Marcus Aurelius

"Righteousness is good morality, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in your soul and which you dislike people finding out about."
-Prophet Muhammad (saw)

The Companions (ra) said, 'O Prophet (saw)! since God hath appointed our place, may we confide in this and abandon our religious and moral duty?' He said, 'No, because the happy will do good works, and those who are of the miserable will do bad works.'

"Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems."

"Appetitus Rationi Pareat" [Translation: 'Let your desires be ruled by reason']

"Think of the totality of all Being, and what a mite of it is yours; think of all Time, and the brief fleeting instant of it that is allotted to yourself; think of Destiny, and how puny a part of it you are."
-Caesar Marcus Aurelius

"Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts."

"The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts, therefore guard accordingly; and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue, and reasonable nature."
-Caesar Marcus Aurelius

"First, decide who you would be. Then, do what you must do."

"Nothing outside the will can hinder or harm the will; it can only harm itself. If then we accept this, and, when things go amiss, are inclined to blame ourselves, remembering that judgment alone can disturb our peace and constancy, I swear to you by all the gods that we have made progress."

"He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has."

"Get rid of the judgement ... get rid of the 'I am hurt,' you are rid of the hurt itself."
-Caesar Marcus Aurelius

"If you are distressed by any external thing, it is not this thing which disturbs you, but your own judgment about it. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgment now."
-Caesar Marcus Aurelius

"Everywhere and at all times it is in your power to accept reverently your present condition, to behave justly to those about you, and to exert your skill to control your thoughts, that nothing shall steal into them without being well examined."
-Caesar Marcus Aurelius

"If you work at that which is before you, following right reason seriously, vigorously, calmly, without allowing anything else to distract you, but keeping your divine part pure, as if you were bound to give it back immediately; if you hold to this, expecting nothing, but satisfied to live now according to nature, speaking heroic truth in every word which you utter, you will live happy. And there is no man able to prevent this."
-Caesar Marcus Aurelius

"The soul should know whither it is going and whence it came, what is good for it and what is evil, what it seeks and what it avoids, and what is that Reason which distinguishes between the desirable and the undesirable, and thereby tames the madness of our desires and calms the violence of our fears."

"Virtue is nothing else than right reason."

In explanation of the Hadith, "I was made to love three things in your world: women, scent, and the coolness of my eye in the prayer.":

"Scent is the food of the soul, and the soul is the riding beast of the faculties of man."
-Prophet Muhammad (saw) (An-Nasa'i)

"Man sees a part of himself in woman, and he is thus humbled. He wants to take her back into himself but in witnessing her independent soul and rebellious spirit, he is enabled to step out of himself and comes to see Allah immaterially and his own existence, soul, and spirit ... Men are humbled by women. Women are humbled by life. A woman is not meant to be humbled by a man, she was already born humble."

"When man witnesses Allah in women, his witnessing is in the passive; when he witnesses Him in himself, regarding the appearance of woman from Him, he witnesses Him in the active. When he witnesses Him from himself without the presence of any form from him, his witnessing is in the passive directly from Allah without any intermediary. So his witnessing of Allah in the woman is the most complete and perfect because he witnesses Allah inasmuch as He is both active and passive. Regarding himself, He is passive in particular. For this reason, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, loved women because of the perfection of the witnessing of Allah in them since one does not ever witness Allah free of matter. Allah by His essence in independent of the worlds. So from this aspect, the business is impossible, yet witnessing only occurs in matter. The witnessing of Allah in women is the greatest and most perfect witnessing. The greatest union is marriage.
From man, He derived a person in his form called "woman". She appeared in his form, and he yearned for her with the longing of that thing has for itself, and she yearned for him with the longing of that thing has for its home.
Whoever loves women in this measure, loves with divine love. Whoever loves women with respect to natural appetite or gratification (physical or psychological), deprives himself of the knowledge behind it."
-Ibn Arabi (ra) [commentary & translation]

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