Direction / Security / Time | Paul Bowles, 1910- 1999

Jerry Cooke, Paul Bowles, lying in bed with his paper and pen, 1947


“One of these days the future will be here, and you won't be ready for it.” *

“If you don’t know why you like a thing, it is usually worth your while to attempt to find out.” 

“Here we say that life is a cliff, and you must never turn around and look back when you’re climbing.” ~

“He did not look up because he knew how senseless the landscape would appear. It takes energy 
to invest life with meaning, and at present this energy was lacking.” 

“The sky hides the night behind it and shelters the people beneath from the horror that lies above.” 

“Security is a false God. Begin to make sacrifices to it and you are lost.” 

“Everyone is isolated from everyone else. The concept of society is like a cushion to protect us from 
the knowledge of that isolation. A fiction that serves as an anesthetic.” 

“Βefore there can be change there must be discontent.” *

“If you could not have freedom you could still have vengeance.” *

“You can't discipline the whole country.”  *

“It is a dangerous discovery, because they are going to disregard many vital things in their haste 
to catch up.” +

“These empty days. How do you spend them?” ^

“He could not feel at ease with gourmets and hedonists; they were a hostile species.” *

“Not all the ravages caused by our merciless age are tangible ones. The subtler forms of destruction, 
those involving only the human spirit, are the most to be dreaded.” *

“But there was never any knowing or any certitude; the time to come always had more than one 
possible direction.” ~

“Even the smallest measure of time is greater than the greatest measure of space. Or is that a lie? 
Does it only seem so to us, because we can never get it back?” 


Paul Bowles

~ The Sheltering Sky, 1949 / * The Spider's House, 1955 / + Travels, 1950-93 / ^ In Touch: The Letters, 1995


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