In a garden, I’m stretched out on a lawn. There is a certain place in the lawn where the ground rises up in a cone shape. I settle myself so that the nape of my neck is exactly on top of it, so that my head is “thrown back” and I can “see the sky” better.
The first time, I’m with my sister—the one I ask the big questions, the one I trust—I say to her: “…but behind this sky, is there another?”
She laughs and tells me there are many others. I laugh too and say that “of course, since there’s a seventh heaven.” She gets serious and explains to me that we are surrounded by sky, that the earth turns, that the sky has no end.
I stay there a very long time, motionless, dreaming of infinity, trying to imagine infinity physically. A terrible anxiety seizes me, but I do not move and I soon manage to “feel” the earth turning. My head still in this position “was actually and violently turning.”
Each evening, when the noises had died down, I returned there to find this feeling of the earth turning and to feel lost in it, carried away in this vertigo.
—Laure, “The Sacred”
Every now and then, God wearies of his own luminous silence, and infinity starts to make him a little bit sick. Then, like an enormous, omnisensitive oyster, his body—so naked and delicate—feels the slightest tremble in the particles of light, scrunches up inside itself, leaving just enough space for the emergence—at once and out of nowhere—of a world. The world comes quick, though at first it resembles mold, delicate and pale, but soon it grows, and individual fibers connect, creating a powerful surrounding tissue. Then it hardens; then it starts to take on colors. This is accompanied by a low, barely audible sound, a gloomy vibration that makes the anxious atoms quake. And it is from this motion that particles come into being, and then grains of sand and drops of water, which divide the world in two.
—Tokarczuk, The Books of Jacob
The city which spoke to itself in a dazzling monologue of a thousand voices rested in the debris of illuminated and transparent images. Where, then, was the city? Thomas, at the heart of the agglomeration, met no one. The enormous buildings with their thousands of inhabitants were deserted, deprived of that primordial inhabitant who is the architect powerfully imprisoned in the stone. Immense unbuilt cities. The buildings were piled one on the other. Clusters of edifices and monuments accumulated at the intersections. Out to the horizon, inaccessible shores of stone were seen rising slowly, impasses which led to the cadaverous apparition of the sun. This somber contemplation could not go on.
—Blanchot, Thomas the Obscure
One knew of places in ancient Greece where the way led down into the underworld. Our waking existence likewise is a land which, at certain hidden points, leads down into the underworld—a land full of inconspicuous places from which dreams arise. All day long, suspecting nothing, we pass them by, but no sooner has sleep come than we are eagerly groping our way back to lose ourselves in the dark corridors.
—Benjamin, The Arcades Project
HAMM: And the horizon? Nothing on the horizon?
CLOV: [Lowering the telescope, turning towards HAMM, exasperated.] What in God’s name could there be on the horizon?
HAMM: The waves, how are the waves?
CLOV: The waves? [He turns the telescope on the waves.] Lead.
HAMM: And the sun?
CLOV: [Looking.] Zero.
It was his fate, his peculiarity, whether he wished it or not, to come out thus on a spit of land which the sea is slowly eating away, and there to stand, like a desolate sea-bird, alone. It was his power, his gift, suddenly to shed all superfluities, to shrink and diminish so that he looked barer and felt sparer, even physically, yet lost none of his intensity of mind, and so to stand on his little ledge facing the dark of human ignorance, how we know nothing and the sea eats away the ground we stand on—that was his fate, his gift.
—Woolf, To The Lighthouse