Sunday, November 28, 2010

NOTHING IS REALLY SMALL, by Victor Hugo




Nothing is really small. Algebra applies to the clouds. The radiance of the star benefits the rose. No thinker would dare to say that the perfume of the hawthorn is useless to the constellations. Who can calculate the path of a molecule? How do we know that creations of worlds are not determined by the fall of grains of sand?

In this inexhaustible whole, from sun to grub, there is no scorn; all need each other. Light carries the terrestrial vision into azure depths, night casts the stellar essence to the sleeping plants. 

Every bird which flies has the thread of the infinite in its claw. Germination includes the hatching of a meteor and the tap of a swallow’s bill breaking the egg, and it all leads forth to the birth of the earthworm, and the advent of Socrates.

Who understands the flux of the infinitely great and the infinitely small, the echoing of causes in the abysses of being, and the avalanches of creation? The small is great, the great is small, all is in equilibrium in necessity. Fearful vision for the mind.

Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins. Which has the grander view? Choose. A bit of mould is a pleiad of flowers, a nebula is an anthill of stars.

In the vast cosmical changes, the universal life comes and goes in untold quantities, rolling all in the invisible mystery, losing no dream from no single sleep, sowing a gnat here, crumbling a star there, oscillating and winding, making a force of light, and an element of thought, dissolving all, reducing everything to the soul-atom, save that geometrical point, the Me.

Entangling all, from the highest to the lowest, in a dizzying mechanism, hanging the flight of an insect upon the movement of the earth. A machine made of mind. An enormous gearing, whose first motor is the gnat, and whose last wheel, is the zodiac.






My edit of a favourite passage from Les Miserables, that I read along with some poetry at the 25 November Campaign Dinner in Leura for Janet Mays, independent candidate for the seat of the Blue Mountains at the forthcoming New South Wales state election, to be held on 26 March 2011.





1 comment:

  1. What can one say of Victor Hugo except to acknowledge the profound talent of the man in so many domains? At the David to C├ęzanne exhibition, I discovered for the first time some ink and wash works on paper that Hugo had dashed off between a novel and a poem. Turner would have been proud of them! As for politics, I'm sorry I missed your reading. And oh, to have been in the National Assembly when Hugo was defending a cause!

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