Mount Analogue

A knife is neither true nor false, but anyone impaled on its blade is in error.

All the means we've been given to stay alert we use to ornament our sleep. If instead of endlessly inventing new ways to make life more comfortable we'd apply our ingenuity to fabricating instruments to jog man out of his torpor!

Art is here taken to mean knowledge realized in action.

At that point [Father Sogol] gave me a roguish and forceful look demanding my complicity in this adroit falsehood. For naturally everyone was still in the dark. But by this simple ruse each person had the impression of belonging to a minority, of being among "one or two not yet informed," felt himself surrounded by a convinced majority, and was eager to be quickly convinced himself. This simple method of Sogol's for "getting the audience into the palm of his hand," as he phrased it, was a simple application of the mathematical method that consists in "considering the problem as solved." And he also used the chemical analogy of a "chain reaction." But if this use was employed in the service of truth, could one still call it falsehood? In any case everyone pricked up his ears.

Besides, often at difficult moments you'll catch yourself talking to the mountain, flattering it, cursing it, making promises or threats. And you will have the impression that the mountain answers you if you speak to it properly—by becoming gentler, more submissive. Don't think the less of yourself for that; don't be ashamed of behaving like those our specialists call primitives and animists. Just keep in mind, when you remember these moments later on, that your dialogue with nature was just the outward image of an inner dialogue with yourself.

Eternity He who binds himself to a joy Does the winged life destroy But he who kisses the joy as it flies Lives in eternity’s sun rise —WILLIAM BLAKE

et les anciens sages instruisaient leurs disciples sur le bord des précipices...

He questioned us one after the other. Each one of his questions—all of them very simple: Who were we? Why had we come?—caught us completely off our guard and seemed to probe our very insides. Who are you? Who am I? We could not answer him as we could a police official or a customs inspector. Give one's name and profession? What does that mean? But *who* are you? And *what* are you? The words we uttered—we had none better—were worthless, repugnant and grotesque as dead things. We realized that with the guides of Mount Analogue, we could no longer get away with just words.

However, since they were completely ignorant of the laws of the place, they were caught in a whirlpool. Condemned to turn round and round in slow circles, they could still bombard the coast, but all their shells came back at them like boomerangs. It was a ludicrous fate.

I am dead because I lack desire,
I lack desire because I think I possess,
I think I possess because I do not try to give,
In trying to give, you see that you have nothing,
Seeing that you have nothing, you try to give of yourself,
Trying to give of yourself, you see that you are nothing,
Seeing that you are nothing, you desire to become,
In desiring to become, you begin to live.

I am dead because I lack desire;
I lack desire because I think I possess;
I think I possess because I do not try to give.
In trying to give, you see that you have nothing;
Seeing you have nothing, you try to give of yourself;
Trying to give of yourself, you see that you are nothing;
Seeing you are nothing, you desire to become;
In desiring to become, you begin to live.

If I were to tell this story the way history is usually written or the way each of us recalls his own past, which means recording only the most glorious moments and inventing a new continuity for them, I should omit these little details and say that our eight stout hearts drummed from morning to night in time with a single all-encompassing desire—or some such lie. But the flame that kindles desire and illuminates thought never burned for more than a few seconds at a stretch. The rest of the time we tried to remember it.
Fortunately the demands of daily work, in which each of us had his vital role, reminded us that we had come aboard of our own free will, that we were indispensable to one another, and that we were on a ship—that is to say, in a temporary habitation, designed to transport us somewhere else. If anyone forgot it, someone else lost no time in reminding him.

If, on the way back from the Passage des Patriarches to my apartment near Saint-Germain-des-Prés, I had thought of examining myself like a transparent foreign body, I should have discovered one of the laws which governs the behavior of "featherless bipeds unequipped to conceive the number pi"—Father Sogol's definition of the species to which he, you, and I belong. This law might be termed: inner resonance to influences nearest at hand. The guides on Mount Analogue, who explained it to me later, called it simply the chameleon law. Father Sogol had really convinced me, and while he was talking to me, I was prepared to follow him in his crazy expedition. But as I neared home, where I could again find all my old habits, I imagined my colleagues at the office, the writers I knew, and my best friends listening to an account of the conversation I had just had. I could imagine their sarcasm, their skepticism, and their pity. I began to suspect myself of naiveté and credulity, so much so that when I tried to tell my wife about meeting Father Sogol, I caught myself using expressions like "a funny old fellow," "an unfrocked monk," "a slightly daffy inventor," "a crazy idea.

If you slip or have a minor fall, don't allow yourself an instant's pause. Find your pace again the moment you get up. In your mind take careful note of the circumstances of your fall, but don't let your body linger over what happened. The body constantly tries to draw attention to itself by its shiverings, its breathlessness, its palpitations, its shudders and sweats and cramps; but it reacts quickly to any scorn and indifference in its master. Once it senses that he is not taken in by its jeremiads, once it understands that it will inspire no pity for it that way, then it comes into line and obediently accomplishes its task.

In the evenings in bed, with the light out, I tried to picture death, the “most nothing of all.” In imagination I suppressed all the circumstances of my life and I felt gripped in ever tighter circles of panic. There was no longer any “I.” What is it after all, “I”? ...Then one night, a marvelous idea came to me: Instead of just submitting to this panic, I would try to observe it, to see where it is, what it is. I perceived then that it was
connected to a contraction in my stomach, a little under my ribs, and also in my throat...I forced myself to unclench, to relax my stomach. The panic disappeared ... when I tried again to think about death, instead of being gripped by the claws of panic I was filled by an entirely new feeling, whose name I did not know, something between mystery and hope."
-Mount Analogue, Rene Daumal

I succeeded by following the same method, which consists in regarding the problem as solved and deducing from the solution all logical consequences.

I think I possess because I do not try to give,
Trying to give, I see that I have nothing.

Keep your eye fixed on the way to the top, but don't forget to look right in front of you. The last step depends on the first. Don't think you're there just because you see the summit. Watch your footing, be sure of the next step, but don't let that distract you from the highest goal. The first step depends on the last.

Never halt on a shifting slope. Even if you think you have a firm foothold...

Now, in my readings and in my travels I have heard, like you, about men of a superior type, possessing the keys to all our mysteries. Somehow I could not regard this as a simple allegory, this idea of an invisible humanity within visible humanity. Experience has proven, I told myself, that a man can reach truth neither directly nor alone; an intermediary must exist—still human in certain respects yet surpassing humanity in others. Somewhere on our Earth this superior humanity must exist, and it cannot be absolutely inaccessible. And so shouldn’t all my efforts be devoted to discovering it? Even if, in spite of my certainty, I were the victim of a monstrous illusion, I would have nothing to lose in making the effort, for in any case, without this hope, all life is meaningless. “But where to look? Where to begin? I had already traveled the world, stuck my nose everywhere, into all sorts of religious sects and mystical cults, but to each one it was always: maybe yes, maybe no. Why should I stake my life on this one rather than that one? You see, I had no touchstone.

Shoes, unlike feet, are not something you're born with. So you can choose what you want. At first be guided in your choice by people with experience, later by your own experience. Before long you will become so accustomed to your shoes that every nail will be like a finger to feel out the rock and cling to it. They will become a sensitive and dependable instrument, like a part of yourself. And yet, you're not born with them; when they're worn out, you'll throw them away and still remain what you are.

Sogol’s aim was to measure the power of thought as an absolute value.
“This power,” said Sogol, “is arithmetical. In fact, all thought is a capacity to grasp the divisions of a whole. Now, numbers are nothing but the divisions of the unity, that is, the divisions of absolutely any whole. In myself and others, I began to observe how many numbers a man can really conceive, that is, how many he can represent to himself without breaking them up or jotting them down: how many successive consequences of a principle he can grasp at once, instantaneously; how many inclusions of species as kind; how many relations of cause and effect, of ends to means; and I never found a number higher than four. And yet, this number four corresponded to an exceptional mental effort, which I obtained only rarely. The thought of an idiot stopped at one, and the ordinary thought of most people goes up to two, sometimes three, very rarely to four.

The cock crowing in the milky dawn thinks its call raises the sun; the child howling in a closed room thinks its cries open the door. But the sun and the mother go their own way, following the laws of their beings. Those who see us, even though we cannot see ourselves, opened the door for us, answering our puerile calculations, our unsteady desires, and our awkward efforts with a generous welcome.

...the odor of literature as a stopgap, of words piled one upon the other to avoid taking action or to console oneself for being incapable of it.

The path of greatest desires often lies ...through the undesirable.

To return to the source of things, one has to travel in the opposite direction.

Tout ce qu'on adore est cadavre, sauf Dieu [...]. C'est pourquoi je dis: mon corps est mort, ma voix est morte; toute science est cadavre, toute oeuvre est un cadavre

un couteau, dit un autre, n'est ni vrai ni faux, mais celui qui l'empoigne par la lame est dans l'erreur".

What did we possess of real value? ...For no one saw anything around him or in him which really belonged to him. It reached the point where we were just eight beggars, possessing nothing...