Yvy Truong

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. – Oscar Wilde

Things Fall Apart, Heart of Darkness, Apocalypse Now

I know it doesn’t matter whether or not I write any more blogs posts since yesterday was the last lecture and Arts One is for the most part, over. However, I’ll take it upon myself that I admit writing these blogs have been a (bit – not entirely) a chore. However, I find a certain amount of freedom now that I don’t feel it is mandatory to write them. I wish to. And if I don’t stress the freedom I have on this blog, I might explode into a million little pieces.

I want to talk both about the book and the essay prompts that were given to us for the last in-class essay.

The end of Things Fall Apart, strongly addresses history and the production of history. In the beginning of the novel, we follow Okonkwo and his wives, the Igbo people… Essentially Achebe is giving agency to the Igbo people in a way that is not under the microscope of the lens of the “other” – the “other” being British/Western Imperialists. By the end of the novel we reach the death of Okonkwo. A death that has no significance, and yet all the more importance. When Okonkwo dies that becomes the full end of the Igbo people as we first knew them to be. The Igbo people no longer matter. Customs, tradition, etc., become nothing more but an opening to “primitive culture”. The District Commissioner reduces Okonkwo (actually, by this point Okonkwo doesn’t even have a name) into a few pages. Perhaps barely a paragraph. Agency and history (history being a way that we may understand our existence, identity, and our selves) is taken a way, and rewritten. I feel like I understand the question as to whether or not Joseph Conrad is a racist but I also feel like I have to challenge my perspective of what racism is. Racism isn’t just blatant eradication of a culture. It may not be obvious. Racism in the case of Heart of Darkness and Things Fall Apart, is the act of erasing people. It is the act of writing people how you wish them to be and allowing no other way of being or constituting their own self. This has all to do with history and the production of history. It has all to do about how we understand the world and the past in present context. It very much has to do with Trouillot and Hacking. 

In the lecture of Coppola’s film Apocalypse Now, I admittedly was taken aback when I saw the quote about him saying that it was not a film. It was not a film about the Vietnam War. It was Vietnam. Vietnam’s identity becomes warfare, rape, and how the Americans saw it. Sure, I like Coppola’s films, but does he allow agency or room for the Vietnamese? No, I don’t believe he does. Are Vietnamese people seen as the other? Indeed.

And this leads to another question: Could we write history (and I mean this is present tense because the construction of history is in the present) that ignores the “Other”? Must the “Other” exist? I can only think that it is in some ways necessary, and yet I can only think about de Beauvoir and Fanon. I can only think about whether or not essence precedes existence or if it is the other way around. If existence precedes essence.

As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to also talk about the essay prompts that were given for the last in-class essay. I prepared for it, but I was unfortunately not able to write about it. It was the question about (and I unfortunately can’t remember the whole prompt) Okonkwo and how he understands masculinity/femininity and if he succeeds in being a man. It was interesting because it not only addresses gender roles, masculinity/femininity, but also what it means to be human.

As must as we have been studying the idea of the “Other”, I find that it doesn’t provide a full picture. There is the idea of the “Expectation” (or, the “Ideal”) as well, I think. It’s like the idea of the Golden Age in which we should aspire towards, but pertains to the individual. It is who we should be, what is expected of us to be… (Side Note: There is a tension between the agency which history provides and the idea that we can understand history only within the context of the present). Okonkwo aspires to be what is expected of him, or the ideal of what it means to be a man. However, he fails because what he aspires to be (the “Expectation”, the “Ideal”) does not acknowledge short comings, consequences, failure, etc., The “Ideal” is the standalone. Anything that opposes it becomes its opposite – something that cannot be constituted as what is “Ideal”. This also is reflected in Okonkwo’s wife, Ekweifi when she fails to provide offspring. In order to be a woman, she must fulfil the “Idea” – to be a woman is to bear children.

So what does it mean to be human? Does it solely mean achieving what is expected of us? This reminds me of Judith Butler in Antigone’s Claim. 

Well, that’s all the rambling I have for now.


The closer we get to the end the more I find myself appreciating the Stream B theme. Everything is starting to tie all together, and I believe I am making more sense out of everything we have read so far. In retrospect, the past things we have read have more importance and significance.

I greatly appreciated Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart. I’ve been wanting to read it for a while, and finally the day has come.


I think what made me want to read Things Fall Apart was because of the poem The Second Coming by Yeats, which I think that just like The Hollow Men which referenced The Heart of Darkness, is a really important piece of modernist literature. When I studied the poem in my Literature class last year, I remember my teacher talking about a Philosopher who talked a lot about the removal of a core, and if/when the core is removed, everything falls apart. I can’t remember the name of that Philosopher, but when I find out I’ll make a small edit and add it in. It’s an interesting idea though, that the function, the reason for a being to exist, etc., etc., is based upon a centre core, and without it everything falls apart. 

The discussion that was brought up in class was the idea that there isn’t one specific core, or at least, it’s not primarily the concerns of the European. There are two cores that are crumbling (or at least, that is what Achebe is trying to bring to light). I also though what was interesting was the idea of history. The idea of repetition, reform, and remaking (haha, I get it, Remake/Remodel, how could I forget?), and the function that history has. History is what both binds us to a past of customs, or an image (imago, Fanon) that shapes the way we think or know ourselves (Hacking). What happens and what is said to have happened are constantly changing, and contouring against and with each other (Trouillot). However, if there is no history or if a history is based upon one perspective, what agency do we have? What rights are we entitled to? How weird it would be to think that every new age or new generation are the Adam and Eve of the world (Paine). But all the same, words and forgotten, language cannot be so easily translated from one to another. What understanding do we have? 

Thinking about Beauvoir

First off, I just want to say that today’s lecture was absolutely wonderful. Now that we’re close to ending the year (10 essays completed, 2-3 more to go) we’re all starting to approach the last few lectures left of Arts One. Today’s lecture on Beauvoir combined so many different elements of what we have learned and captured the theme of Remaking and Remodelling very well. It was a pleasure being at lecture today.

As for Beauvoir, there is more to love. I think there is so much to unpack with what she is saying, who she is, and where her voice is coming from that I think it will be a bit of a struggle to write a blog post about her. Both because I don’t believe I fully understand her text but also because I think there is so many elements that were touched upon in Beauvoir that I don’t know how to fathom it all. So I’ll try my best.

The idea of the “feminine gaze” on men is something that really stood out to me. Women are the seen at the Other, the exception to the rule, the abnormal – as opposed to the man who is seen as “correct”, the standard of being, the normative. However, it is not truly because women are truly different (except in the anatomical sense), but it is because that if the man is seen at the normative, then the is naturally woman seen as the body which opposes it – that which deviates from the normative. And this is because woman sexuality, woman has a being,  is understood from a male perspective. Women have been and are compared. This reminds me of Judith Butler and how when thinking and talking about gender/sexuality, then we have to be cautious of the lens in which we view it.

But there is something else that I want to talk about that stood out to be as well! And that is Situated Freedom and  little about existentialism. Being and Nothingness. There is actually some sort of comfort I think that there is no real, essential meaning to ones life but that the meaning that we obtain is deliberately made by us. It is not something given to us, it is something that is created and for the purpose that it makes ones life worth living. In terms of situated freedom, it reminds me a bit about the Karl Marx quote (and I can’t remember it in full), that our fate, or the fate of humanity is not within conditions chosen, but rather under conditions transmitted by the past. But we do have the freedom to make choice presently, and then those choices will be again, in return, transmitted to the future. And it makes me hopeful, because it reminds me of Sisyphus. It reminds me that we must imagine Sisyphus happy.

I know this blog post is a bit… mashed together and doesn’t make coherent sense and I apologize.

But a little bit on a personal note…

I’m starting to reflect upon my first year of University here at UBC. And I remember in the beginning of the year, where all the first year students were in he Thunderbird Stadium chanting “I am UBC”. I still don’t think I can say that I am UBC. I think my career here is barely half fulfilled and I don’t think I am deserving to be apart of this. At least not yet.
I feel a bit like Sisyphus.
I am close to the end of my first year here at UBC. I am close the the top of the mountain, and I can start to feel the horizon and the setting of the sun. However, because I am so close to the top of the mountain, with all consciousness, I know that the rock will fall to the foot of the mountain. I can feel the anxiety of restarting and it scares me. But once the rock falls, I will go forth to it. I will go forth to my fate. And again, I will make my way to the top of the mountain. I must imagine Sisyphus happy. And when we looked at the Essay written by Camus, I don’t think I fully understood why we must imagine him happy. Right now, I think I must imagine him happy because… If I am to say that I am Sisyphus, or that my challenges are much like his, I have to acknowledge that I am not the only one carrying the rock on top of the hill. Sisyphus is happy. And I am too, because as I moved the rocked higher to the top of the mountain, I’ve met so many wonderful people.


Sorry to get so overly sentimental right now. But, oh well.


And so it goes.


Alright, because I am supposed to actually do my post on Paine for this week instead of Hacking…. Here it is!

After today’s lecture on Paine, I really wished I understood Hobbes better! And not to say that I’m fully clueless on Hobbes, I know the general gist of what he’s saying (the natural state of man is war, the role of the sovereign, etc.,)  and I can understand how it fits in what Paine is talking about… But, one thing that my mind strayed off to was thinking about Foucault and the idea of the bio-power. It seems like the role of the sovereign and the bio-power are both very similar but at the same time very different from one another.

The idea of the sovereign was to make order against the state of nature, that of which from Hobbes we know is a state of war. But the role of the sovereign as well (and we know this from Foucault), “[t]he sovereign exercised his right of life only by exercising his right to kill” (taken from The History of Sexuality). The sovereign is also there to protect the natural rights of man: Life, Liberty, and Property.The bio-power on the other hand is similar in the sense that it works (from my understanding) as a form of power. Even though it concerns itself with the upkeep (maintenance) and the study of their people, increasing health and well being etc., it also may conflict with other bio-powers, therefore the role of the bio-power also becomes similar to the sovereign where it concerns and protects its people when put up against other bio-powers….. Okay, so maybe the connection isn’t very strong but I think I’ll keep it in my mind because I might be on to something! Or I might not be! But I’m using my brain so that’s one good thing!

There were other things that I wanted to talk about but… I can’t seem to think of it right now. I have the most terrible memory sometimes… But, fear not for I will just make another post!

Before Paine, Hacking

Okay, so the title for this blog post doesn’t make sense. I feel like I haven’t been making many blogs posts on the texts we have been reading so… Before I talk about Paine, I want to talk about Hacking. Later I’ll be making another post about Fanon, though we read Black Skin, White Masks quite a long time ago. But I think just recording my thoughts on the books are a good thing (even though, in my case, they’re late…*)

Before I begin talking about Hacking, above I shared the trailer for the movie Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind, which I would have to say is one of my favourite movies, and in some ways it does relate to Hacking! Briefly, the movie is about a treatment at this place called Lacuna, where they can erase memories. Things that remind you of pain such as the death of loved ones, heartbreaks, failures, etc., those memories can be erased. It’s as if they never happened at all. I would recommend everyone to watch it, I think it’s a lovely film and I know my summary doesn’t give the movie justice but that’s the general gist of what it’s about.

So on to Hacking.

Close to the end of Hacking’s Rewriting the Soul, he questions the idea of “knowing thyself”, the ability to be self reflective, to rely on narratives, and memory to understand who and what we are. But from Trouillot’s work that we read earlier in the year Silencing the Past, our narratives change the event. Hacking as well gives examples of instances where the narratives, how we speak of the past events that generates our identity, may be far from what actually happened (that to Trouillot would be how the two historicities affect each other). And what also stood out to be was in the case of Pierre Janet, how we may be able to base ourselves upon lies, a believe it so much so that we become and entirely new person. So the command of know thyself is a bit… Vague. I want to use the word trivial, but that wouldn’t be the right word. Absurd, maybe. Do we really know who we are and what we represent? And if so, what is it based upon? This also reminds me of Fanon when he wrote about “the Other”. That we know who we are because we are not “them”; the people we compare ourselves to. So, is it possible to know who we are? Well, the answer seems to be that… No, not really – haha. We are who we are in the context of society, in the context of history, and in the context of our narratives. That seems a little bleak, but here is where I think there is a silver lining! We are given so many narratives, so many interpretations, opinions, etc., The past will always be reinterpreted and will always be analysed in a new light. Because we are presented with a plethora of opinions, to know thyself is a challenge. And though we may never fully be able to know who we are, to strive to understand and to be self-reflective I think, is the more tangible thing to do. 

*February New Years Resolution: (1) Stop procrastinating. (2) Stop taking naps in the evening after school.

A Note on Foucault and Sexuality

After reading a bit of Foucault, it made my mind do a bit of running. I will say though, it deserves a second read to understand it more clearly.

But, as I was saying… Reading Foucault made me really think about how we think about sexuality today. I don’t know how to think of it really. For one, you could say that we have progressed forward and more sexually liberated. More and more we are pushing towards equality and people who aren’t heterosexual are allowed to express themselves. When people who are attacked because they are homosexual, transsexual, etc., etc., we see that as hate crimes. Just recently on the Grammy’s (I believe it was the Grammy’s anyway) I believe 30 couples got married (and not all of them were heterosexual couples mind you). However, though we are allowed to express sexuality, you could argue that our image of sexuality is a bit too… risqué? Overly-sexualized perhaps? (And I’m speaking of Western culture because I think if we observe cultures in different countries, sex really is something not talked about, people cannot publicly express their sexual orientations, and women are prohibited in many ways). As a young woman, I cannot easily ignore the standards that are emplaced before me. There are adds that exploit sexuality, there are billboards of women parading in teenie-weenie undies, frolicking in a sexual euphoria, and pornography may set a wrong example of what sex is (at at least what I think sex is)

But is that liberating?

Sexual liberation seems to be a bit of a paradox. In one sense we are more free to express ourselves but on the other, there are standards and depictions of sexuality that are a bit ridiculous.

Haha, so what I’m really saying is that I shouldn’t be shunned for wearing my granny-panties.

A Note on Freud

I think I’ll be mentioning this in seminar on Wednesday but I guess I’ll mention it right now here on my blog. In the beginning of Freud’s Dora: An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria, I believe on page 9, I find it funny that Freud quotes Goethe’s Faust. Though we only read Marlowe’s story of Doctor Faustus, from my understanding Doctor Faustus is a man looking for absolute knowledge (or perhaps absolute power?) and obtains it through the means of unnatural/supernatural entities (hello there, Lucifer and Mephistopheles!). But in the end, he ends up making a fool of himself by playing these stupid little pranks. However, not to say that we can’t learn anything from Doctor Faustus (and when I mean that, I mean if the opprotunity every presents itself, don’t be like him). So, what does that have to do with Dora and Freud? Well, I find that Freud is a mimicry of Faustus in the sense that, sure he may be a clever guy in his own special way, but he ends up looking ridiculous. I think (am I being too harsh?) that the most important thing we can learn from Faustus – I mean Freud (woops, I made a Freudian slip, darn subconscious), is not to follow his example of psychoanalysis. Sure, you can read Dora and roll your eyes in agony or let your jaw drop (and perhaps more than once… Yes, some of his things are that ridiculous!), but Freud is useful is some ways and that is to warn us to not follow his method.

A Note on Romanticism

I think English Romanticism has to be my favourite period of English Literature. Though Wordsworth and Coleridge have written wonderful works of literature I have to admit, they aren’t my favourites. It would have to be Thomas Grey, John Keats, and Percy Bysshe Shelley. I know I should be writing my blog post about Lyrical Ballads, but I think I’ll apply what I learned from lecture to some of my other favourite Romantic poetry. More specifically, I want to write about Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind. 


O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave,until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill:

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and Preserver; hear, O hear!


Thou on whose stream, 'mid the steep sky's commotion,
Loose clouds like Earth's decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith's height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: O hear!


Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams,

Beside a pumice isle in Baiae's bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave's intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic's level powers

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow grey with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: O hear!


If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O Uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne'er have striven

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.


Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawakened Earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

There are a few reasons why I love this poem and it aligns well with what was mentioned in lecture today. One of the things mentioned was innovation against form of poetry. Not necessarily against old traditional form, (in fact, this poem by Shelly is composed of five sonnets), but as was mentioned, innovations of those forms. So as I said, this poem is composed of five sonnets, but the rhyming pattern isn’t one that follows the traditional English Sonnet (or known as the Shakespearian sonnet – because there are a few sonnet ‘types’), rather than A-B-A-B, C-D-C-D, E-F-E-F, G-G the pattern goes A-B-A-, B-C-B, C-D-C, D-E-D (also known as Terza Rima). I admire the choice in in rhythm patter because it mimics the motion of the wind (a-ha, it’s an Ode to the West Wind), but more specifically, how helicopter seeds move in the wind (I don’t know the actual name for them, so I’ll just call them helicopter seeds).

The idea of seeds as well is something that I like to mention. The idea that the wind might blow seeds to any direction it chooses, and that our lives, and fate is something that we cannot necessarily control (but the thing about fate is that I’m not too sure if I believe in it, but Shelly’s idea here is still very lovely I think). In this poem, the livelihood of the seed is up to the wind. If the seed is blown to fair conditions, it grows. If not, it dies.

I think there is a lot more to say about this poem than what I have so far, but for now it will suffice. However, if anyone here wants to add on to my blog post, please feel free!

A Note on the Kingdom of This World

Well, I haven’t made an actual blog post in a very long time, but here it is. A Note on the Kingdom of This World.

I should have written this post in the beginning of last week but I have been thinking about it for a while now, and I think my opinion on it has changed a little. In the beginning, all I could think about was how the narrator of the story took a more omniscient point of view and I thought that the reason behind this was because Carpentier wanted the audience to judge for themselves whom to sympathize with (of if we should sympathize with any of the characters). Though I still somewhat hold that opinion,  I think it has shifted a little bit. And it’s due to this one thing I’ve found in the novel: that it can essentially be read backwards and the reader will still get the same story. A story on slavery, revolution, the notion of freedom… And judge whether or not it exists. The events that take place repeat itself and repeats for the same reason, provoked the same way but within different iterations. So, I have to ask… Who are the guilty ones? Because it seems as though no one is right and no one is wrong.

The Hollow Men

Mistah Kurtz-he dead
A penny for the Old Guy
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellarShape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.


Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer-

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom


This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.


The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

– T.S. Eliot

A Note


PERCHANCE he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that. The church is Catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to that body which is my head too, and ingrafted into that body whereof I am a member. And when she buries a man, that action concerns me: all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another. As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come, so this bell calls us all; but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness. There was a contention as far as a suit (in which both piety and dignity, religion and estimation, were mingled), which of the religious orders should ring to prayers first in the morning; and it was determined, that they should ring first that rose earliest. If we understand aright the dignity of this bell that tolls for our evening prayer, we would be glad to make it ours by rising early, in that application, that it might be ours as well as his, whose indeed it is. The bell doth toll for him that thinks it doth; and though it intermit again, yet from that minute that that occasion wrought upon him, he is united to God. Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises? but who takes off his eye from a comet when that breaks out? Who bends not his ear to any bell which upon any occasion rings? but who can remove it from that bell which is passing a piece of himself out of this world?

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee. Neither can we call this a begging of misery, or a borrowing of misery, as though we were not miserable enough of ourselves, but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the misery of our neighbours. Truly it were an excusable covetousness if we did, for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it. No man hath affliction enough that is not matured and ripened by and made fit for God by that affliction. If a man carry treasure in bullion, or in a wedge of gold, and have none coined into current money, his treasure will not defray him as he travels. Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not current money in the use of it, except we get nearer and nearer our home, heaven, by it. Another man may be sick too, and sick to death, and this affliction may lie in his bowels, as gold in a mine, and be of no use to him; but this bell, that tells me of his affliction, digs out and applies that gold to me: if by this consideration of another’s danger I take mine own into contemplation, and so secure myself, by making my recourse to my God, who is our only security.

John Donne


I just wanted to share this. It looms my head from time to time.

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