Pervasive Quotations

Beach full of quotations gold

All quotation is, in a sense, quoting one’s self. You tell me your religion, and you tell me who you are. The selection of book or leader is in the eye of the beholder, or it is the rock upon which we find ourselves after the latest storm. Our eye omits the inconsistencies and our ears are deaf to subtler tones beyond our kin. So we define ourselves precisely.

We can completely throw off the training wheels of book quotations, but we will read ourselves elsewhere anyway, and quote that. When the thoughts are ours at last, then our text may not be so peppered with quotation marks, unless out of respect or modesty—yet the communal obligation remains. We could try to quote pure Space but to do so we will borrow some words. Is it exaggeration to say that anything short of the absolute is quotation? We try to shrink the footnotes toward the number one. But the thoughts in space and in print are dense as stars, and we will be hard pressed to avoid quotation. It would be ideal to quote ourselves in spirit, but the best thoughts floating there are fully communal. We may fail to number our references explicitly, yet the communal ghost of our pasts, the legions who have occupied us down the ages, these still circulate freely in us.

Citing ones’ own thought is no guarantee of improvement over book quotes. A careless demonstration from book or brain is equally flat. A source without light is a source without light, weather concocted from pieces of stuff presumably “original” to one’s own cranium or drawn from ink laid down by other humans. And a prejudice housed in book or brain, and passed along has the same lack of merit.

We have a whole beach full of quotations. In the morning light I can’t see the minute bits mirroring the sun, a shinning path. When we leave Earth behind, these grains will be a memory, and we will trade them for stars. Meanwhile, we may submit thesis and antithesis about the relative dullness or luminosity of this or that point. It is good exercise for future astronauts.

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