T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week


A girl in a traditional folk dress takes a nap during the Palóc festival honoring St. Anna in Balassagyarmat, Hungary. (Peter Komka, wsj.com July 29, 2018)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

ben-dunlap

And I realized, in this moment of revelation, that what these two men (Dr. Francis Robicsek and Roger Milliken) were revealing was the secret of their extraordinary success, each in his own right. And it lay precisely in that insatiable curiosity, that irrepressible desire to know, no matter what the subject, no matter what the cost, even at a time when the keepers of the Doomsday Clock are willing to bet even money that the human race won’t be around to imagine anything in the year 2100, a scant 93 years from now. “Live each day as if it is your last,” said Mahatma Gandhi. “Learn as if you’ll live forever.” This is what I’m passionate about. It is precisely this. It is this inextinguishable, undaunted appetite for learning and experience, no matter how risible, no matter how esoteric, no matter how seditious it might seem. This defines the imagined futures of our fellow Hungarians — Robicsek, Teszler and Bartok — as it does my own. As it does, I suspect, that of everybody here.

To which I need only add, “Ez a mi munkank; es nem is keves.” This is our task; we know it will be hard.“Ez a mi munkank; es nem is keves. Jó napot, pacák!” 

~ Ben DunlapThe Life-long Learner, TED Talk

Not a single feather trembles

egret

Everything around it moves, as if just this one time and one time only, as if the message of Heraclitus has arrived here through some deep current, from the distance of an entire universe, in spite of all the senseless obstacles, because the water moves, it flows, it arrives, and cascades; now and then the silken breeze sways, the mountains quiver in the scourging heat, but this heat itself also moves, trembles, and vibrates in the land, as do the tall scattered grass-islands, the grass, blade by blade, in the riverbed; each individual shallow wave, as it falls, tumbles over the low weirs, and then, every inconceivable fleeting element of this subsiding wave, and all the individual glitterings of light flashing on the surface of this fleeting element, this surface suddenly emerging and just as quickly collapsing, with its drops of light dying down, scintillating, and then reeling in all directions, inexpressible in words; clouds are gathering; the restless, jarring blue sky high above; the sun is concentrated with horrific strength, yet still indescribable, extending onto the entire momentary creation, maddeningly brilliant, blindingly radiant.
[…]
There it is, in the middle of the Kamo, the water largely reaching up to its knees, hence the truly quite shallow weir, interspersed with small grassy enclaves, hence truly peculiar, if not the most bizarre river upon the globe, and the bird just stands, without a single movement, its body strained forward, waiting staggeringly long minutes for the day’s quarry, now already ten minutes, then a half-hour passes as well; in this waiting and attentiveness and motionlessness, time is cruelly long, and still it does not move, standing exactly the same, in exactly the same pose, not a single feather trembles, it stands, leaning forward, its beak bent at an acute angle over the mirror of the gurgling water; no one is looking, no one sees it, and if it’s not seen today then it is not seen for all eternity, the inexpressible beauty with which it stands shall remain concealed, the unique enchantment of its regal stillness shall remain unperceived: here with it, in the middle of the Kamo, in this motionlessness, in recognition that it is the one that gives meaning to everything around it, gives meaning to the spinning churning world of movement, to the dry parching heat, the vibrations, every whirling sound, scent, and picture, because it is a completely unique feature of this land, the unyielding artist of this landscape, who in its aesthetic of unparalleled motionlessness, as the fulfillment of unswerving artistic observation, rises once and for all above that to which it gives meaning, rises above it, above the frantic cavalcade of all the surrounding things, and introduces a kind of aimlessness — beautiful as well — above the local meaning permeating everything, as well as above that of its own actual activity, because what is the point of being beautiful, especially when it is just a white bird standing and waiting for something.

~ László Krasznahorkai, “Kamo-Hunter” from Seiobo There Below


Notes:

Lived in the same house all their lives. Neither ever married.

identical-twins-Lukács

identical-twins-Lukács

Huffington Post, Heartbreaking Portraits Capture Two Identical Twin Farmers At The End Of Their Lives:

They are identical twins János and István Lukács in 1985. At the time, they were in their sixties.

They worked together on the Hungarian countryside, living in the same house they’d inhabited all of their lives.

Photographer Janos Stekovics followed along while the Lukács brothers accomplished their daily tasks. They’d wake up at four in the morning, tend to the animals until noon when they’d eat a lunch of bacon and bread, and continue working until dinner. They slept in a farmhouse built by their parents, with clay walls and kerosine lamps. Sometimes it got so cold the two slept in hay beds in the barn with the horses.

Stekovics developed a deep reverence and fondness for these brothers of another time, often photographed in matching ensembles from jeans and boots to humongous fur coats. Despite their identical appearances and predilection for wonderfully complimentary poses, the two maintained distinct personalities. As Feature Shoot explained: “Where István was more gregarious, János was more of the silent and stoic type; István preferred to keep the house, and János cared mostly for the animals. Neither ever married.”

DON’T MISS THE FULL STORY AND OTHER PHOTOGRAPHS:

Heartbreaking Portraits Capture Two Identical Twin Farmers At The End Of Their Lives


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