Monthly Archives: April 2008

Mabel Lee

Soul Mountain is a literary response to the devastation of the self of the individual by the primitive human urge for the warmth and security of an other, or others, in other words by socialized life. The existence of an other resolves the problem of loneliness but brings with it anxieties for the individual, for inherent in any relationship is, inevitably, some form of power struggle. This is the existential dilemma confronting the individual, in relationships with parents, partners, family, friends and large collective groups. Human history abounds with cases of the individual being induced by force or ideological persuasion to submit to the power of the collective; the surrender of the self to the collective eventually becomes habit, norm convention and tradition, and this phenomenon is not unique to any one culture.
From Mabel Lee’s ‘Introduction’ to Gao Xingjian’s Soul Mountain (2000).

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Gao Xingjian

I must get out of this cave. The main peak of the Wuling Range, at the borders of the provinces of Guizhou, Sichuan, Hubei and Hunan, is 3200 meters above sea level. The annual rainfall is more than 3400 points and in one year there are barely one or two days of fine weather. When the wild winds start howling they often reach velocities of more than three hundred kilometers per hour. This is a cold, damp and evil place. I must return to the smoke and fire of the human world to search for sunlight, warmth, happiness and to search for human society to rekindle the noisiness, even if anxiety is regenerated, for that is in fact life in the human world.
Soul Mountain

The perennial and perplexing question of what is most important can be changed to a discussion of what is most authentic and at time can constitute what is known as debate. But let others discuss or debate such matters, they are of no consequence for I who am engrossed in my journey or you who are on your spiritual journey.
Soul Mountain

It is only when people refuse to accept that they shout out, even while not comprehending what they are shouting. Humans are simply such creatures, fettered by perplexities and inflicting anxiety upon themselves.
Soul Mountain

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Gabriel García Márquez

Let no one be deceived, no, thinking that what he awaits will last longer than what he has seen.
Memories of My Melancholy Whore

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Ecclesiastes

That thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9
King James Version

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Louise Erdrich

“I have never seen the truth,” said Damien, “without crossing my eyes. Life is crazy.”
The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse

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Barbara Kingsolver

She tried to put aside the misery of thinking too much.
Prodigal Summer

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William C. Brann

Too many forget that while the Lord made the world, the devil has been busy ever since putting on the finishing touches. Why, he began on the first woman before she was a week old, and he has been playing schoolmaster to her sons ever since. I confess to a sneaking respect for Satan, for he is pre-eminently a success in his chosen profession. He’s playing a desperate game against omnipotent power and is more than holding his own. He sat into the game with a cash capital of one snake; now he’s got half the globe grabbed and an option on the other half.
Brann the Iconoclast — Volume 12

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