The more controversial I can be in my writing, the prouder I am of what I’ve said. I think truth is in controversy, the controversial, more than in the consistency of accepted norms and beliefs.

I own my failures and successes; I own all that I am. But in terms of possession I own nothing, not even myself. I may be possessed, but not self-possessed (whatever that’s supposed to mean). This self I call mine is not a matter of ownership, it’s a matter of freedom. Of being as if being were the same as not being. And being or nonbeing are (substantive) illusions that give me the further illusion of life . . . and will until death either confirms or busts all illusions. It makes no difference which because, living or dead, I am existentially free.

Smash everything! And rebuild it according to your heart’s desire. I dont think I’m the first to have said this.

A man’s life work can be reduced to nothing by the stroke of a sudden insight. His work, perhaps his life itself, hangs on the thread of a single thought—a realization or intuition.

A reputation can be decimated by the realization it was all based on—or sabotaged by—ego.

A genuine sense of fulfillment is a result not of ego or insight, but of the work both have informed . . . yet which manifests a spirit, a magic, an enchantment that somehow transcends ego and insight. It touches something much more elemental, even atavistic, in the human soul. It touches it because at point of contact—communication—it is as real and tangible as reality can be, no matter how much it may partake of the illusions that give it its magic. What it touches and the touch itself are life’s sweetest fruits.

I dont have time to know everything, be it exoteric or esoteric, be it circumstantial or theoretical. But if I can know—I mean truly know and understand, and benefit from the knowledge and understanding—the principles of what is, then I am content.

I think the greatest writers are those who have revealed the most about themselves, no matter what they wrote about. However imperfect, inadequate they were as men or women, as social ciphers, they gave the impression they were not afraid of themselves—and so not afraid of revealing themselves, whether directly or obliquely.

Reading takes time, as does the comprehension of what we read, which takes place through a process of decoding grammar, diction, semantics, style. But when this has been done, or even as it is being done, understanding, if it is to happen at all, happens in a flash—as if it were a flash of insight. What one has just read belongs no longer to the author but to the reader who has assimilated it, made it his own, and thus reduced the words, for all his respect for their author and the words themselves, to a status subservient to his (the reader’s) insight, his personal world of knowledge and understanding.

This realization should humble all authors. Their work ultimately does not belong to them.