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Black Elk

The Book That Remains Silent for Twenty Years

July 9th, 2008

‘There are books, that one has for twenty years without reading them, that one always keeps at hand, that one takes along from city to city, from country to country, carefully packed, even when there is very little room, and perhaps one leafs through them while removing them from a trunk; yet one carefully refrains from reading even a complete sentence. Then after twenty years, there comes a moment when suddenly, as though under a high compulsion, one cannot help taking in such a book from beginning to end, at one sitting: it is like a revelation. Now one knows why one made such a fuss about it. It had to be with one for a long time; it had to travel; it had to occupy space; it had to be a burden; and now it has reached the goal of its voyage, now it reveals itself, now it illuminates the twenty bygone years it mutely lived with one. It could not say so much if it had not been there mutely the whole time, and what idiot would dare to assert that the same things had always been in it.’

Elias Canetti, The Human Province

One Response to “The Book That Remains Silent for Twenty Years”

  1. Totally agree – its the same I think for music – a certain type or artist or even a song can filter in via radio or whatever for years before you suddenly click with it and it begins to mean something to you – its as though it waits for you to be ready for its message – same with spirituality – there are markers for years that one ignores and then a subtle whisper and you’re ready for the book to open…. it is as though all that you are meant to learn is with you for a long time before you start learning it….

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