Sagasti’s sentences

There are some great sentences in Luis Sagasti’s Fireflies (Charco Press), a lyrical, fragmentary essay on human life and history:

The world is a ball of wool. A skein of yarn you can’t find the end of.

Conspiracy theories. An explanation that arises from intellectual laziness: the idea that a shadowy group has chosen to weave the plots of all of our lives.

The darkest dark and the whitest light are equally blinding.

Computer software automatically corrects mistyped words. The words have locks. Cyberspace is smooth and uniform. There are no cracks in the surface: we only find what we are looking for.

One night Wittgenstein enters enemy territory and lights a cigarette (probably the last one he smoked in his life). It is well known that you can take three puffs before a soldier blows your brains out: by the third drag the enemy has taken aim, and is ready to fire at the glowing point in the dark.

Everything tends to be slower in the cold, until it reaches the most crystalline stillness, which is why people walk faster. The breath that freezes as soon as it leaves his mouth, the raw material with which the tongue forms words, or whatever remains of language, remnants surrounded by noise.

It’s a well-known line: there are no atheists in foxholes. God, like fireflies, only shines in the darkness, wrote Schopenhauer. In the trenches, the only light is that of enemy fire. Up there in space, where the darkness is total, travelling at over 16,500 miles per hour in a tiny craft that will reach a temperature of 1,000 degrees Celsius when it re-enters the atmosphere, with no computer to control the descent, Yuri Gagarin declares, without ceremony, in a firm voice despite being curled up in a near-foetal position, I see no God up here. That’s what you call having balls.

No animal gazes at the sky. That’s why the sky, according to the shamans, is always full of animals.

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