Behold your Master!

Qui que tu sois, voici ton maître
Il l’est, le fût, ou le doit être.

—Verses by Voltaire

These verses about Eros roughly translate as:
Whosoever you might be, behold your master
He is, was, or ought to become so.
They were initially written by Voltaire specifically for Falconet’s sculpture L’Amour Menaçant. Both the statue and the epigram were so popular that they became an inspiration for many artists afterward.

Photography, picture of a statue of cupid as a boy with a finger to his lips
Etienne-Maurice Falconet, Seated Cupid (L’Amour Menaçant), 1757
Photography, picture of a Detail of Bottée's cupid statue L'Amour à l'affut showing verses by Voltaire
Detail of Bottée’s L’Amour à l’affut with verses by Voltaire
Photograph, picture of Louis-Alexandre Bottée's sculpture L'Amour à l'affut
Louis-Alexandre Bottée, L’Amour à l’affut, 1888

Desire

It is said that desire is a product of the will, but the converse is in fact true: will is a product of desire.

Denis Diderot

Desire makes everything blossom; possession makes everything wither and fade. 

Marcel Proust

Desire is the fountainhead of two streams, one flowing through the evocative, the other through the flesh. Desire fuels dreams, enflames our passions, and feeds the creative thrust, forging experience into the memories that shape the soul. Whereas Desire thrives on harmony, greed is the insatiable acquisitiveness that leads to mayhem and destruction.

From A Book to Free the Soul ©
mythology picture, image, print of the gods/goddesses Ceres, Bacchus, Venus and Eros
Hendrick Goltzius, Without Ceres and Bacchus Venus would Freeze, Ink and oil on canvas, ca 1600

The Perpetual Optimists

The perpetual optimists for their part question nothing, being under the ruling imperative to curate happy faces and dispel any suspicious little cloud. Meanwhile, the leaders of the hive cultivate a methodical “shock-and-awe” strategy of merriment with mass entertainments, sweet demagogy, rampant consumerism, the promulgation of positive thinking, or the propagation of prosperity theology. The aim is to preserve the status quo combined with a state of blissful hope. We are not suffering from an epidemic of pessimism; we are infected with a recurrent virus of unhinged enthusiasm and confidence. Why else would we persist in trusting the same ideas and powers that historically failed us?
All forms of optimism unchecked by a lucid sense of logic have a potential for tragic results. Smiley is the noonday sun that promises the light and delivers scorching heat. Our makeshift wings keep us afloat on the winds of elation, but as we near the zenith, the wax that holds the feathers is melting, and we are bound to be precipitated into the sea of uncertainty whence we came

From A Book to Free the Soul ©
an image, picture, painting of Icarus the youthful tragic hero of Greek mythology
Galileo Chini, Icarus, 1907


Reader of Oneself

Every reader, as he reads, is actually the reader of himself. The writer’s work is only a kind of optical instrument he provides the reader so he can discern what he might never have seen in himself without this book. The reader’s recognition in himself of what the book says is the proof of the book’s truth.

—Marcel Proust, Time Regained
image, picture, painting of a boy with an open book on his lap
Manzano y Mejorada, Víctor, Un chiquillo sentado