Saturday, November 25, 2006

For man's chief purpose is to live, not to exist



All along Circular Quay, a series of large bronze medallions inserted at regular intervals by the NSW Ministry for the Arts form what is called the 'Writers Walk'. Each medallion quotes a few words by a great author who has visited or lived in Australia. Here's one of my favourites:
Jack London (1876-1916) :
I would rather be ashes than dust, a spark burnt out in a brilliant blaze, than be stifled in dry rot... For man's chief purpose is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them; I shall use my time.
Jack London, the American novelist and adventurer visited Sydney in the early 1900s. South Seas Tales (1911) recounts his voyages in the Pacific.
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Tout le long de Circular Quay, de larges médaillons en bronze insérés à intervalles réguliers par le Ministère des Arts forme le 'chemin des écrivains'. Chacune de ces plaques cite quelques mots d'un grand auteur ayant vécu en Australie ou ayant visité ce pays. J'aime celle-ci :
Jack London (1876-1916)
J'aimerais mieux être cendres que poussière, une étincelle se consumant en un foudroyant éclat, que d'étouffer et pourrir. Car l'homme a pour but essentiel de vivre, pas d'exister. Je ne perdrai pas mes jours à essayer de les prolonger; j'userai de mon temps.
Jack London, aventurier et romancier américain, a visité Sydney au début des années 1900. 'Dans les mers du sud' (1911) relate ses voyages dans le Pacifique.

16 comments:

Pod said...

wise words indeed. hadnt really noticed the pattern on the pavement before either! sorry about your dad :0)

jing said...

Great novelist~~
and very useful and wise words for us to think of...to live, not to exit.
:)

jing
www.shanghaidailyphoto.com

photowannabe said...

Very nice quote and interesting photo. This is a nice rememberence for your Dad.

Zsolt72 said...

such a nice tidy place....in my childhood i liked to read Jack London's books

Lachezar said...

What a beautiful promenade! And people are basking in the sun...

Lachezar said...

P.S.
Time to re-visit Jack London

Cergie said...

Jack London, j'ai lu un de ses livres dont je ne me souviens plus le titre, si âpre que j'en ai été terrorisée: il raconte la traversée d'un espace glacé par un homme en compagnie d'un loup
L'homme et le loup s'épient
C'est l'homme qui survivra

Nathalie said...

Cergie (and all others) if you haven't read 'South Sea Tales'it's an absolute must-read for anyone who's got the slightest interest in travel.

Cergie, si tu n'as pas lu 'Dans les mers du sud', c'est une lecture absolument passionnante pour quiconque s'interesse un tant soit peu au voyage. C'est vraiment un livre exceptionnel.

Nathalie said...

And you guessed correctly, photowannabe, this quote is directly linked to the way my dad chose to live the last days of his life.

Annie said...

It would be very pleasant to stroll along reading various author's words of wisdom. Thank you for this one. I'll think about it today.

Cristina said...

This is a very interesting quote. It makes me think of my 103-year-old patient last week. At a superficial level, one might say she was merely existing, not really living. But even though she was unable to consciously move her body or speak meaningfully, she gave me a lot of direct eye contact in a way that I imagined to mean that she was responding to me at some level.
Your father sounds like quite an inspiration, as is your courage. No, I don't believe that our loved ones that "pass away" are really all that far away from us either.

jacqueline Noyre said...

peux-tu me retrouver la plaque d'une poetesse aborigène, il me semble y avoir lu quelque chose de très beau et je ne l'ai pas photographié!!!

eloclo said...

... et aussi "le vagabond des étoiles" où Jack nous emmène vers un exceptionnel voyage ... un voyage dans son intérieur.

AphotoAday said...

On Saturday I was in Oakland, California, and made a brief visit to Jack London Square, which also commemorates Jack London... Isn't it amazing that he died at such a young age -- but wrote and did so much... Great blog... Have just discovered it...

Cergie said...

Merci du conseil
On a besoin d'avoir un avis positif sur un livre
Je vais le sortir de la bibliothèque

Nathalie said...

Oui Jacqueline j'essaierai de chercher la citation dont tu parles. J'accepte les commandes !