“We have stopped reading, we have not the time. Our mind is solicited simultaneously from too many sides: it has to be spoken to quickly as it passes by. But there are things that cannot be said or understood in such haste, and these are the most important things for man. This accelerated movement, which makes coherent thought impossible, may alone be sufficient to weaken, and in the long run utterly to destroy, human reason.”

That was said by Félicité Robert de Lamennais in his Mélanges religieux et philosophiques. In 1819.

(From whiskey river, courtesy of wood s lot.)

The original:

On ne lit plus, on n’a plus le temps. L’esprit est appelé à la fois de trop de côtés; il faut lui parler vite où il passe. Mais il y a des choses qui ne peuvent être dites, ni comprises si vite, et ce sont les plus importantes pour l’homme. Cette accélération de mouvement qui ne permet de rien enchaîner, de rien méditer, suffirait seule pour affaiblir et, à la longue, pour détruire entièrement la raison humaine.


  1. Hmmm. Maybe this one should go on my office door.

  2. Variation on a theme, translation (or, rather, approximation) mine. [unfinished]
    Yuri Levitansky, 1999
    All that is needed is to peer,- Oh, my God
    That’s all it takes – to peer closely – and to notice,
    And you’ll not leave, and there is no place on the whole Earth
    Where you can hide from sudden depth of those eyes.
    All that is needed is to read in,- Oh, my God
    That’s all it takes to slow down on that sentence,
    And hesitate without jumping to the next one,
    Not turn that page but pause, and think, and read again.
    If not- well, I regret you’ve missed the line.
    Still, line remains, in silence waits to be discovered.
    Her day will come. Time is conserving, growing power
    Of lines, – and everything what’s happening to them.
    Not so with eyes – eyes will desert forever you
    Like some obscure land that’s never found,
    Like some obscure Rome that’s not uncovered
    And there is no time to uncover, that’s the drag.

  3. Here‘s the original, for Russian speakers. It sounds very promising — I’ll be interested to see your version of the last three stanzas. (And it’s an excellent companion piece to the Lamennais quote.)

  4. Adam Glenn says

    100% free bondage – abdominal pain – adult bondage stories – [&c &c &c… hundreds of similar offers, all of which I have deleted along with the URLs accompanying these, which I have left so that Zizka’s comment will not be hanging in midair — LH]

  5. Hi, Adam! I don’t think I’ll be needing any today.
    The poem comes through very well, Tatyana, and seems like a great poem too. I’m impressed. Translate more.

  6. Thank you, LH and Z.
    I’m not sure I’ll continue – the wind have changed…
    Anyway, you can listen to the song (Nikitin used the poem for lyrics) here. Go to #32 and click on the “sound” icon on the left.
    [my grammophon somehow doesn’t want to oblige today, but I’ve used this site before and it worked]

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