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September 28, 2017 at 8:08 pm #101384
A translation of Ferdinand Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet was published in August of this year, and although there is no explicit mention of AC – a footnote of the translator speculates the “great man” mentioned in section 368 might be Crowley
Yesterday I saw and heard a great man. I don’t mean someone who is merely considered to be a great man, but a man who truly is. He has value, if there is such a thing in this world; other people know that and he knows they know. He therefore fulfills all the necessary conditions that allow me to call him a great man. And indeed that is what I do call him.
Physically he looks like a worn-out businessman. The signs of weariness on his face could as easily come from leading an unhealthy life as from thinking too much. His gestures are utterly unremarkable. There’s a certain sparkle in his eyes — the privilege of one not afflicted with myopia. His voice is a little slurred as if a general paralysis were beginning to attack that particular manifestation of his soul, a soul that expressed views on party politics, the devaluation of the escudo and the more despicable aspects of his colleagues in greatness.
Had I not known who he was, I would never have guessed from his appearance. I know perfectly well that one should not succumb to the heroic ideas about great men that appeal to simple people: that a great poet should have Apollo’s body and Napoleon’s face or, rather less demanding, that he be a man of distinction with an expressive face. I know that such ideas are absurd, if natural, human foibles. However, it is not unreasonable to expect some sign of greatness. And when one moves from physical appearance to consider the utterances of the soul, whilst one can do without spirit and vivacity, one does expect intelligence with at least a trace of grandeur.
All this, all these human disappointments, make us question the truth of what is vulgarly called inspiration. lt would seem that this body destined to be that of a businessman and this soul destined to be that of a man of culture are mysteriously invested with an outer and an inner quality respectively and, though they do not speak, something speaks through them and that voice utters words which, if said by the body or the soul alone, would be falsehoods.
But these are just vain, indolent speculations. I almost regret having indulged in them. I’ve neither diminished the value of the man nor improved his physical appearance by my remarks. The truth is that nothing changes anything and what we say or do only brushes the tops of the mountains in whose valleys all things sleep”
The footnote reads:
“On the back of the sheet of paper is written the name “Jaeger,” the name of Aleister Crowley’s lover, Hanni Larissa Jaeger. Could he be “the great man”?
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