light is the left hand of darkness, and darkness the right hand of light

my old notes on The Left Hand of Darkness, one of my favorites by Ursula K. LeGuin:

called them time dividers, which may mean schizophrenics p. 63

I felt, whether I wished or not, the connection, the communication that ran, wordless, inarticulate, through Faxe, and which Faxe was trying to pattern and control, for he was the center, the Weaver.  …

I tried to keep out of contact with the minds of the Foretellers.  I was made very uneasy by that silent electric tension, by the sense of being drawn in, of becoming a point or figure in the pattern, in the web.  But when I set up a barrier, it was worse:  I felt obsessed by hallucinations of sight and touch, a stew of wild images and notions, abrupt visions and sensations all sexually charged and grotesquely violent, a red and black seething of erotic rage. p.65

the Zanies, the frailest ones, the fuse-points p. 66

“I serve as the filament,” Faxe said to me a day or two after the Foretelling.  “The energy builds up and builds up in us, always sent back and back, redoubling the impulse every time, until it breaks through and the light is in me, around me, I am the light…The Old Man of Arbin Fastness once said that if the Weaver could be put in a vacuum at the moment of the answer, he’d go on burning for years. p. 67

“You are a Listener, Faxe, a natural empath; and probably a powerful natural telepath as well.  That’s why you’re the Weaver, the one who can keep the tensions and responses of the group running in a self-augmenting pattern until the strain breaks the pattern itself and you reach through for your answer.” p. 68

we come here to the Fastnesses mostly to learn what questions not to ask. …

To exhibit the perfect uselessness of knowing the answer to the wrong question. p. 70

The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty:  not knowing what comes next. p. 71

to oppose something is to maintain it.  …

to be an atheist is to maintain God.  his existence or his nonexistence, it amounts to much the same, on the plane of proof.  thus proof is a word not often used among the Handdarata, who have chosen not to treat God as a fact, subject either to proof or to belief: and they have broken the circle, and go free.

To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness. p. 153

one’s magnetic and directional subsenses are all wrong on other planets; when the intellect won’t or can’t compensate for that wrongness, the result is a profound bewilderment, a feeling that everything, literally, has come loose. p. 168

i never had a gift but one, to know when the great wheel gives to a touch, to know and act. p. 189

unwilling to believe in the fact that i believe in you.  p. 199

fire and fear, good servants, bad lords.  p. 228

Light is the left hand of darkness

and darkness the right hand of light.

Two are one, life and death, lying

together like lovers in kemmer,

like hands joined together,

like the end and the way.   p. 233

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