In “Oracle Night” Auster claims that ‘randomness stalks us every day of our lives’.
How do you respond to this?

Auster is somehow fascinated by the quixotic fluidity of existence, its chaos, its lack of order, its inherent reliance upon the unpredictable, upon the twists and turns of fate, chance and coincidence. He seems to view life as tragically beautiful.
Do you find these themes intriguing?
Can you find any link to other writers you have read so far? What do Auster’s themes make you think of?
Hope to read your posts soon. I am really curious to see the way you will respond to this input of mine.

This entry was posted in Paul Auster. Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to FOOD FOR THOUGHT

  1. PaulAuster2008 says:

    Nice to read your comment Chiara.

    I don’t know what you have been through, so couldn’t understand the first bit of your post.

    Chance and personal decisions seem to be closely connected and interwoven. You have met some of your school fellows by chance, but it is also true that by deciding to come to Grigoletti you “narrowed down” that chance.

    As to your character, you wish it would be different. I see nothing wrong with it, but if you refer to your being timid, then there are different things you can do to “unlock” your emotions and become more sociable. You can do it. It is a matter of will, not of chance only!

  2. anonimo says:

    I have always thought that most of the events that we are going through in our life are determined by chance and fate. I have often asked myself why something had happened in this and not in another way. Giving the explanation to the randomness is not very reassuring. Does it means that we are only fate’s puppets?? I use to answer to this question thinking that it’s true that chance and randomness play an important part on our life, but once a latin said: unusquisque faber est fortunae suae, that implays we are the main characters on the stage of our life. In our choices we are conditioned by religion, our family and the society in which we are living. Anyway this theme of randomness fascinated me so far. It is something i cannot control and it’s something that surprise me.

    Cipolla Carla

  3. anonimo says:

    Every day, from I get up to I turn off the light, I can’t know what my future has old in store, it’s a fact that nobody can read the future, but, if I remind what I’ve done in the day, before I fall asleep, I notice that it’s different to yesterday and to the previous day. Every day has something different or special and I have the possibility to enjoy this difference. I don’t know in the morning if the day will be good or if a disgrace is approching, but I’m certain something will happen, so I get ready myself to live it. For millennia, men tried to understand if the world is governed by fate, God, luck but they hadn’t found any answer, because they couldn’t prove nothing. Hypothesis I think more interesting is the complete contron by the man of his life and the freedom of the entire world from a supreme being. Man became creators of the “Randomness of the days”, randomness necessarily existing.

    Nicola Truant

  4. anonimo says:

    In “Oracle Night” Auster claims that ‘randomness stalks us every day of our lives’.

    I think that this is a sentence that involved an incredible number of discussions and problems. In my opinion randomness is something that we can found in every single day of our lifes and I agree with the sentence of Auster; but this is just because I am not a religious person and I have not the concept of godsend.

    For many other people these sentence could be sound like a blasphemy or something that they disagree.

    Personally I am fascinated by the quixotic fluidity of existence, its chaos, its lack of order, its inherent reliance upon the unpredictable, upon the twists and turns of fate, chance and coincidence too; because every day I find something that surprise me and bring me to ask myself ‘oh, why this is happened? It is so strange!’. In fact, if someone thinks that all these things that happened are all casual, without a rational plane and without an end, could be feel a little bit afraid of it and an incredible number of questions born in his head. I think that these themes are very interesting because could be argument of discussions and development for our knowledge.


  5. anonimo says:

    In my opinion humans are only evoluted monkeys.I don’t think that exists a rational plane for monkeys so i’m not convinced it exists for humans.I would like to believe in a order.Life would be easier by knowing that all of what you are doing it’s in a certain way because it must.But i do not want to believe that all the feelings and the statements of a person depend on somebody else.I like the terrible randomness of life.Randomness is terrible because it boost in all the people the most important questions:Which is the sense of the existence?What have i to do?Caos it’s the lymph of life but it’s also the most difficult thing to cohabit with.

    Perin Marco

  6. anonimo says:

    (i wrote my idea before reading the other posts) i personally think that this quotation is quite banal. wait: it doesn’t means that paul auster is banal….but in my opinion everyone is concerned about the sense of life.

    calling it kharma, faith, destiny, randomness, God or even mechanicalism i think everyone is referring at the same subject, an identity that doesnt’ dominate over us but creates some different paths. it doens’t dictate our life ( like some images of a so called “book of the destiny”) but it’s our duty choosing one of the paths.

    so i’m not so interested about the question in itself but i’m intrigued about the answer of paul auster: unfortunately i haven’t read the book. i can mention other author that i have recently studied: leopardi with his pessimism, manzoni and his “provvidenza” and so on…

    elena giacomin

  7. anonimo says:

    For me, “randomness stalks us every day of our lives” is an aphorism very beautiful and great effect. Yes, I believe in the case, case involves liberty. I do not like to think of being embedded in a rational design and I refuse to imagine that things I see happen, happen to the will of a higher order that control every thing in our life . If God exists, and I don’t exclude it, certainly is not present in the sensitive reality of everyday life. Here on earth reigns randomness, if there is a ‘intermundia “where God controls everything in a rational design certainly is not this.


  8. anonimo says:

    Personally I believe that there is no kind of fate, destiny, rational project or how you want to call it. Think that reality is the result of something logical and ordered, is something that, somehow, takes away the extraordinary complexity of human beings. Events, desired or unexpected, circumstances, coincidences are something that every day makes us new persons, with feelings, certainties or doubts always new and different. So,if you think everyone of us, with its interior, along many infinite other human beings, as complex and unique … Well I think that this is outside any kind of ordered project, is something that we can not explain with semplicity. I find this theme particularly fascinating and interesting.

    Federica Cozzarin

  9. anonimo says:

    this quotation is very captivating…it makes us thinking on things that happening every day…on one hand i agree with Paul auster’s assertion:”randomness stalks us every day of our lives”….all of us would love to plan our days but we aren’t scure that what we planned became reality…our life is dominatet by random but there is even a reason why things happened to us…so on the other hand i don’t completely agree with this sentence!!

    the human being is only in a big world where we don’t pass all our life.i’m a little bit terrified when i think on this things…but we can’t live with closed eyes…we have to accept the reality..even if our ideas of life can have some differente point of view…


  10. anonimo says:

    The role of causality in human life is a recurrent theme in philosophy, literature and especially in everyday life.

    In Ancient Greece the fate was personified by different gods. In Greek and Roman society, very often the oracles were asked to make a prediction for the future. Even in primitive tribes the shaman read the future, often preaching misfortunes.

    Many religions ask themselves the question of fate, often attributing it to God’s will, and also to the fact that every man has a destiny decided precisely.

    It is a doubt that all of us have: how important are, in our lives, will and randomness? Every time we face a choice, we know that, however, it means renouncing one another chance. This choice will take us opportunities, meetings, coincidences, but it will foreclose others. We know, it is a specific characteristic of the human being, to use its intelligence to live as best he could: choosing a study, a career, an idea to follow, everything that makes him feel active protagonist and satisfied of our life.

    It is also true that life is made of tragedies, of inevitability things that overwhelm us, that sometimes make us start again from the very beginning.

    So will and randomness are a daily experience in human life. That makes “Oracle Night” very actual.

    Raggiotto Francesco

  11. MicheleDB says:

    Of course, we have the possibility to give a shape to our future, but we can’t forecast what will happen and what can change our rational plan. Things didn’t happen because they have to. Everything is dominate by random, a think that we can’t control. Truly speaking, even if there is a rational plan on me I can’t control it. However, seeing what is going on every day, you can’t, rational speaking, believe that is all prepared. At the end probably you understand that the greater part of the events occur by chance.

    So I completely agree with Paul Auster.

  12. anonimo says:

    I can’t say i completely agree with Paul Auster, because of my personal view of life. I’m certain that randomness exists,as chaos and unforeseen events, but it isn’t all in my life. my existence is not only a waterfall of events, i think that there is something special that follows us! in fact there is rationality and irrationality, there is a line to follow and also exists the chaos. in the world coexist black and white, the opposites, why could not exist a rational plain, opposes to chaos? i think it’s possible, we are our future maker, but we have a line already traced. it’s our freedom to accept or not.


    matteo cervesato

  13. PaulAuster2008 says:

    Dear Carla,

    I agree with you that the issue of chance and randomness is really fascinating, almost mindboggling: we can’t give clearcut answers to what live is all about and this impossibility makes it even more fascinating. This is the reason why some of us (human beings) feel the urge to investigate life and this is the reason why there are lots of artists and writers who try to write about it.

    Dear Luca,

    As you pointed out the issue raised by Auster are really interesting for us to discuss. This is the reason why I decided to run this blog with you.

    Dear Elena,

    As you pointed out, Auster has not invented the “wheel” or “hot water”, so to say. He deals with themes that other writers investigated in the past or are dealing with at present. Any writer is inspired by people’s existence, dilemmas, sufferings, joys, etc. Human life is the inspirer of most writers. Yet, what is fascinating about Auster is the way he renders these universal themes. When you read him in English, pay attention to the way he uses language and you will figure out what I mean here.

    Dear Michele and Matteo,

    is it a “chance” that your posts are so close one to the other and they so much express two opposite responses to Paul Auster’s quotation? This explains that there is not just a side A or B to things. Life is much more complex than that. Thanks for your comments, all of you.

  14. anonimo says:

    Paul Auster sayes the truth! In our life all of our actions are imposed by case because we all are formed by molecule and molecure are forrmed by atoms!

    When we study the atom world we are costricted to study quanti and use the constant of Plank, this implies the extistance of case because the existance of this constant implies that when I whant to know some information about an atom, for instance the position, this choose one position between all positions he could be, other positions are relegated to other dimensions!

    In the light of this we are only a mass of atoms so we can conclude that a providential plane doesn’t exist and dominate only case!

    On Focus 188 there’s an article about the quanti’s world


  15. anonimo says:

    Lorenzo, please, leave your word based only on physics and mathematics and come into ours, which is really different from what you think.Our world is composed of a lot of subjects and scienses that mix together to form the reality in which we live.You cannot explain everything with the study of quanti!!you’ve got a mind,we’ve got a mind and we should use it to discuss about how our world goes on, without reporting only someone else’s theorems.yes, it may explain everything, but, as we can sometimes change our life with our intelligence, we aren’t just a group of atoms that move in a chaotic way. To be able to develop such a complex theory it’s the proof that we are so smart even to decide our destiny, in the situations where we aren’t completely influenced by randomness.We aren’t always at the mercy of the case, sometimes we can free ourself from it,it’s hard but you can. This is my opinion.

    Bye, simone

  16. anonimo says:

    I think Paul Auster is right: our lives are full of random events. We can’t predict precisely what we will do tomorrow, because there are so many incidents that may happen one day and so many actions of thousands of people that may influence our lives. Someone said that if a butterfly flaps its wings in Europe, a tsunami destroys Japan: that is to say that every action can have great effects on the lives of hundreds of people. Thinking in this way, someone could say that our lives depend mostly on the other people’s actions.

    I don’t think this. As Niccolò Machiavelli wrote, chance comes like a river without control and it can overflow its banks, shaking our lives, but if we build enbankments high enough, we can control it.

    Obviously each man’s life is influenced by chance, but in my opinion we can put some limits, because I like to think that “Homo faber fortunae suae”.

    There is even my Christian spirit that tells me something: our lives should be a plan of God, and what happens should be controlled by Him. I think He has a plan, but it’s up to us to make it concrete, real, or not. We are free to act as we want, our choices are not limited, and the other people’s as well.

    So, anyway we call it, we have to consider that there are many incidents that we can’t contol and that we can’t expect to happen.

    Pietro Perin

  17. anonimo says:

    Chaos makes our life surprising and always more interesting; maybe for this reason lots of theatrical plays (like Goldoni ones) are based on casual accidents that involves the audience, and is the some for fictions, novels or films.

    We, as human beings, often came across with something disordered (read: something we cannot explain rationally), in what happen to us or in what we see outside us but we are divided in two main different position: a group postulate one rational entity that rules the complexity of interactions, the others thinks that chaos is the governor of the universe.

    A part from this is undeniable that we don’t have the complete power on what manage to do and this makes our lives a continuous fascinating become.

    Francesca Cazorzi

  18. PaulAuster2008 says:

    Lorenzo, Simone’s reaction to your post (a bit too forceful, but this is Simone) somehow renders my response to your statement. I don’t think that physics and mathematics can explain all the manifold aspect and facets of life. It would really be sad if they could. there would be no room left for interpretation, everything would fall one way or the other within a rule, a given paradigm. The fact that we are all human beings with the same cells, chemicals, energy, etc. does not mean we are all the same, does it?

    I would like all of you, FOLKS, to read PIETRO’S comment. Thanks for it, I really appreciated it.

    FRANCESCA, thanks for your “fascinating” and enlightening comments.

    See you soon.

  19. anonimo says:

    I agree with Paul Auster because i think it too. In the interview at “chetempochefa” he answers to Fabio Fazio’s question in that way: “we know that happen bad and good things in our life.An accident is something that you don’t expect.People often don’t understand that unexpected things belong to our experience”. Everything is true but it is also important to know that everybody can’t live with this anxiety, this fear otherwise s/he wouldn’t succeed in living her/his life and s/he would resign to the fate.Maybe people are aware of the fact that our live is stalked by randomness and they are only scared to accept this reality….

    Santarossa Barbara

  20. PaulAuster2008 says:

    Dear Barbara,

    Thanks for sharing this important quotation. Your words somehow reflect the aspects dealt with in the film you watched “Lulu on the Bridge” and on the one you will watch on Wednesday “Smoke”. See you.

  21. anonimo says:

    This quotation is very interesting because, it is true that our life is ruled by randomness, but I don’t think that it “stalks” us. Randomness in IN our life, that’s because randomness in what we don’t know, what we can’t expect, and we can expect very few things of our life, so a lot of accidents that happen to us seem to us random. This is not totally negative, if we could expect everything in our lives, it would become monotonous and boring. The way Paul Auster describes randomness make it seems quite annoying, but I think that it is positive, because it makes life more interesting. I found these themes very intriguing, they involve the sphere of metaphysics, of the struggle of our existence, the huge web created by our actions and consequences, so by randomness. I think these kind of themes interest almost everybody.

    Riccardo Bagattin

  22. PaulAuster2008 says:

    Dear Riccardo,

    Thanks for you comment. The reference to metaphysics is interesting!

  23. anonimo says:

    I think that the theme of ‘randomness’ is very fascinating, but I personally don’t like thinking of our lives as something guided from chance and coincidence. I mean, I am the one who decides what to do, where to go and who I want to be. Perhaps people attribute a certain event to chance only because they don’t think about it, they don’t try to give it a meaning. But if you ask yourself ‘why did it happen this way, and not another?’, you will find that it was you who decided to be there at that specific time and place. It’s not another one who leads your life, or something supernatural or metaphisical…It’s simply you.

    Jana Stefani

  24. PaulAuster2008 says:

    You see Jana, if it were not for Auster’s obsessive theme of “randomness” you would not have been “forced” to think about it and you would not have felt what you wrote so strongly!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.