Quotation by Walter Benjamin

He who seeks to approach his own buried past must conduct himself like a man digging.... He must not be afraid to return again and again to the same matter; to scatter it as one scatters earth, to turn it over as one turns over soil. For the matter itself is only a deposit, a stratum, which yields only to the most meticulous examination what constitutes the real treasure hidden within the earth: the images, severed from all earlier associations, that stand—like precious fragments or torsos in a collector's gallery—in the prosaic rooms of our later understanding.
Walter Benjamin (1892–1940), German critic, philosopher. repr. In One-Way Street and Other Writings (1978). A Berlin Chronicle (written 1932, first published 1970).
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