Clear Thinking and Writing
Why does [Judith] Butler prefer to write in this teasing, exasperating way? The style is certainly not unprecedented. Some precincts of the continental philosophical tradition, though surely not all of them, have an unfortunate tendency to regard the philosopher as a star who fascinates, and frequently by obscurity, rather than as an arguer among equals. When ideas are stated clearly, after all, they may be detached from their author: one can take them away and pursue them on one’s own. When they remain mysterious (indeed, when they are not quite asserted), one remains dependent on the originating authority.
– Martha Nussbaum, The Professor of Parody, The New Republic
Deutsch sein heisst klar sein.
– Adolf Hitler
Dan Gurney had a company All American Racers. His Eagles model “…looked like birds on purpose, noses feminine and sharp, because Dan figured race cars should be pretty.”
“If you have the chance to make something beautiful,” he once told me, “and you don’t, well, what does that say about you?”
— Road & Track, March/April 2018, p. 22
Life (a perfect definition)
A series of awkward events separated by snacks
– Alice, 11, Modern Love in NY Times Magazine
Before becoming a writer, [Mark Alice] Durant was himself a photographer and performance artist - an evolution that he charts in the book [27 Contexts: An Anecdotal History in Photography]. In 1999, though, while doing a residency at an artists’ colony, he “had this very distinct feeling that I didn’t have any images inside me any more.” He did, however, have words. Lots of them, it turned out.
– Interview in theliteratelens.com
Os Novos Bahianos (only slightly misquoted)
Besta é tu se você não viver nesse mundo
O, wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as others see us!
|O wad some Power the giftie gie us||O would some Power with vision teach us|
|To see oursels as ithers see us!||To see ourselves as others see us!|
|It wad frae monie a blunder free us,||It would from many a blunder free us,|
|An’ foolish notion:||And foolish notions:|
|What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,||What airs in dress and carriage would leave us,|
|An’ ev’n devotion!||And even devotion!|
From Winifred Gallagher, I.D.: How Temperament and Experience Create the Individual (Random House, 1966, Uncorrected Proof)
“We Westeners tend to think of personality as a monolith, an unchanging entity that objectively takes in and processes information and generates consistent responses. This is a heroic idea, but inaccurate. Far from being a solitary, unchanging Rock of Gibraltar, personality is deeply social and inherently multitudinous - elements reflected in the origins of the word itself. Per is Latin for”through,” and sonus, for “sound,” recalling classical actors’ practice of using small megaphones to project their voices through their characters’ masks.”
Unfortunately, he goes on to say:
“On life’s stage, personality, like those ancient props, enables us to communicate and collaborate with our fellow players and, when necessary, to”put a good face” on the sensitive hidden self: the insider’s view of personality that is one’s immediate awareness of being.”
The hidden self sounds like Gilbert Ryle’s ghost in the machine.
“Stick shift is great for millennial theft control.”
– Doug Read, KZYX, Mendocino, CA (WSJ, CCLXXIV, # 132)
« Êtes-vous un intellectuel de gauche ? — Je ne suis pas sûr d’être un intellectuel… Quant au reste, je suis pour la gauche, malgré moi et malgré elle. »
– Entretien du 14 décembre 1959, Albert Camus avec François Meyer, université d’Aix en Provence.
Christophe Boltanski - La Cache - 6
Dans un lieu ouvert à tous – un hall d’aéroport, une terrasse de café, une salle de cinéma ou le salon du livre de la fête de L’Humanité, j’avais interdiction de l’appeler Mère-Grand ou de prononcer toute autre formule équivalente qui aurait pu évoquer son âge, un sujet sur lequel elle gardait le plus grand secret. Au moment où j’écris ces lignes, je ne sais toujours pas avec précision quand elle est née et je répugne à faire les recherches nécessaires auprès des administrations concernées, par crainte de violer son intimité la plus profonde. Elle refusait, disait-elle, « tout ce qui marque ».
Any angler who can tell you exactly why he fishes is lying.
– Mark Kurlansky ,Review of The Unreasonable Virtue of Fly Fishing By Josh Greenberg ,Wall Street Journal, Eastern edition; New York, N.Y. 20 Mar 2021: C.11.
Love is a gross exaggeration of the difference between one person and everybody else.
– George Bernard Shaw
Amira sits under a tree, unpinning the names from things.
– Claire Schwartz, Lecture on the History of the House, Poetry, Volume 217, No 4, January 2021, p. 369.
From Maigret et l’homme tout seul, page 146.
« Maigret se leva et alla se planter pesamment devant la fenêtre ouverte sur un ciel désespérément blue. »
The poetry of blood
[Maigret] y avait un gigot d’agneau d’un joli rose, avec juste une goutte de sang qui perlais près de l’os.
From Maigret et l’homme tout seul, page 146.
The more that the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.
Dr. Weinberg opposed religion, believing that it undermined efforts to seek and discover truth. In “The First Three Minutes” he wrote, “Anything that we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done and may in the end be our greatest contribution to civilization.”
In his interview with the Nobel Institute, he was asked him about his often-quoted line near the end of “The First Three Minutes” — “The more that the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.”
“What I meant by that statement is that there is no point to be discovered in nature itself; there is no cosmic plan for us,” he said. “We are not actors in a drama that has been written with us playing the starring role. There are laws — we are discovering those laws — but they are impersonal, they are cold.”
He added: “It is not an entirely happy view of human life. I think it is a tragic view, but that is not new to physicists. A tragic view of life has been expressed by so many poets — that we are here without purpose, trying to identify something that we care about.”