A collection of fascinating bite-sized quotes, poems, articles; a veritable stream of consciousness.
Last update: 8/17/18 (William James quote)
The de facto best places to eat in Emerald City. Regularly updated.
A human being is primarily a bag for putting food into; the other functions and faculties may be more godlike, but in point of time they come afterwards. A man dies and is buried, and all his words and actions are forgotten, but the food he has eaten lives after him in the sound or rotten bones of his children. I think it could be plausibly argued that changes of diet are more important than changes of dynasty or even of religion....Yet it is curious how seldom the all-importance of food is recognized. You see statues everywhere to politicians, poets, bishops, but none to cooks or bacon-curers or market gardeners.
Au milieu de l'hiver, j'apprenais enfin qu'il y avait en moi un été invincible.
In the midst of winter, I learned at last that there was within me an invincible summer.
There are trivial truths and there are great truths. The opposite of a trivial truth is plainly false. The opposite of a great truth is also true.
from the square comes a distant voice:
from the square comes a distant voice:
People always demand that art be comprehensible, but they never demand of themselves that they adapt their mind to comprehension.
(Some of these might turn into full-blown posts later)
- It's interesting how adding a few letters can completely change the meaning of a word. For example, solution roughly means "the answer to a problem," absolution implies a "state of forgiveness," while resolution can be "firmness of purpose..." Weird!
- The nature of information is to die. Thousands of books are lost to the sands of time. Links first lead to 404s, and later to DNS lookup errors when their websites go down. Ultimately it is history that deems the relevance of words and ideas, and what seems irrevocable today becomes impermanent tomorrow. This blog, too, has an inevitable end. So get reading while the reading's good.
- After a recent shower I jumped up and down on my placemat and watched the water droplets fall from my hair and it was fun.
- I am no Hippocrates, but I have a pet theory that the more regulatable the bodily function, the more likely it is for a placebo to be effective. Also I'm pretty sure it is possible to master the placebo effect and this guy has done it.
- To sleep, you have to pretend to be asleep until you actually are. Credit Reddit.
- Is the glass half-full or half-empty? Well, consider this: optimism is a simple state of mind; Cynicism is an ancient Greek school of philosophy with centuries of scholarship!
- Contrary to popular belief, we do not become wiser by aging, but by experiencing the fullness of life and internalizing its lessons. Wisdom only develops when both actions are taken, the former a prerequisite of the much more difficult latter.
- This photo of a potato recently sold for over $1,000,000. It was taken by photographer Kevin Abosch. Not high school student Joe Smith. What the purchaser bought was not the photo, but the association with the photographer and all its various connotations. Should art be judged on its own merit, or along with the context in which it was produced?
- You can fit anything in a model as long as it's in the past.
- Art occurs when and only when:
- Your audience has no idea who you're copying
- You yourself have no idea who you're copying
- It's more about who you want to be than what you think you should do.
- Consider the kind of propaganda you cling to knowing - consciously, irrefutably - that it is propaganda and not some deeper truth. The alternative, then, must be horror.
- ...And so the seven virtues must be Respect, Forgiveness... Workaholism, Shame, Starvation, Repression, and Poverty.
- The professor must feel vindicated in seeing students take his classes. He becomes distraught when they fail to comprehend his ideas - not agree or disagree - comprehend, or when class registration declines. In the former scenario, if he is good, it's likelier he believes he somehow failed in teaching, versus that his students were unreceptive or ill-prepared. In the latter, he may conclude his ideas are dying. So which is graver? If the students were indeed ill-prepared, or if they no longer showed up? Personally, I think the death of an idea is an ugly thing; here, in a way, it represents the professor's life.
- In fact, my biological clock insists that I sleep 6.5 hours at night, with two naps during the day: one lasting 30 minutes in the morning, the other 2 hours in the afternoon. In what society does this permit me to be functional? Literally upon typing that sentence did I realize my sleep scales with the (average) caloric density of my meals. Thus, the hypothesis: I think by writing. Stream-of-consciousness should not be restricted to elementary school! Related
- We should come up with a new term for Eureka! - that sounds so '70s (it actually comes from Archimedes the bathtub-sitter); cool, rad, hip, sick, fire, lit, amaze, etc. (I like the term spicy), yet eureka remains eureka.
- The power of the precedent, while apprehended through law, comes not from law but life. Yet it is uniquely human.
- I am the sort who in all ills seeks cures, not bandages.
- I wrote this sentence in a work email today: "Unfortunately, we must decline because this does not align with our programmatic goals of directly boosting commercial sales." I am not proud of myself.
- Art feeds the critic like food feeds the body.
- Every pile of sand becomes a heap at some grain.
- I broke my typing speed record the other day. Wanna try?
- The biggest failure mode of subscription-based business models for consumers and their families is postmortem leeching. The converse is true: it's a huge win for businesses, but it's their kitschy little secret! Clicky
- After psychological trauma, many normally unconscious behaviors are brought back to the fore, requiring intent to perform.
- Baader-Meinhof has got to be the most ironic cognitive bias ever.
- One of the surest signs of knowing you've gone down the wrong path is if you've written things like "In Defense of Consequentialism" and believed they were anything other than bullshit.
- Self-perpetuating cultures.
- The rate at which I collect information to consume is greater than the rate at which I consume that information. This seems counterproductive on the surface, but I'm curious if there are any evolutionary heuristics that can help explain this phenomenon, of which I'm sure many (if not most) of us are guilty.
- I suspect that in any gym class sport with two competing teams, nominating two captains and having them pick their classmates, one after the other until no one is left, has to be one of the cruelest social practices and is probably worse than spanking.
- I really like boxes. My favorite boxes are:
- Tracing the genealogy of your beliefs and the systems in which they originate is likely the preventive medicine to the malaise of existential crisis.
- It would be nice to Internet as a sort of ghost with no digital footprint. See what content it serves given no contextual data. But then - the type of content I'd search for has already been to some degree incepted in my mind by digital media. Thus, the digital footprint implanted in the soil of my mind would act as a blueprint for its recreation on the web. It would be an exercise in futility.
- The answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything is not 42, it is the Sorites paradox (this one for sure deserves a post).
- My preferred variation of Rock, Paper, Scissors is Chekov's Gun, Occam's Razor, and... Newton's Flaming Laser Sword. Yes that third weapon is a thing and you're goddamn right I looked it up.
- Should a company be thought of as a person? Better question: should you think of yourself as a company? The atom of the corporation is the process, and larger companies have more complex processes. Check your processes and see what can be improved. Aim for the ones that take low effort to change but have high efficiency gains.
- Try walking twenty steps with your eyes closed. After a certain step you'll feel a certain trepidation, and each step after that compounds this feeling. You'll feel this even if you try this experiment in a wide open field. I got this same feeling recently when I tried reading for an entire afternoon without looking at a cell phone or computer.
- Experience ossifies knowledge into wisdom, which then is necessarily different for different people (see the Niels Bohr quote above), hence the morass of well-intentioned, hell-pointing life advice.
- If I had a trillion dollars I'd create an artificial island in the Pacific with climate-controlled perfect weather (always 70s and sunny). But how will the grass get watered, you ask? Simple: through the D.I.T.C.H. system. Distributed irrigation through constant hydration!
- Outsourcing is an easy way to get things you don't have expertise in done. So what kind of person in-houses morality? Morality cannot vary in objective correctness, only in sophistication. One incredibly vague formulation of "the best morality" might be the one that harms the least and helps the most. The in-houser must then at some level believe he can invent a better such formulation than the ones externally available/adoptable. Egotistic or noble, you decide.
- Some ideas are so pervasive that upon first contact, you can never let go. Of these, some merit indulging, others extinguishing. The first kind is awesome. Regarding the second, because they can never be extinguished, the best you can do is build a wall around them; the more powerful the idea, the more bricks you'll need.
- I'll probably like you if you know the difference between the Fermi Paradox and Pascal's Wager. If you don't, look 'em up, then I'll like you :^)
- For most unsavory tasks, there is a price at which we are willing to do them. How much would I have to pay you to eat a can of cat food? $1,000? $500? Consider: social disapproval is worth quite a bit. I - no - we dare you to... you decline, and suddenly, you're a wimp. How much would you pay to get your reputation back? Ah, but it's invaluable, isn't it...
- When Kurtz says "The horror! The horror!" in Conrad's Heart of Darkness, he's reacting negatively to Nietzche's eternal recurrence. How would you react? I would be horrified too. Counterpoint: Borges' essay The Doctrine of Cycles.
- "Karma" is the association of any present good or bad thing that's happened to you with any past good or bad thing, or present " " : future " ". Given that both good things and bad things have happened and will continue happening to you, you can obviously make any variety of associations you want and say they happened "because of karma."
- What would you continue believing even if the weight of evidence proved you wrong? Answer this for some self-knowledge.
- Your intellectual movement is likelier to pick up steam if you base it on Greek mythos (this one deserves a post). See: Camus's Sisyphus, Freud's Oedipus.
- Someone you know is walking the opposite direction down the hallway. At what distance do you wave? Exchange hellos? Have I had enough practice in my life to do these things subconsciously, and if so, why do I bother bringing them to the conscious fore? Something is going on here, and I'm not sure what.
- People tend to think that when I send them an article, I agree with it. Although this is a normal assumption to make in 2016 (because 99% of cases in which articles are sent/posted match it), let's be clear that this isn't the case with me. My goal is to provoke thought, not to promote dogma!
- There exists a certain sort of individual who deflects truth in order to sustain their own worldview, thus achieving self-satisfaction. Idiotic or intelligent? You decide.
- The quote goes something like, "If you truly understand something, you can explain it to others." But there's a skill point at which you're good enough to perform, but not good enough to explain, when your expertise allows you to demonstrate tacit knowledge but not explicit knowledge. As I define it, understanding = tacit expertise, mastery = tacit + explicit expertise.
- On tsundoku: the acquisition of unread books is born from the tension of desires between your past and current selves. "No man steps in the same river twice," says Heraclitus, thus "no man is the same one second to the next."
- The author's worst nightmare must be to have someone read his work and interpret his points completely differently than he had intended. Unfortunately, that is all I seem capable of doing!
- Bookstores stock shelves of self-help books. Quora abstracts these into blogpost-esque entries. But you want the truth, don't you... Pick one directionally correct system and stick to it. Simple, disappointing perhaps.
- Grinding black pepper into your Italian soda will result in something special and quite tasty.
- Nonfiction authors weave reality into fiction; fiction authors weave fiction into reality.
- Zen koans are about the feeling of understanding; the same feeling that street preachers have screaming about salvation and damnation: absolute conviction. Positivists would tear their hair out. But that feeling represents life (as opposed to listlessness).
- Similarly, poets tear their hair out at positivists. The disdain STEM and humanities students have for each other is quite palpable. I think it's better to understand both. In other words, be ideology-fluid! (cf.)
- I'm always looking for new ways to read things. My current obsession is going directly to the endnotes and reading the references' authors' names before diving into the text itself. If I don't recognize any of them, I know I'm in for a juicy ride.
- Needless to say, my life would be completely different if I'd preferred Betty Crocker instant mixes to frozen refrigerator meals. Surely today I am committing horrible sins in the same vein, completely and - the real horror - necessarily ignorant of what they are. But I do know this: butterflies annihilate potential futures. And that I am the void into which my dead selves stare.
- Empathy is the concentrated effort to simulate, in one's own mind, another's phenomenology.
- Spirituality is particularly attractive for those later in life because the longer we live, the more experience we accumulate; the more powerful its recontextualization becomes.
- Supervision of psychoanalytic trainees is a less stringent alter ego of inka shomei.
- Throughout history, authors have been found to renounce their former work for various reasons, the most authentic of which have to do with their own, internal dissatisfaction or disagreement (versus coercive political censorship). Yet to have left something behind worth re(or de)nouncing, especially if its history is one of strong agreement, is quite remarkable (and I would add valuable) in itself; those who do not author cannot savor this, shall we say direct, connection.
- I suspect drama therapy and writing therapy will become future mainstays in mental sanitation, much like washing one's hands is for physical sanitation today.
- Reason is the slave of your emotions. Learn it, live it, love it.
- If it is about the journey and not the end, make the end a better journey.
- You could've been anything, but you chose to be you.
- Adulthood is when you hate filling out your tax forms more than being tortured by the dentist.
- The most dangerous power in the world? The power to change what feels true.
- Is it better to talk in an echo chamber or a vacuum chamber?
- Metamodern: pretending the taxidermized animal is alive while knowing it isn't; synonyms: reanimation, undeath, necromancy.
- Translation, if it can be considered an art form, has an ubiquitous and accessible output yet is by far the hardest to truly appreciate (I can't). At once the highest and lowest of arts. Traddutore, traditore.
- My three biggest weaknesses are "cargo culting," fanciful rationalization, and being foolish (courageous?) enough to reveal my weaknesses.
- The saddest thing in the world is a stifled sneeze. When you sneeze, don't sneeze into your fist (terrible). Sneeze into your elbow (good), your shirt collar (better), or directly into someone else's face (best).
- Memory polishes experience into nostalgia.
- Many spiritual gurus don't believe in the stuff they pitch. Why? Money and power are obvious explanations, but let's be charitable and try this on for size.
- The tennis pro would cripple his game by thinking about how he plays; he just plays. The Normal Human™ just lives, and would be crippled by thinking about how to be and how to think. Philosophers are by far the worst offenders, especially Socrates with his elitist and pernicious "the unexamined life is not worth living" BS.
- Fashion, it must be understood - and with no small reluctance have I come to this (nontrivial) conclusion - is the highest and lowest of arts, though the walking cats cannot possibly comprehend its import, and the gawking vultures even less. If you think this statement doesn't square with thought #72, far be the distance you have still to travel; I envy your journey all the more.
- In our linguistic prison, the basis of change can only be identity. Thus the arch moral sin of contemporary society is its wrenching of the definitive capacity from the individual qua self. If this makes no sense to you, don't worry, it makes no sense to me either - as it's better off doing. I told you these thoughts were random :^)
- "It was an illusion all along and you didn't tell me? How dare you... HOW DARE YOU." I mean, Plato tried. So did the Wachowskis. And a horde of others between them. And you "got" it, yes I believe you and that really you did, but you didn't grok it, in fact you couldn't grok it until you were it. What you mean is what you want to say but what you say can never be what you mean. Don't make of me a stand-in for your apostrophe. And relax, you'll be fine after you go through your five stages, just like you always have.
- There needs to be a single word for "kinda funny, kinda sad." I've been saying this ever since high school Donnie Darko Gary Jules, and no I haven't been able to invent such a word even though I love inventing words. Another one of my notable failures of invention is a word that encapsulates the antithesis of "apotheosis." So, reader, a monetary bounty (tr: hard cash money) awaits you if, in response to either query, you concoct me something that sounds remotely convincing. This is not a joke.
- We do things for two reasons: because we want to, and because we have to.
- Food is at once the highest and lowest of arts. Highest because it alone engages all five Aristotelian senses, lowest because it cannot endure, and because our very biology compels our participation; cf.
- In preparation for an afternoon nap, I just tried to turn off the sun with my light switch. Subconsciously, of course. This isn't the first time this has happened.
- In Francis Picabia I see the trajectory of desired escape, a rabid eleutheromania crushed constantly and inexorably by the new sets of limitations which must succeed every prior breakthrough. He is the real life parallel to Milan Kundera's character Sabina.
- I prefer being a cactus to a person. Diogenes and Cioran get it.
- I know power poses are like, no longer a thing, but anyone who's been to New Zealand cannot in his right mind deny the gravitas instilled by the Māori haka. More here. Seriously, try it yourself and then read my Camus quote. Aloud, of course.
- Hot take: a bored existence in a hyperadvanced universe was trying to forget itself by looking up lives to live (like we look up things to watch), picked yours (for whatever unimaginably complex set of reasons), and plugged in its reality simulation apparatus. Boom, you're conscious.
- IOW: You are the unique simulation of experience itself which God in his infinite boredom chose to play to forget his own omnipotence.
- So there's this guy in the Humans of New York book. He doesn't believe in anything. "But clearly he believes that breathing will keep him alive. Clearly he believes that this weird photographer asking his life story understands English." No, no. I think the kind of belief he's lost is the kind on which hypnosis, in all its forms, must be predicated. We're expected to understand he's all the poorer for it. (cf.)
- What am I grateful for? The fact that people exist who can understand me though they may never read me, though I may be (am) misguided, misread, unoriginal; people whose mere presence preconditions my sanity, acts as an aegis against solipsism. My imagination, then.
- Purposely chaining oneself to a bed and related activities reflect a masochism minor and unimaginative; a more Nietzschean flavor involves psychonautics, interfacing in particular with insanity and psychosis. Ortolan à la provençale : Eyes Wide Shut :: autosarcophagy : Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie; Crane's verses below personify the narcissistic impulse.
- A person of many -isms and -ologies is ________ ...
- cf. Eco, preceding Brillat-Savarin.
- It seems to me that the value-add part of contemporary therapy boils down to social sanctioning of new behavioral patterns in existing relationships. (cf.)
- Carving wooden Buddha statues and dancing around beach campfires.
- Postmodernism is like physics and identity politics is like (basic mechanical) engineering. To that end we need to stop building walls and start building bridges. So we can get to the much cooler stuff.
- Baseball superstitions are self-fulfilling prophecies, psychological reifications with internal causality. Betting ballers ball better when they perform their routines is rational (please show me if you have statistical evidence against my theory).
- "We've seen this story before" has got to be my new catchphrase.
- "How can someone who wrote that, write this?" False is any answer that isn't "Just because."
- Problems but a BLEEP ain't one. Knowledge expands the perceived finitude of the Lacanian Real, hence the Socratic paradox and Einstein's letter to a little girl: "Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater." By this logic it is reasonable to claim the inner lives of great authors were(&are) much richer than suggested by their already astonishing prose. Yes I would like to experience a day in the life of David Foster Wallace.
- For our centennial celebration, let us meditate on the human fixation with particular numbers. The idea of "100" seems to experience significant cross-cultural pollination, whereas for example "7" and "8" symbolize luck in America and China respectively but only within those contexts. Now is kairos to pen an excursus on the phenomenology of one-hundred, but alas: the dual vices of laziness and not caring enough.
- Dalmatians: What philosopher or physicist does not dream of a "theory of everything"? As if it were some deity that could be summoned through ratiocination. Assuming one exists and that we've found it, what then? This seems to be the starting line for Zen...
- One day, when my thoughts have matured (perhaps significantly), I plan to write a something titled THE PRODUCTION OF DESIRE. Until then, just know that that's something I think about.
- Said the child to the teacher, "If I can't have a toy then she shouldn't have one either." There is no phrase, you had better believe it, that better captures the decline of civilization.
- "What is your purpose?" you ask. "To make the stones sing."
- I imagine a person giving everything on all social media platforms a perfect rating or score, proclaiming "Every Aesthetic Is Its Own Ideal!"
- In theory, to grok a thing is to reinforce faith in the episteme under which it can be grokked.
- The Road Not Taken is, lest you forget, extant. Paving a new road is the real challenge.
- What is art? To understand this question, it is helpful to consider what has become the de rigeur test of culinary prowess: scrambling eggs. A cursory search on YouTube reveals preparations by such culinary figureheads as Gordon Ramsey, Jamie Oliver, Anthony Bourdain, and David Kinch; the contrast between their elevation and the dish’s simplicity more or less defines “juxtaposition,” in the same way that “next to the word ‘idiot’ in the dictionary is a picture of…”; to ask what art is is not to ask what art is, it is, in fact, a test—a test of the askee’s definitive capacity, and thus, by extension, a test of the askee. In so doing I too have staked my answer which, if we are to be momentarily on-the-nose, places me further from the Ramseys, who skillfully serve simple dishes, and closer to Prometheus, who provides us with the conditions under which the act of cooking is possible. 😛
- Tr. it's a signaling game.
- Too much abstraction. If you can, don't, and if you are, stop. Go hiking instead.
- Philosophy has many central questions, but "Where does the buck stop?" seems to be one of the most nuclear.
- Privilege is insidious because those who possess it cannot practically appreciate its benefits (they get accustomed) while those who lack it are pained by its absence. A cruel negative-sum game imposed on us by Mother Nature, exacerbated outrageously by Mother Nurture.
- Favorite fable: The Goose That Laid The Golden Eggs
- Infinite—from Latin infīnītus, from in- (“not”) + fīnis (“end”)—suggests an elemental possibility, which is to say, life. Finite: from fīnis, end; death. To define, to make finite, is, then, in the final analysis, to kill.
- One of the silliest ironies in life involves the person who does a lot of supposedly cool things and doesn't enjoy them at all, but then pretends like he did enjoy them so he can at least save some face which results in a bunch of other people trying said things and hating them. Or he tells the truth and says he hated them, but said others think he's putting on airs and is therefore that much cooler for it so they try the things anyways and what do you know, end up hating them.
- The universe is a centering process.
- ...A book consisting entirely of the quotes one finds authors inserting before their own, a layered stack of contexualizations, to be applauded as consummate genius. This blog is not it, merely the seed.
- Like anger or joy or sadness, "any other day" is a valid emotion. It felt like any other day. I feel like any other day. I feel any other day. I feel... quotidian.
- "Because it's interesting" and "Because it's fun" both seem quite central to human flourishing.
- I should color-code hyperlinks in my posts. Red = mandatory read, yellow = moderately important, green = inessential but good to be acquainted with.
- Content's comic potential is proportional to its tragic.
- An idea: Some tautologies are strengthened, not disproven, by their reflexivity. Occam's Razor would find a self-explicating statement elegant.
- The Horoscope satisfies the projective hunger of any who would indulge its siren song. But...
- Make all prophecies and at least one will fulfill itself.
- Wouldn't the world be so much better if we could stare at the sun? (without damaging our eyes)
- Reading through some of my older Random Thoughts... 😐
- Sigmund Freud had a bad case of Tetris Syndrome.
- Whenever I quote someone, it means they thought of something before I did :/
- Pay precise attention to the physiological effects of "being serious."
- And what if awareness of the door should ensure that one can never leave?
In the great boarding-house of nature, the cakes and the butter and the syrup seldom come out so even and leave the plates so clean.
Orpheus and the Underworld
Curse of Knowledge
On the song The Way by Fastball
Why we can't tell good wine from bad
Social media and cultural decline
The Death of the Author
Why today's "free to play" games suck
The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race
How we get stuck defending those we don't agree with
Library of Babel
The Man Who Destroyed America's Ego
Can You Hear Me Now?
We Are All Architects Now
The Death of Socrates
What is the University for?
The value of a life
Paraplegics & lottery winners don't normalize happiness
Hard Work Fallacy
Unexpected Hanging Paradox
How to Not Die
The Art of Grieving Well
Overton Window (cf. 1 & 2)
The Luxury of Tears (cf.)
Ads Don't Work That Way
Buddhist Cultural Inception
Charlie Kaufman Interview
Miller's Law (in communication) (cf.)
How Intellectuals Create a Public
Your brain acts like a congress of miniature selves (cf.)
What does it feel like to hold a human brain?
Why Humans Run The World
How hipsterdom works
Liberate Yourself From Classical Karate
Spies of the Mind
Young Minds in Critical Condition
Nassim Taleb Commencement Address
Borges and $
China's Christian Future (+ tl;dr)
Back to Mesopotamia?
Aliens Cause Global Warming
The Like Artists
Corrupted Blood Incident
Blue Feed, Red Feed
Listen to Wikipedia
John Cage's Gift to Us
Why Is Cell Phone Call Quality So Terrible?
Are Beliefs Like Clothes?
1,000 True Fans
Internet culture in a nutshell (cf.)
Feels vs Reals
Sizing Up the Nightlife
Your dogma are your self
Making the Garden
Encyclopedia of Pasta
On Romantic Love
Religion is Poetry
Sever Yourself From The Khala
A Parable of Saadi
When Pixels Collide
Affective Musical Key Characteristics
Truth and Lies in a HyperNormal Sense
Against Unreasonably High Standards
LARB: Devil on the Cross
Some philosophical trichotomies
Gender Nihilism: An Anti-Manifesto
Surgery Is One Hell Of A Placebo
The Kolmogorov option
Clean Pain vs. Dirty Pain
Model of Hierarchical Complexity
There’s more to mathematics than rigour and proofs
Snake Oil Supplements?
Public Policy After Utopia
A Priesthood of Programmers
Botnet Writes Harry Potter
Flicker Fusion Threshold
Sartre on Ivan's Childhood
Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names
On the Marionette Theater
I was swallowed by a hippo
The Well-Being Machine
Skinner Air Crib
The Many Reasons Biologists Eat Their Study Subjects
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me
—and there was no one left to speak for me.
My favorite words
in no particular order:
Churchill: I have had to eat many of my own words, and I found the diet very nourishing.
A secret is powerful when it is empty. People often mention the “Masonic secret.” What on earth is the Masonic secret? No one can tell. As long as it remains empty it can be filled up with every possible notion, and it has power.
"Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es."
Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Tell me what you
and I will tell you what you
There are trivial truths and there are great truths. The opposite of a trivial truth is also true. The opposite of a great truth is provably false.
-Karl Popper's dead ghost
In the Desert
by Stephen Crane
In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, “Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;
“But I like it
“Because it is bitter,
“And because it is my heart.”
"Inside every sane person there's a madman struggling to get out," said the shopkeeper. "That's what I've always thought. No one goes mad quicker than a totally sane person."
“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.”
"Don't deny people the pain they feel, and don't deny people the little they have to get through the day."
I wonder how people remember things who don't film, don't photograph, don't tape. How has mankind managed to remember? I know: it wrote the Bible. The new Bible will be an eternal magnetic tape of a time that will have to reread itself constantly just to know it existed.
We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.
Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer.
If God did not
it would be necessary to
Of Mere Being
by Wallace Stevens
The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor,
A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.
You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.
The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird's fire-fangled feathers dangle down.
Shall we go to the sand-pits?
Yes, let’s go to the sand-pits.
Will the air be fresh and clear
over the sand-pits?
Depending on the season, the time
of day, and the weather
the air will be cool, sultry, or mild
over the sand-pits.
Shall we whistle and get a drink
at the sand-pits?
Whistling and drinking are de rigueur
at the sand-pits.
Will there be a crowd
at the sand-pits?
There is almost invariably a crowd
at the sand-pits.
Shall we take our whips
to the sand-pits?
In what tree have you parked
your brain, imbecile?
Without whips what would be the point
of the sand-pits?
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
Quod scripsi, scripsi.