PSA: Yesterday, I republished more old posts from 2003–06. Here are a few:
And here are some others that I republished a while ago, but are now slightly more hidden in the thicket of newly resurrected posts:
One must know that war is universal, and that justice is strife, and that all things happen according to strife and necessity.
He is equating justice and strife in order to suggest that unity is a product of opposites, in the way that a road up and a road down are the same road.
Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings:
Sam said nothing. The look on Frodo’s face was enough for him; he knew that words of his were useless. And after all he never had any real hope in the affair from the beginning; but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed.
Gilbert Seldes, The Stammering Century:
But it is almost impossible to believe that the wholly undisciplined followers of New Thought could understand or seriously practice the discipline of Yoga. […] For the most part, those who practiced it had not the faintest intention of giving up the world. Yoga was for them a mystic way of renouncing whatever was irritating and preserving whatever was pleasing. It was an elaborate game of pretense by which noisy people went into silence and distracted people imagined they were concentrating. The glamour of renunciation suffused the picture which they had of themselves. Actually nothing was renounced and whatever was desired was lifted to a transcendantal plane where it could be enjoyed a hundred-fold. No doubt the delusion was as effective as the actuality might have been. One fancies oneself becoming ageless and deathless, and full of perfection, sinking into eternal nothingness. And if, in fact, one was only resting a little and sinking into a perfumed bath the result was about the same. For Yoga had given a reason beyond reason. It had, in a strange way, transfigured the commonplaces of life. One was lifted successively to higher and higher planes of being, not knowing exactly where they were, but vaguely satisfied because they were higher. The little irritations of the world fell away. One was alone with the mysterious spirit and, breathing in a refined way, one returned to conquer the world.
From Why Poetry, p 103, Matthew Zapruder.
John Holt, Whole Earth Epilog (1974) (via):
A society of large tools cannot be democratic, egalitarian, socialistic, humane, and just. It must be hierarchical, exploitative, bureaucratic, and authoritarian. If the day comes when all of humanity’s wants can be supplied by a few giant tools, the people who tend them will rule the world.
Toni Morrison (via):
We have to stop loving our horror stories. Joyce’s Ulysses was rejected fourteen times. I don’t like that story; I hate it. Fitzgerald burned out and could not work. Hemingway despaired and could not work. A went mad, B died in penury, C drank herself to death, D was blacklisted, E committed suicide. I hate those stories. Great works are written in prisons and holding camps. So are stupid books. The misery does not validate the work. It outrages the sensibilities and violates the work.
Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow:
In one of these streets, in the morning fog, plastered over two slippery cobblestones, is a scrap of newspaper headline, with a wirephoto of a giant white cock, dangling in the sky straight downward out of a white pubic bush. The letters
appear above with the logo of some occupation newspaper, a grinning glamour girl riding astraddle the cannon of a tank, steel penis with slotted serpent head, 3rd Armored treads ’n’ triangle on a sweater rippling across her tits. The white image has the same coherence, the hey-lookit-me smugness, as the Cross does. It is not only a sudden white genital onset in the sky — it is also, perhaps, a Tree…
Walter Ong, Orality & Literacy:
To say writing is artificial is not to condemn it but to praise it. Like other artificial creations and indeed more than any other, it is utterly invaluable and indeed essential for the realization of fuller, interior, human potentials. Technologies are not mere exterior aids but also interior transformations of consciousness…. Writing heightens consciousness. Alienation from a natural milieu can be good for us and indeed is in many ways essential for full human life. To live and understand fully, we need not only proximity but also distance. This writing provides for consciousness as nothing else does.