“In “The Sense of Order,” E. H. Gombrich (1994) wrestles with the tensions between pleasing repetition and uninteresting redundancy. As he reflects on pavement designs he notes the pleasure in encountering one whose pattern cannot be fully grasped. Gombrich explains this desire for variation or complexity in terms of the information theory emerging at the time, which posits that information increases in step with unpredictability (9). He goes on to speculate that the viewer examines patterns by trying to anticipate what comes next. “Delight,” he writes, “lies somewhere between boredom and confusion.””—10 print chr$(205.5+rnd(1)) goto 10
“Monopathy, or over-specialisation, eventually retreats into defending what one has learnt rather than making new connections. The initial spurt of learning gives out, and the expert is left, like an animal, merely defending his territory. One sees this in the academic arena, where ancient professors vie with each other to expel intruders from their hard-won patches. Just look at the bitter arguments over how far the sciences should be allowed to encroach on the humanities. But the polymath, whatever his or her ‘level’ or societal status, is not constrained to defend their own turf. The polymath’s identity and value comes from multiple mastery.”—
“The gaucho acquired an exaggerated notion of mastery over his own destiny from the simple act of riding on horseback way far across the plain.”—"Fodor’s Guide" in "Autobiography of Red" by Anne Carson
“An old Indian folktale tells of a man forced to shoulder a corpse night after night—till the corpse, its dead but moving lips pressed to his ear, has finished telling the story of its long-finished life. Don’t try to throw me to the ground. Like the man in the folktale, you will have to shoulder the burden of my three insomnias and listen patiently, till the corpse has finished its autobiography.”—From Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s Autobiography of a Corpse.
“I spent a great deal of my life being ignored. I was always very happy that way. Being ignored is a great privilege. That is how I think I learnt to see what others do not see and to react to situations differently. I simply looked at the world, not really prepared for anything.”—Saul Leiter (via symptomer)
This isn’t a dispute about the meaning of facts, but rather a dispute about whether or not there can be any such thing as facts. The sort of Christian fundamentalist most likely to embrace young-Earth creationism is also likely to be the sort of person who rails against “post-modernism” and who insists on the essential importance of “absolute truth.” Yet scratch the surface of any young-Earth creationist and you’ll find an epistemology more radically skeptical than anything Hume or any of the French deconstructionists ever imagined. Far from the defenders of “absolute truth” they claim to be, young-Earth creationists actually embrace a philosophy that says nothing can be known about the world around us.
The woman dumped the contents of her purse onto the table before her, ignoring the odd glances she received from the people around her. Rummaging through her belongings, or so she assumed, her lips as low mutters escaped her; anxious and incoherent. There was nothing worse than feeling lost and like something was missing. Just who was she? What was her name? Where was she?
Picking up a folded newspaper from the pile, her eyes scanned the text, looking for any indication of where she was. So what if she was trembling and anxious? A huge part of her was missing, who could blame her?
“Embracing HTTP error code 410 means embracing the impermanence of all things.”—
Mark Pilgrim, March 27, 2003
HTTP Status 410 Spec:
Indicates that the resource requested is no longer available and will not be available again. This should be used when a resource has been intentionally removed and the resource should be purged. Upon receiving a 410 status code, the client should not request the resource again in the future. Clients such as search engines should remove the resource from their indices. Most use cases do not require clients and search engines to purge the resource, and a “404 Not Found” may be used instead.
“The contrast of your body and your mind inside … essentially a one-person spaceship, which is your spacesuit, where you’re holding on for dear life to the shuttle or the station with one hand, and you are inexplicably in between what is just a pouring glory of the world roaring by, silently next to you — just the kaleidoscope of it, it takes up your whole mind. It’s like the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen just screaming at you on the right side, and when you look left, it’s the whole bottomless black of the universe and it goes in all directions. It’s like a huge yawning endlessness on your left side and you’re in between those two things and trying to rationalize it to yourself and trying to get some work done.”—
“Spirituality means waking up. Most people, even though they don’t know it, are asleep. They’re born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence. You know — all mystics — Catholic, Christian, non-Christian, no matter what their theology, no matter what their religion — are unanimous on one thing: that all is well, all is well. Though everything is a mess, all is well. Strange paradox, to be sure. But, tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep. They are having a nightmare.”—Anthony De Mello (via ashramof1)
“People are so vulnerable at night. They’re willing to spill out their souls to anyone willing to listen. They have desires to do things that never cross their mind when the sun is in the sky.”—(via milkied)
“Reading is a technology for perspective-taking. When someone else’s thoughts are in your head, you are observing the world from that person’s vantage point. Not only are you taking in sights and sounds that you could not experience firsthand, but you have stepped inside that person’s mind and are temporarily sharing his or her attitudes and reactions.”—Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature
“I stayed under the moon too long.
I am silvered with lust.
Dreams flick like minnows through my eyes.
My voice is trees tossing in the wind.
I loose myself like a flock of blackbirds
storming into your face.
My lightest touch leaves blue prints,
bruises on your mind.
Desire sandpapers your skin
so thin I read the veins and arteries
maps of routes I will travel
till I lodge in your spine.
The night is our fur.
We curl inside it licking.”—Marge Piercy (American, born 1936), “Moonburn” (via honeyedchamomile)
98.3% of web pages change in some way within six months, while 99.1% do within a year.
Scholars that expect to find an authoritative source of knowledge, like the United States Supreme Court Website, instead find links leading to gaping memory holes where that information used to reside.
Memory loss is a structural issue. The brain combats this by writing new memories each time the memory is recalled. The new memory is written with our new contexts and feelings in consideration. It helps us heal, it helps us forgot.
In search of some objective history, we have created an internet that is idiosyncratically ephemeral, but something we hope can turn as concrete as hieroglyphics carved into stone.
It will never work. Not entirely. And that’s a good thing.
“I’d never want to say that there’s only one purpose to literature. I’m not even sure that literature has a purpose, other than to give pleasure and, possibly, enlightenment. Ours is a pragmatic culture, and we’re always trying to justify something by saying what its purpose is. But sometimes art has no clear purpose, apart from the pleasure it gives. What’s the purpose of Debussy’s Preludes? And do novels really make us care deeply about others? If they did, English departments would be full of generous, humane, and sweet-tempered people. Joseph Goebbels wrote a novel, and Hitler loved Wagner’s operas. Art does not always make us better people. We have to remember that.”—