Desultory Notes – Week of November 17, 2023

At the 9:15 mark, in answer to a direct question posed by interviewer Woodrow Wyatt about the “practical use of your sort of philosophy to a man who wants to know how to conduct himself,” Russell replies:

I think nobody should be certain of anything. If you’re certain, you’re certainly wrong because nothing deserves certainty. So one ought to hold all one’s beliefs with a certain element of doubt, and one ought to be able to act vigorously in spite of the doubt…. One has in practical life to act upon probabilities, and what I should look to philosophy to do is to encourage people to act with vigor without complete certainty.

Bertrand Russell: The Everyday Benefit of Philosophy Is That It Helps You Live with Uncertainty

Dmitry Portnoy
Studio City
It’s only after seeing this production that I felt I understood anything about a play I’d thought about for more than three decades. Turns out when a brilliant director and cast perform it with the commitment and humility it demands, it sheds its clown nose and begins to speak.

philadelphia, pa
I was completely captivated by this production – wonderfully directed and a master class in acting by the whole cast. This is probably the best thing happening in NY theater at the moment (if not for the entire season). I feel very privileged to have seen it.

Greenville, North Carolina
My all-time favorite graffito:

“Back in a second.” — Godot

‘Waiting for Godot’ Review: Old Friends Falling in and Out of Sync
Michael Shannon and Paul Sparks star in Arin Arbus’s pandemic-delayed production at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center.
(From the comments)

“Competition happens at the bottom, people at the top are collaborating ” – via  twitter and instagram.

I think it was Faulkner who once said that when you strike a match in a dark wilderness it is not in order to see anything better lighted, but just in order to see how much more darkness there is around. I think that literature does mainly that. It is not really supposed to ‘answer’ things, not even to make them clearer, but rather to explore – often blindly – the huge areas of darkness, and show them better.

Jonathan Coe
from introduction to:
A Heart So White
Javier Marias