Master of Caius: I take the war list, and I run down it. Name after name which I cannot read, and which we – who are older than you – cannot hear without emotion. Names which will be only names to you, the new college, but which to us summon up face after face, full of honesty and goodness, zeal and vigor, and intellectual promise. The flower of a generation, the glory of England – and they died for England, and all that England stands for. And now, by tragic necessity, their dreams have become yours. Let me exhort you: Examine yourselves. Let each of you discover where your true chance of greatness lies. For their sakes – for the sake of your college, and your country – seize this chance. Rejoice in it, and let no power or persuasion deter you in your task.
I had a big, big problem because I had been the big rock idealist and now it was all letting me down. The industry hadn’t fulfilled its promise. Rock ‘n’ roll had changed the length of men’s hair and very little else. I felt like a fool because I’d waved the banner so aggressively. And what was really worse, I felt that I was being used by journalists.
I hated the feeling that I was in a band on the downward slide that was killing people in Cincinnati, killing off its own members, killing its manager. We were into making big money and anybody who got in the way or had a problem, we dropped. Nobody seemed to notice. Nobody seemed to think this was a particularly bad thing, or we pretended it wasn’t, anyway. I felt it start to kill me. Something was getting its teeth into me. I should have stopped doing what I really didn’t want to go on doing. I should have stopped working with the band. I should have stopped and had another look at rock ‘n’ roll, the thing that I loved and cared about so much, which I held above all other things.
Pete Townsend, from the book:
The Courage to Change: Personal Conversations about Alcoholism
Note – the book is from 1984.
Nathan: [points to painting] You know this guy, right?
Caleb: Jackson Pollock.
Nathan: Jackson Pollock. That’s right. The drip painter. Okay. He let his mind go blank, and his hand go where it wanted. Not deliberate, not random. Some place in between. They called it automatic art. Let’s make this like Star Trek, okay? Engage intellect.
Caleb: Excuse me?
Nathan: I’m Kirk. Your head’s the warp drive. Engage intellect. What if Pollock had reversed the challenge. What if instead of making art without thinking, he said, “You know what? I can’t paint anything, unless I know exactly why I’m doing it.” What would have happened?
Caleb: He never would have made a single mark.
Nathan: Yes! You see, there’s my guy, there’s my buddy, who thinks before he opens his mouth. He never would have made a single mark.
Nathan: The challenge is not to act automatically. It’s to find an action that is not automatic. From painting, to breathing, to talking, to fucking. To falling in love…
Nathan: And for the record, Ava’s not pretending to like you. And her flirting isn’t an algorithm to fake you out. You’re the first man she’s met that isn’t me. And I’m like her dad, right? Can you blame her for getting a crush on you?
Of course Bernard didn’t realise the song wasn’t in his key. None of us did. We didn’t know anything about stuff like that. We always wrote the music first, and what I’d always loved about Barney’s vocals was the unintentional strained quality as he tried to fit into the track. Like Ian, he wasn’t blessed with the world’s best singing voice, but it had emotion, passion, and to me the struggle in Bernard’s voice was a major part of the band’s appeal. (I agree with David Byrne, who said, ‘The better a singer’s voice, the harder it is to believe what they’re saying.’)
Substance: Inside New Order
Error of philosophers: The philosopher believes that the value of his philosophy lies in the whole, in the building. But posterity discovers it in the bricks that he used and which others will often make use of again for better building; in the fact, that is to say, that the building can be destroyed and nevertheless possess value as material.
— Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human (1878)
Epigraph found in:
Heidegger in Ruins
Over the past couple of years, I volunteered to teach in the West Tennessee State Penitentiary, where I was part of a faculty cohort that offers humanities seminars to incarcerated women.
The program director had invited me to discuss a play, but I didn’t think I could do justice to a drama in just two brief sessions. So we read Shakespeare’s sonnets instead. Right choice! One student, Aja, was so enthusiastic that she came to the first class having already translated her favorite into her own verse.
The sparse classroom has a corkboard on one wall whose dimensions mirror the shape of a sonnet on the page, giving us a good visual analogue for the form: why would an artist choose to work within such a frame? G. K. Chesterton, who held that art consists in limitation, was only half jesting when he asserted that the most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.
How to Think like Shakespeare
From the footnotes, original source:
Cited by Ian Ker, Chesterton: A Biography (Oxford University Press, 2012), 254.
..here he was on Broadway, his hair iron-gray, his stare wild, his walk unsteady, his hands flailing at the air. His clothes were out of the men’s shelter, and his face so ill-looking you wanted to put him in a hospital for a month before we even discussed the situation.
My mother looked curiously at me. “Why were you afraid of him?” she asked. “You could knock him over with one hand.”
“Ma, he didn’t look like that twelve years ago. Believe me. She continued to stare after him as he shambled down Broadway, bumping into people left and right.
“You’re growing old together,” she said to me. “You and what frightens you.”
Our attention and beliefs are the same fact – did william james say this and if so, where
William James, a prominent American philosopher and psychologist, did write about the relationship between attention and belief. However, he did not express the idea that “our attention and beliefs are the same fact” in those exact words.
In his book “The Principles of Psychology,” James discussed how attention and belief are intimately connected. He argued that our beliefs influence what we attend to, and what we attend to influences our beliefs. In his words, “What we attend to is what we believe in.”
He also emphasized that attention and belief are both active processes that shape our perception of the world. As he put it, “Belief and attention are motor phenomena, and only through the study of their motor consequences can we get at their nature.”
So, while James did not explicitly state that attention and belief are the same fact, he did see them as closely intertwined and mutually influencing.
I believe rather that we stand in much the same relation to the whole of the universe as our canine and feline pets do to the whole of human life. They inhabit our drawing-rooms and libraries. They take part in scenes of whose significance they have no inkling. They are merely tangent to curves of history the beginnings and ends and forms of which pass wholly beyond their ken. So we are tangent to the wider life of things. But, just as many of the dog’s and cat’s ideals coincide with our ideals, and the dogs and cats have daily living proof of the fact, so we may well believe, on the proofs that religious experience affords, that higher powers exist and are at work to save the world on ideal lines similar to our own.
Cairo, January 5, 1850
You ask me whether the Orient is up to what I imagined it to be. Yes, it is, and more than that it extends far beyond the narrow idea I had of it. I have found, clearly delineated, everything that was hazy in my mind. Facts have taken the place of suppositions – so excellently that it is often as though I were suddenly coming upon old and forgotten dreams.
Flaubert and Madame Bovary
Most people prefer to have two advisers, one for the hour of danger, when they are afraid—and then, when things go well again, then they would prefer not to have anything to do with him, because the sight of him reminds them of how weak they were, and now they prefer to imagine that they have triumphed by dint of their own strength—not by God’s.
The Quotable Kierkegaard
One evening, more than twenty years ago, Giacometti was hit by a car while crossing the Place d’Italie. Though his leg was twisted, his first feeling, in the state of lucid swoon into which he had fallen, was a kind of joy: “Something has happened to me at last!” I know his radicalism: he expected the worst. The life he so loved and which he would not have changed for any othe was knocked out of joint, perhaps shattered, by the stupid violence of the chance: “So,” he thought to himself, “I wasn’t meant to be a sculptor, nor even to live. I wasn’t meant for anything.” What thrilled him was the menacing order of causes that was suddenly unmasked and the act of staring with the petrifying gaze of a cataclysm at the lights of the city, at human beings, at his own body lying flat in the mud: for a sculptor, the mineral world is never far away. I admire that will to welcome everything. If one likes surprises, one must like them to that degree, one must like even the rare flashes which reveal to devotees that the earth is not meant for them.