“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest — whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories — comes afterward. These are games; one must first answer.”
“There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.”—Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities (via aperfectcommotion)
“In the social production of their life, men enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will; these relations of production correspond to a definite stage of development of their material forces of production. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society — the real foundation, on which rises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life determines the social, political and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.”—Karl Marx, Preface to ‘A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy’ (1859)
“I’d like to refocus everyone’s attention away from the Kardashians and onto Doctors Without Borders or aid workers. Let’s redefine scandal. Scandal is not who so-and-so is dating; scandal is the fact that 1.2 million people are still living in tents in Haiti, and cholera is rampant because Nepalese U.N. soldiers dumped shit from their Porta-Potties into the river. That’s a fucking scandal. If the average 15-year-old was hearing about that instead of so-and-so’s plastic surgery or cheating in Hollywood, I’d feel better about our future.”—Olivia Wilde to Marie Claire (via damnedifyoudontdamnedifyoudo)
“Applying commercial models to public library spaces takes away the idea of commonality. In a true public library the user is a citizen rather than a customer. The commercial sector is not concerned with citizenship. Customers and consumers are viewed differently from citizens.”—Usherwood, B. (2007), Equity and Excellence in the Public Library, Ashgate, Aldershot. (via walkyouhome)
“Most people are not even aware of their need to conform. They live under the illusion that they follow their own ideas and inclinations, that they are individualists, that they have arrived at their opinions as the result of their own thinking – and that it just happens that their ideas are the same as those of the majority.”—Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving (via tealeavesandthylacines)
“Nationalism of one kind or another was the cause of most of the genocide of the twentieth century. Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people’s minds and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead.”—Arundhati Roy (War Talk)
This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals – sounds that say listen to this, it is important.
“For me, the most ironic token of that moment in history is the plaque signed by President Richard M. Nixon that Apollo 11 took to the Moon. It reads: ‘We came in peace for all mankind.’ As the United States was dropping 7.5 megatons of conventional explosives on small nations in Southeast Asia, we congratulated ourselves on our humanity: We would harm no one on a lifeless rock.”—Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot (via oldthunder)
“The copyright system grew up with printing—a technology for mass-production copying. Copyright fit in well with this technology because it restricted only the mass producers of copies. It did not take freedom away from readers of books. An ordinary reader, who did not own a printing press, could copy books only with pen and ink, and few readers were sued for that.
Digital technology is more flexible than the printing press: when information has digital form, you can easily copy it to share it with others. This very flexibility makes a bad fit with a system like copyright. That’s the reason for the increasingly nasty and draconian measures now used to enforce software copyright…”
“It seems to me that the intellectualization and aestheticizing of principles and values in this country is one of the things that’s gutted our generation. All the things that my parents said to me, like “It’s really important not to lie.” OK, check, got it. I nod at that but I really don’t feel it. Until I get to be about 30 and I realize that if I lie to you, I also can’t trust you. I feel that I’m in pain, I’m nervous, I’m lonely and I can’t figure out why. Then I realize, “Oh, perhaps the way to deal with this is really not to lie.” The idea that something so simple and, really, so aesthetically uninteresting — which for me meant you pass over it for the interesting, complex stuff — can actually be nourishing in a way that arch, meta, ironic, pomo stuff can’t, that seems to me to be important. That seems to me like something our generation needs to feel.”—
“I’m worried that students will take their obedient place in society and look to become successful cogs in the wheel - let the wheel spin them around as it wants without taking a look at what they’re doing. I’m concerned that students not become passive acceptors of the official doctrine that’s handed down to them from the White House, the media, textbooks, teachers and preachers.”—Howard Zinn (via thinksquad)
“I wish I could shorten, more and more, again and again, to the utmost smallest point of voluptuousness whose length would be adjustable to the infinite, a point of absolute pain and communication, the most intense linguistic point in the world wherefrom one would be able to ponder once more over the whole length of love.”—Dominique Fourcade, Outrance utterance (via proustitute)
Hey, how’s it going? Mind if I sidle up? I saw you over here sitting alone and I thought, that’s fine. A woman should be able to self-sustain. In fact a lot of women are choosing to stay alone, what with advances in salary equitability and maternity extensions, and I think it’s an important and compelling trend.
I noticed that you were about to finish your drink and I was wondering if I could possibly watch you purchase another one. And, at the risk of being forward, if you could possibly purchase one for me.
What do you do? And before you answer, I’m not looking for a necessarily work-related response. I don’t think we have to be defined by our industrial pursuits, especially when they’re antiquated and hetero-normative. I curse my mother, who is an otherwise lovely human person, for not buying me an Easy-Bake Oven when I was younger. I grew up idolizing male thugs like Neil Armstrong and Jimmy Carter. And, yes, I work at ESPN, but I spend more time being spiritual and overcoming adversity, for example, than I do working for some faceless corporation. And if I were to find a mate, be it you or someone else here tonight, I would be more than happy to tell the proverbial “man” that I quit so I can raise our offspring with gender-neutral hobbies, while my biologically female partner continues to pursue her interests, be they industrial, recreational or yes, even sexual with another mate.
Crazy news about the first female African head of state and Liberia’s sitting president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, huh? Announcing her candidacy for 2011 so soon! Wow. What do you think of her chances? I think she’s a shoo-in, but I’m admittedly a bit concerned about Prince Johnson making some last minute strides, especially amongst the Gio people in the Nimba region. I’m thinking of launching a letter writing campaign on behalf of EJ-S or at least cold calling potential Nimba voters over Skype.
Oh, how gauche of me! I’ve just been chattering away incessantly like some kind of boy or girl who talks a lot. I haven’t even properly introduced myself. Although, one often gets the uneasy sense that patriarchy dictates a learned and ultimately damaging order of events with men taking an unearned lead. My name is Terri, with a heart over the i, instead of a dot. I have a heart, is what that says, and I’m not afraid to wear it on my sleeve.
So what do you think? Would you like to take me up on my offer for you to buy me that drink?
If you would like to respond, that would be wonderful. Of course, if you would like to continue to sit here silently, staring at me with that powerful gaze, which both breaks gender constructs and also scares me a bit, that would be fine as well.
What’s that? I should go fuck myself? I agree! Men should be more self-generative! Thank you for your astute assertion. Why should women exclusively have to bear the burden of childbirth, when men are biologically doomed to fear commitment? It’s counter-intuitive and socially degrading.
Ahh, that beer is refreshing! Thank you for throwing it in my face on this warm summer evening.
Okay, okay! I’m leaving!
Thank you for your blunt rejection of me. It takes a lot of courage, which you no doubt have in equal measure to any other human. Now, if you’ll excuse, I’m going to the bathroom where I’ll cry silently in a stall, questioning my body and texting my mom, but for now, I thank you for your time, which was equal to mine.
“But most days, if you’re aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-lady who just screamed at her little child in the checkout line — maybe she’s not usually like this; maybe she’s been up three straight nights holding the hand of her husband who’s dying of bone cancer, or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the Motor Vehicles Dept. who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a nightmarish red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it’s also not impossible — it just depends on what you want to consider. If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is and who and what is really important — if you want to operate on your default-setting — then you, like me, will not consider possibilities that aren’t pointless and annoying. But if you’ve really learned how to think, how to pay attention, then you will know you have other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, loud, slow, consumer-hell-type situation as not only meaningful but sacred, on fire with the same force that lit the stars — compassion, love, the sub-surface unity of all things. Not that that mystical stuff’s necessarily true: The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re going to try to see it. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship…”—David Foster Wallace on Life and Work - WSJ.com (via youmightfindyourself)