“People dislike one thing and want to express solidarity with another, but they are not interested in the detail of what they are saying. You can shirk it by simply throwing your mind open and letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in. They will construct your sentences for you, even think your thoughts for you to a certain extent and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself. It is at this point that the special connection between politics and debasement of language becomes clear”.
George Orwell, “Politics and the English language”
4:04 am • 10 April 2013
"When life doesn’t give you satisfaction, you go to the movies."
— François Truffaut
2:27 am • 29 March 2013
“It is the Acropolis that made a rebel of me. One clear image will stand in my mind forever: the Parthenon. Stark, stripped, economical, violent; a clamorous outcry against a landscape of grace and terror. All strength and purity.”
Le Corbusier, Fourth meeting of the CIAM, 1933
4:41 am • 21 March 2013
"When I was a little girl, growing up in france, my mother worked sewing tapestries. Some of the tapestries were exported to America. The only problem was that many of the images on the tapestries were of naked people. My mother’s job was to cut out—the genitals of men and women and replace these parts with flowers so they could be sold to americans. My mother saved all the pictures of the genitials over the years, and one day she sewed them together as a quilt and then she gave the quilt to me. That’s the difference between French and American aesthetics."
— Louise Bourgeois, “Sunday Afternoons”
5:00 am • 15 March 2013
“So I shall suppose that some malicious, powerful, cunning demon has done all he can to deceive me—rather than this being done by God, who is supremely good and the source of truth. I shall think that the sky, the air, the earth, colours, shapes, sounds and all external things are merely dreams that the demon has contrived as traps for my judgment. I shall consider myself as having no hands or eyes, or flesh, or blood or senses, but as having falsely believed that I had all these things. I shall stubbornly persist in this train of thought; and even if I can’t learn any truth, I shall at least do what I can do, which is to be on my guard against accepting any falsehoods, so that the deceiver—however powerful and cunning he may be—will be unable to affect me in the slightest. This will be hard work, though, and a kind of laziness pulls me back into my old ways. Like a prisoner who dreams that he is free, starts to suspect that it is merely a dream, and wants to go on dreaming rather than waking up, so I am content to slide back into my old opinions; I fear being shaken out of them because I am afraid that my peaceful sleep may be followed by hard labour when I wake, and that I shall have to struggle not in the light but in the imprisoning darkness of the problems I have raised.”
René Descartes, “Meditations on First Philosophy”
3:49 am • 14 March 2013
"I have noticed that even people who claim everything is predetermined and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road."
— Stephen Hawking
6:06 pm • 12 March 2013
"So the whole war is because we can’t talk to each other."
— Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game
4:53 pm • 7 March 2013
"L’énigme du visible et de l’invisible garde son élégance d’énigme. Il est impossible de la résoudre dans un monde que l’actualité fascine et qui ne possède aucun recul."
— Jean Cocteau - Journal d’un inconnu, 1953 (via ce-sac-contient)
5:56 am • 28 February 2013
“As a reporter, I hate slipshod photographs … There are two gifts which every man of images needs to be a true creator: a certain sensitivity to life, to living things, and at the same time, the art which will enable him to capture that life in a certain specific way. I’m not talking about the pure aesthetics: a confused photo just isn’t capable of penetrating the viewer’s memory. I’ve always felt that the formal structure of a photo, its composition, was just as important as the subject itself … You have to eliminate every superfluous element, you have to guide your own gaze with an iron will. You have to take the viewer’s gaze, and lead it to what is interesting.”
5:45 pm • 26 February 2013
"You love the accidental. A smile from a pretty girl in an interesting situation, a stolen glance, that is what you are hunting for, that is a motif for your aimless fantasy. You who always pride yourself on being an observateur must, in return, put up with becoming an object of observation. Ah, you are a strange fellow, one moment a child, the next an old man; one moment you are thinking most earnestly about the most important scholarly problems, how you will devote your life to them, and the next you are a lovesick fool."
— Søren Kierkegaard, “Either/Or”
4:48 pm • 13 February 2013
[…] Most men tolerate life without grumbling too much and believe thus in the value of existence, but precisely because everyone wills himself alone and stands his ground alone, and does not step out of himself as do those exceptional men, everything extrapersonal escapes his notice entirely, or seems at the most a faint shadow. Thus the value of life for ordinary, everyday man is based only on his taking himself to be more important than the world. The great lack of fantasy from which he suffers keeps him from being able to empathize with other beings, and he therefore participates in their vicissitudes and suffering as little as possible. On the other hand, whoever would be truly able to participate in it would have to despair about the value of life; if he were able to grasp and feel mankind’s overall consciousness in himself, he would collapse with a curse against existence - for mankind, as a whole, has no goals, and consequently, considering the whole affair, man cannot find his comfort and support in it, but rather his despair. If, in everything he does, he considers the ultimate aimlessness of men, his own activity acquires the character of squandering in his eyes. But to feel squandered as mankind (and not just as an individual), as we see the single blossom squandered by nature, is a feeling above all feelings.
Nietzsche, Human, All to Human, Aphorism 33: Error about life necessary for life.
3:42 pm • 29 January 2013
[…] The admirers of forms [artists and aesthetes, as opposed to scientists], with their standard of beauty and sublimity, will, to be sure, have good reason to mock at first, when esteem for humble truths and the scientific spirit first comes to rule, but only because either their eye has not yet been opened to the charm of the simplest form, or because men raised in that spirit have not yet been fully and inwardly permeated by it, so that they continue thoughtlessly to imitate old forms (and poorly, too, like someone who no longer really cares about the matter). Previously, the mind was not obliged to think rigorously; its importance lays in spinning out symbols and forms. That has changed; that importance of symbols has become the sign of lower culture. Just as our arts are becoming ever more intellectual and our senses more spiritual - to the eye of older times uglier, perhaps, but only because it is unable to see how the realm of internal, spiritual beauty is continually deepening and expanding, and to what extent a glance full of intelligence can mean more to all of us now than the most beautiful human body and the most sublime edifice.
Nietzsche, Aphorism 3, “Human, All too Human”
4:41 am • 23 January 2013
"A doctor defines a patient’s illness in part by looking at symptoms. A biographer (who is by no means a doctor and certainly not a therapist) defines the subject’s nature by looking at what the mind brings to the surface and transforms into language. What I like to call ‘literary psychology’ is the only kind of psychology a biographer can practice, for there’s no question of putting his subject on the couch—as critics of biography and the psychological approach claim. A biographer is merely someone looking at evidence—circumstantial, psychological, documentary. We must remember that human beings are psychological entities as well as physical; and that above all, in biography, we are watching their imagination of themselves."
— Leon Edel
8:05 pm • 18 January 2013