Arbitrary highlights (and sometimes musings) on an arbitrary selection of books I’ve read. Click into each post to see the rest.
The authentic voice. The fact of great yield. Mechanical intelligence. Natural powers. The open field. The high end. The evolutionary hijack. Dimensional thinking. Alchemical creativity and the unconscious.
“I think of writing now as a long, tiring, pleasant seduction. The stories that you tell, the words that you use and refine, the characters you try to give life to are merely tools with which you circle around the elusive, unnamed, shapeless thing that belongs to you alone, and which nevertheless is a sort of key to all the doors, the real reason that you spend so much of your life sitting at a table tapping away, filling pages.”
“It is in this space of mastery over paradigms that people throw off addictions, live in constant joy, bring down empires, get locked up or burned at the stake or crucified or shot, and have impacts that last for millennia.”
All possibility of understanding is rooted in the ability to say no: On Photography, by Susan Sontag
Photography has always been suffering from an identity crisis, mostly around how and why it’s legit. Is it a fine art or not? Does it involve thinking, or is it spontaneous? Is it about expressing yourself, or about documenting reality? At first photographers were desperate to be thought of as artists; now they feel like they’re too cool to be thought of as artists.
A real understanding of Quality captures the System: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig
“This is the ghost of normal everyday assumptions which declares that the ultimate purpose of life, which is to keep alive, is impossible, but that this is the ultimate purpose of life anyway, so that great minds struggle to cure diseases so that people may live longer, but only madmen ask why.”
Many people have a tree growing in their heads: A Thousand Plateaus, by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari
“…but the brain itself is much more a grass than a tree.”
“In the text, as in dreams, there is no entrance. I offer this as a test to all apprentice-writers: if you are marking time you are not yet there.”
Being able to explain the things that are uncontroversial to it isn’t enough. If you can also explain the spots where things break down, the contradictions, the sources of cognitive dissonance, the things people need to ignore to continue functioning in the system, that demonstrates a deeper understanding.
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