21 December 2014

 James Burnham's Ten Laws

  1. Everybody knows everything.
  2. Who says A must say B.
  3. Just as good, isn't.
  4. You cannot invest in retrospect.
  5. Wherever there is prohibition there's a bootlegger.
  6. In every project there's a Schlamm.
  7. You can't divorce yourself.
  8. Every member must pay his dues.
  9. No excuse, sir.
  10. If there's no alternative, there's no problem.

08 December 2014

"We suffer from a repression of the sublime."

—  Roberto Assagioli, Psychosynthesis

But Van the Man never does.

Lines for Winter

Mark Strand

Tell yourself
as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
that you will go on
walking, hearing
the same tune no matter where
you find yourself--
inside the dome of dark 
or under the cracking white
of the moon's gaze in a valley of snow.
Tonight as it gets cold
tell yourself
what you know which is nothing
but the tune your bones play 
as you keep going.  And you will be able
for once to lie down under the small fire
of winter stars.
And if it happens that you cannot
go on or turn back
and you find yourself
where you will be at the end,
tell yourself
in that final flowing of cold through your limbs
that you love what you are.

17 November 2014

When Van Gogh was a young man in his early twenties, he was in London studying to be a clergyman. He had no thought of being an artist at all. he sat in his cheap little room writing a letter to his younger brother in Holland, whom he loved very much. He looked out his window at a watery twilight, a thin lamppost, a star, and he said in his letter something like this: “it is so beautiful I must show you how it looks.” And then on his cheap ruled note paper, he made the most beautiful, tender, little drawing of it.

When I read this letter of Van Gogh’s it comforted me very much and seemed to throw a clear light on the whole road of Art. Before, I thought that to produce a work of painting or literature, you scowled and thought long and ponderously and weighed everything solemnly and learned everything that all artists had ever done aforetime, and what their influences and schools were, and you were extremely careful about *design* and *balance* and getting *interesting planes* into your painting, and avoided, with the most astringent severity, showing the faintest *academical* tendency, and were strictly modern. And so on and so on.

But the moment I read Van Gogh’s letter I knew what art was, and the creative impulse. It is a feeling of love and enthusiasm for something, and in a direct, simple, passionate and true way, you try to show this beauty in things to others, by drawing it.
And Van Gogh’s little drawing on the cheap note paper was a work of art because he loved the sky and the frail lamppost against it so seriously that he made the drawing with the most exquisite conscientiousness and care.

— Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit

16 November 2014

"I think people who vibrate at the same frequency, vibrate toward each other. They call it - in science - sympathetic vibrations."—
Erykah Badu


14 November 2014

"We think we understand the rules when we become adults
 but what we really experience is a narrowing of the imagination."

10 November 2014

"The Sound and the Light in reality, are one. Vibrations up to a certain extent produce sound; but if their frequency is increased several-fold, they change into light. This Sound is the real and basic life-force which sustains the entire universe. This is the Light that lights our dark homes or bodies…..This Light is within all of us."

— Huzur Baba Sawan Singh

"If we’re not supposed to dance,
Why all this music?"

"Numbers it is. All music when you come to think. Two multiplied by two divided by half is twice one. Vibrations: chords those are. One plus two plus six is seven. Do anything you like with figures juggling. Always find out this equal to that. Symmetry under a cemetery wall. He doesn’t see my mourning. Callous: all for his own gut. Musemathematics. And you think you’re listening to the etherial. But suppose you said it like: Martha, seven times nine minus x is thirtyfive thousand. Fall quite flat. It’s on account of the sounds it is."

— James Joyce from Ulysses

Wake me the hell up.

An essential Murray principle: Wear your wisdom lightly, so insights arrive as punch lines. When pressed about his interactions with the public, he admits that the encounters are, to a certain extent, "selfish." Murray shifts his weight on the couch and explains, "My hope, always, is that it's going to wake me up. I'm only connected for seconds, minutes a day, sometimes. And suddenly, you go, ‘Holy cow, I've been asleep for two days. I've been doing things, but I'm just out.' If I see someone who's out cold on their feet, I'm going to try to wake that person up. It's what I'd want someone to do for me. Wake me the hell up and come back to the planet."

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/features/being-bill-murray-20141028#ixzz3IhvbhgPx
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28 October 2014

From the Lost Writings of Wu Hsin

Do not deem
Wu Hsin to be insane
Simply because you cannot hear
The music he dances to.
Man is the one who is insane:
His solution to his
Need for security is to
Lock himself away in a prison.
What could be more secure than
A prison?
He passes his time
In a solitary cell labeled “me”.
Believing he is now safe and that
No other can harm him,
He has exchanged freedom
For security.
What is outside
The walls of the prison is the unknown,
Possibly not secure,
Not safe,
Alien, at times hostile, and
Not at all predictable.
Yet what sane man would choose
Prison over freedom?
Man is the one who is insane:
He trades the experience of life,
Here and now,
For time and attention spent
On regretting the past,
Wishing for a better past and
Hoping for a brighter future,
For a future that will right
What is now deemed not right.The laughter of a child,
The blueness of the sky,
All sacrificed on the altar of
Mental preoccupations.
What a waste!
Man is the one who is insane:
Yet, quite normal
Within societal boundaries.
Numerous methods may lead one to
Being more comfortable.
But that is all you get:
One who is more comfortable in their prison,
Not one freed from their prison.
Nothing gets a person out of their prison
Because the person is the prison.
These words are not directed to
Any individual,
Any personality,
Any you.
Instead they go to that
Which supports the “you”,
Sustains the “you”,
Yet is prior to it.

14 August 2014

“Any idiot can face a crisis; it’s this day-to-day living that wears you out.” 

18 June 2014

There are mighty old trees among us whose demise is owed to the velocity of attention paid to the ever sprouting new, novel, trendy....their voices require attention and silence to perceive and time to digest.

“It’s a worldwide problem and appears to be happening in most types of forest,” said the study’s lead author, David Lindemayer, a professor at Australian National University and an expert in landscape ecology and forest management. The research team found that big, old trees are dying at an alarmingly fast clip around the world at all latitudes – Yosemite National Park in California, the African savanna, the Brazilian rain forest, Europe and the boreal forests around the world. […]
The die-off of these 100-to-300-year-old trees raises concern, the researchers say, because they sustain biodiversity to a greater degree than many other components of the forest. “Big, old trees are not just enlarged young trees,” said Jerry F. Franklin of the University of Washington, a co-author of the study who has studied old-growth forest for 45 years. “Old trees have idiosyncratic features – a different canopy, different branch systems, a lot of cavities, thicker bark and more heartwood. They provide a lot more habitat and niches.”
Big trees also supply abundant food for numerous animals in the form of fruits, flowers, foliage and nectar, noted Bill Laurance, another co-author, from James Cook University in Australia. “Their hollows offer nests and shelter for birds and animals” and “their loss could mean extinction for such creatures,” he said. […]
The study is only the latest among many reports of how climate change and other factors are taking a severe toll on the world’s forests. British Columbia, for example, is ground zero for a giant forest die-off that is occurring across the Rockies. More than 53,000 square miles of forest there has died in the last decade. The largest previous die-off, in the 1980s, spanned 2,300 square miles. […]
A new fungal disease that is attacking Britain’s beloved ash trees has been front-page news there. It is feared that the fungus could claim more than 90 percent of Britain’s ash, as it has elsewhere in Europe.

29 May 2014

Anita Brookner
Nobody grows up. Everyone carries around all the selves that they have ever been, intact, waiting to be reactivated in moments of pain, of fear, of danger. Everything is retrievable, every shock, every hurt.

Writing novels preserves you in a state of innocence - a lot passes you by - simply because your attention is otherwise diverted.

Real love is a pilgrimage. It happens when there is no strategy, but it is very rare because most people are strategists.

The lessons taught in great books are misleading. The commerce in life is rarely so simple and never so just.

To remain pure a novel has to cast a moral puzzle. Anything else is mere negotiation.

In real life, it is the hare who wins. Every time. Look around you. And in any case it is my contention that Aesop was writing for the tortoise market. Hares have no time to read. They are too busy winning the game.

You never know what you will learn till you start writing. Then you discover truths you never knew existed.

Writing has freed me from the despair of living.

It was then that I saw the business of writing for what it truly was and is to me. It is your penance for not being lucky. It is an attempt to reach others and to make them love you. It is your instinctive protest, when you find you have no voice at the world’s tribunals, and that no one will speak for you. 

Existentialism is about being a saint without God; being your own hero, without all the sanction and support of religion or society.

Brookner is an English novelist and art historian. She won the Booker Prize for Hotel du Lac.