a thread for mundane ironists

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:57 pm

Terry Pratchett

It is true that words have power, and one of the things they are able to do is get out of someone’s mouth before the speaker has the chance to stop them.


Don't you just hate that?

It looked like the sort of book described in library catalogues as 'slightly foxed', although it would be more honest to admit that it looked as though it had been badgered, wolved and possibly beared as well.

Expect a discount.

It is always useful to face an enemy who is prepared to die for his country, he read. This means that both you and he have exactly the same aim in mind.

And not just on the battlefield.

There are hardly any excesses of the most crazed psychopath that cannot easily be duplicated by a normal kindly family man who just comes in to work every day and has a job to do.

Going postal we call it.

History isn't like that. History unravels gently, like an old sweater. It has been patched and darned many times, reknitted to suit different people, shoved in a box under the sink of censorship to be cut up for the dusters of propaganda, yet it always - eventually - manages to spring back into its old familar shape. History has a habit of changing the people who think they are changing it. History always has a few tricks up its frayed sleeve. It's been around a long time.

Imagine then the history of Trumpworld. And not just in the shitholes.

The world is a globe — the farther you sail, the closer to home you are.

Unless it dawns on you.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:34 pm

so sad today

i miss people i never even liked in the first place


Nope, not yet.

there are two kinds of people in this world and they’re both wrong

Need I remind you: About what?

we only have one president in this country and it’s money

Remember when it was not that way? Me neither.

is being alive a meme?

Naturally.

annoyed that i had to be born and annoyed that i have to die

Of course she's just paraphrasing, among others, Woody Allen.

je suis a shithole

Perhaps, but she's not living in one.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:26 am

Joseph Heller

You’ve got to have a God. Without God, you might turn to something really crazy, like witchcraft, or religion.


Or, sure, philosophy.

Like all the other officers at Group Headquarters except Major Danby, Colonel Cathcart was infused with the democratic spirit: he believed that all men were created equal, and he therefore spurned all men outside Group Headquarters with equal fervor.

As well he should.

Help him!
Help who?
Help the bombardier!
I’m a bombardier.
Help him, help him!
Help who?


On the other hand, are we obligated morally to help him?

You've got flies in your eyes. That's why you can't see them.

Still, better flies than bees. Or mosquitos.

And he knew something else as a social evolutionist that he might stress someday in his 'Every Change Is for the Worse' should he ever find time to write it: Gold knew that the most advanced and penultimate stage of a civilization was attained when chaos masqueraded as order, and he knew we were already there.

We're way past there of course. Here order masquerades as chaos. Only theirs and not ours.

It’s the moment in which Yossarian, who has been in thrall to Catch-22 throughout, finally breaks away. Yossarian has come to realise that Catch-22 does not actually exist, but because the powers that be claim it does, and the world believes it does, it nevertheless has potent effects. Indeed, because it does not exist, there is no way it can be repealed. But here, finally, he can become free.

Let's nail down how this works in Trumpworld.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:49 pm

C.G. Jung

Whenever we give up, leave behind, and forget too much, there is always the danger that the things we have neglected will return with added force.


Among other things, count on it.

Life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome. Its true life is invisible, hidden in the rhizome. The part that appears above ground lasts only a single summer. Then it withers away—an ephemeral apparition. When we think of the unending growth and decay of life and civilizations, we cannot escape the impression of absolute nullity. Yet I have never lost a sense of something that lives and endures underneath the eternal flux. What we see is the blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains.

I know, let's call this the "soul".

Space flights are merely an escape, a fleeing away from oneself, because it is easier to go to Mars or to the moon than it is to penetrate one's own being.

A hell of a lot easier.

Every man carries within himself the eternal image of woman, not the image of this or that particular woman, but a definite feminine image. This image is fundamentally unconscious, a hereditary factor of primordial origin.

He wondered: Why doesn't it work that way for every woman?

I have treated many hundreds of patients. Among those in the second half of life - that is to say, over 35 - there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life. It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living religions of every age have given their followers, and none of them has really been healed who did not regain his religious outlook.

The secular rendition being an ideology of course.

I have always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way.

Imagine him now in Trumpworld.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:38 am

Allen Ginsberg

Not even the human
imagination satisfies
the endless emptiness of the soul.


That's only natural. If that is only natural.

The universe is mad, slightly mad.

That's only natural. If that is only natural.

he threw up his hands
and wrote the Universe dont exist
and died to prove it


What to make of all this then?

The typewriter is holy the poem is holy the voice is holy the hearers are holy the ecstacy is holy!

Must be a poet thing.

Many seek and never see,
anyone can tell them why.
O they weep and O they cry
and never take until they try
unless they try it in their sleep
and never some until they die.
I ask many, they ask me.
This is a great mystery.


Not only that, but all the shit you've got to endure.

What came is gone forever every time

And, eventually, what's to come.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:54 pm

Ali Smith

We do treat books surprisingly lightly in contemporary culture. We’d never expect to understand a piece of music on one listen, but we tend to believe we’ve read a book after reading it just once.


Or just skimming through the Cliffs Notes edition.

When you've nothing, at least you've all of it.

Perhaps, but why does that matter?

That's the thing about things. They fall apart, always have, always will, it's in their nature.

If only since the beginning of time.

Who's that?
(Silence.)
Who's there?
(Silence.)
God?
Not exactly.
Well, who?
Where do I start? I'm the butterfly antenna. I'm the chemicals that paint's made of. I'm the person dead at the water's edge. I'm the water. I'm the edge. I'm the skin cells. I'm the smell of disinfectant. I'm that thing they rub against your mouth to moisten it, can you feel it? I'm soft. I'm hard. I'm glass. I'm sand. I'm a yellow plastic bottle. I'm all the plastics in the seas and in the guts of all the fishes. I'm the fishes. I'm the seas. I'm molluscs in the seas. I'm the flattened-out old beer can. I'm the shopping trolley in the canal. I'm the note on the stave, the bird on the line. I'm the stave. I'm the line. I'm spiders. I'm seeds. I'm water. I'm heart. I'm the cotton of the sheet. I'm pollution. I'm a fall of horseshit on a country road a hundred years ago. I'm the fly . I haven't even started telling you what I am. I'm everything that makes everything. I'm everything that unmakes everything. I'm the voice that tells no story.


Truth be told, I'm not even half that.

He was the most beautiful boy I had ever seen in my life. But he really looked like a girl. She was the most beautiful boy I’d ever seen in my life.

And simply born than way.

Words words words. Words Words words. Words words Words.

Ain't it the truth?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:47 pm

Philosophy Tweets

“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.” W.B. Yeats


Let's file this one [obviously] under, "for better or for worse".

“There is another world, but it is in this one.” W.B. Yeats

Figures, doesn't it?

“One is not rich by what one owns, but more by what one is able to do without with dignity.” Immanuel Kant

Now that's a tricky one.

“Give a man everything he wants and at that moment everything is not everything” Immanuel Kant

Has anyone here ever actually come close?

“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.” Albert Camus

Let's try again to prove this.

“Few look for truth; many prowl about for a reputation of profundity by arrogantly challenging whichever arguments are the best.” Rene Descartes

He means me, doesn't he?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:23 am

Stephen Greenblatt

The highest goal of human life is the enhancement of pleasure and the reduction of pain.


Though not necessarily in that order. And you know what that means.

I am committed by trade to urging people to attend carefully to the verbal surfaces of what they read. Much of the pleasure and interest of poetry depends on such attention.

Right, the "verbal surfaces".

What was ridiculous about Christianity, from the perspective of a cultivated pagan, was not only its language—the crude style of the Gospels’ Greek resting on the barbarous otherness of Hebrew and Aramaic—but also its exaltation of divine humiliation and pain conjoined with an arrogant triumphalism.

On the other hand, why even stop there?

Something happened in the Renaissance, something that surged up against the constraints that centuries had constructed around curiosity, desire, individuality, sustained attention to the material world, the claims of the body.

And look at it all now. Among other things, we call it "late capitalism".

Acediosus, sometimes translated as “apathetic,” refers to an illness, specific to monastic communities, which had already been brilliantly diagnosed in the late fourth century by the Desert Father John Cassian. The monk in the grip of acedia would find it difficult or impossible to read. Looking away from his book, he might try to distract himself with gossip but would more likely glance in disgust at his surroundings and at his fellow monks. He would feel that things were better somewhere else, that he was wasting his life, that everything was stale and pointless, that he was suffocating.

Clearly there is a secular rendition too.

The weariest and most loathèd worldly life
That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment
Can lay on nature is a paradise
To what we fear of death.


Who cares what it means when you know it's true.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:19 pm

Ben Goldacre

Most people know what constitutes a healthy diet already. If you want to make money out of it, you have to make a space for yourself in the market, and to do this, you must overcomplicate it, attach your own dubious stamp.


My guess: This works.

In medicine, brand identities are irrelevant, and there’s a factual, objective answer to whether one drug is the most likely to improve a patient’s pain, suffering and longevity. Marketing, therefore, one might argue, exists for no reason other than to pervert evidence-based decision-making in medicine.

My guess: This works.

My basic hypothesis is this: the people who run the media are humanities graduates with little understanding of science, who wear their ignorance as a badge of honour. Secretly, deep down, perhaps they resent the fact that they have denied themselves access to the most significant developments in the history of Western thought from the past two hundred years; but there is an attack implicit in all media coverage of science: in their choice of stories, and the way they cover them, the media create a parody of science. On this template, science is portrayed as groundless, incomprehensible, didactic truth statements from scientists, who themselves are socially powerful, arbitrary, unelected authority figures. They are detached from reality; they do work that is either wacky or dangerous, but either way, everything in science is tenuous, contradictory, probably going to change soon and, most ridiculously, ‘hard to understand’. Having created this parody, the commentariat then attack it, as if they were genuinely critiquing what science is all about. Science stories generally fall into one of three categories: the wacky stories, the ‘breakthrough’ stories, and the ‘scare’ stories. Each undermines and distorts science in its own idiosyncratic way.

And that's before [way before] we get to the part played by the media industrial complex in sustaining crony capitalism.

Problems in medicine do not mean that homeopathic sugar pills work; just because there are problems with aircraft design, that doesn't mean that magic carpets really fly.

Maybe, but millions of dollars are being made.

Some have estimated that the pharmaceutical industry overall spends about twice as much on marketing and promotion as it does on research and development.

I suspect it is even worse for, say, the car insurance industry. Flo and all the rest of them bombard us daily.

Today, scientists and doctors find themselves outnumbered and outgunned by vast armies of individuals who feel entitled to pass judgment on matters of evidence—an admirable aspiration—without troubling themselves to obtain a basic understanding of the issues.

Let's file this one under, "show me the money!"
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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