a thread for mundane ironists

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:23 pm

Bernard Malamud

But she had recently come to think that in such unhappy times--when the odds were so high against personal happiness--to find love was miraculous, and to fulfill it as best two people could was what really mattered.


Okay, okay, but why do they keep rubbing it in? Unless perhaps that's my own doing.

He remembered how satisfied he had been as a youngster, and that with the little he had had - a dog, a stick, an aloneness he loved (which did not bleed him like his later loneliness), and he wished he could have lived longer in his boyhood. This was an old thought with him.

Me too. And it's not getting any younger.

In my dreams I ate and I ate my dreams.

I know: What would Freud say?

A meshummed gives up one God for another. I don't want either. We live in a world where the clock ticks fast while he's on his timeless mountain staring in space. He doesn't see us and he doesn't care.

But not your God, right?

She is not for you. She is a wild one--wild, without shame. This is not a bride for a rabbi.

Or, for that matter, any ecclesiastic.

I am somewhat of a meliorist. That is to say, I act as an optimist because I find I cannot act at all, as a pessimist. One often feels helpless in the face of the confusion of these times, such a mass of apparently uncontrollable events and experiences to live through, attempt to understand, and if at all possible, give order to; but one must not withdraw from the task if he has some small things to offer - he does so at the risk of diminishing his humanity.

Instead, I withdrew from the task. Unless you count this.
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 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:45 pm

David Byrne

There’s a biological basis for music, and that biological basis is the similarity between music and speech, said Purves. That’s the reason we like music. Music is far more complex than the ratios of Pythagoras. The reason doesn’t have to do with mathematics, it has to do with biology.


Like that explains...what exactly?

I also realized that there were lots of unacknowledged theater forms going on all around. Our lives are filled with performances that have been so woven into our daily routine that the artificial and performative aspect has slipped into invisibility.

Let's file this one under "the games we play".
If only more or less self-consciously.


It was rumored that the length of the CD was determined by the duration of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, because that was Norio Ohga's favorite piece of music, and he was the president of Sony at the time. Philips had designed a CD with an 11.5 cm diameter, but Ohga insisted that a disc must be able to hold the entire Beethoven recording. The longest recording of the symphony in Polygram's archive was 74 minutes, so the CD size was increased to 12 cm diameter to accommodate the extra data.

Actually, I didn't know that.

I welcome the liberation of music from the prison of melody, rigid structure, and harmony. Why not? But I also listen to music that does adhere to those guidelines. Listening to the Music of the Spheres might be glorious, but I crave a concise song now and then, a narrative or a snapshot more than a whole universe. I can enjoy a movie or read a book in which nothing much happens, but I'm deeply conservative as well—if a song establishes itself within a pop genre, then I listen with certain expectations. I can become bored more easily by a pop song that doesn't play by its own rules than by a contemporary composition that is repetitive and static. I like a good story and I also like staring at the sea—do I have to choose between the two?

Let's file this one under, "you think too much." Or, sure, maybe not.

Recordings aren't time sensitive. You can hear the music you want whether it's morning, noon, or the middle of the night. You can "get into" clubs virtually, "sit" in concert halls you can't afford to visit, go to places that are too far away, or hear people sing about things you don't understand, about lives that are alien, sad, or wonderful. Recorded music can be ripped free from its context, for better and worse. It becomes its own context.

In other words, yet another manifestation of "I".

The mixtapes we made for ourselves were musical mirrors. The sadness, anger, or frustration you might be feeling at a given time could be encapsulated in the song selection. You made mixtapes that corresponded to emotional states, and they'd be available to pop into the deck when each feeling needed reinforcing or soothing. The mixtape was your friend, your psychiatrist, and your solace.

Let's just say this: not me. I never matched the music to my mood, but let the music create the mood itself. Very hard to explain though.
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 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:24 pm

Alan Moore

Reality, at first glance, is a simple thing: the television speaking to you now is real. Your body sunk into that chair in the approach to midnight, a clock ticking at the threshold of awareness. All the endless detail of a solid and material world surrounding you. These things exist. They can be measured with a yardstick, a voltammeter, a weighing scale. These things are real. Then there’s the mind, half-focused on the TV, the settee, the clock. This ghostly knot of memory, idea and feeling that we call ourself also exists, though not within the measurable world our science may describe.

Consciousness is unquantifiable, a ghost in the machine, barely considered real at all, though in a sense this flickering mosaic of awareness is the only true reality that we can ever know. The Here-and-Now demands attention, is more present to us. We dismiss the inner world of our ideas as less important, although most of our immediate physical reality originated only in the mind. The TV, sofa, clock and room, the whole civilisation that contains them once were nothing save ideas.

Material existence is entirely founded on a phantom realm of mind, whose nature and geography are unexplored. Before the Age of Reason was announced, humanity had polished strategies for interacting with the world of the imaginary and invisible: complicated magic-systems; sprawling pantheons of gods and spirits, images and names with which we labelled powerful inner forces so that we might better understand them. Intellect, Emotion and Unconscious Thought were made divinities or demons so that we, like Faust, might better know them; deal with them; become them.

Ancient cultures did not worship idols. Their god-statues represented ideal states which, when meditated constantly upon, one might aspire to. Science proves there never was a mermaid, blue-skinned Krishna or a virgin birth in physical reality. Yet thought is real, and the domain of thought is the one place where gods inarguably ezdst, wielding tremendous power. If Aphrodite were a myth and Love only a concept, then would that negate the crimes and kindnesses and songs done in Love’s name? If Christ were only ever fiction, a divine Idea, would this invalidate the social change inspired by that idea, make holy wars less terrible, or human betterment less real, less sacred?

The world of ideas is in certain senses deeper, truer than reality; this solid television less significant than the Idea of television. Ideas, unlike solid structures, do not perish. They remain immortal, immaterial and everywhere, like all Divine things. Ideas are a golden, savage landscape that we wander unaware, without a map.

Be careful: in the last analysis, reality may be exactly what we think it is.


Besides, as often as not, we act as though it is. And that's what generates, among other things, consequences.

Tis Dante I prefer. In his Inferno he suggests the one true path from Hell lies at its very heart...and that in order to escape, we must instead go further in.

He thought: This makes about as much sense as believing that there is a Hell.

Oh, they said God was dead, all those beatniks and snooty-ass Frenchmen. Not me. I knew better. I said to them, "Wait, boys! Don't break cover yet awhile. He might be faking. I mean, they thought Saddam was dead. And the novel. And Glenn Close in that last scene of Fatal Attraction." That's what I said. But did they listen? Ohh no. They went right ahead and organized God's funeral. Well, don't count your chickens before they come home to roost...

You know, if He did once in fact actually exist.

Murder, other than in the most strict forensic sense, is never soluble. That dark human clot can never melt into a lucid, clear suspension. Our detective fiction tells us otherwise: everything is just meat and cold ballistics. Provide a murderer, a motive and a means, and you have solved the crime. Using this method, the solution to the Second World War is as follows: Hitler. The German economy. Tanks. Thus, for convenience, we reduce the complex events.

In other words, let's go deeper than how or who or where or when; let's figure out [once and for all] why.

To my mind, this embracing of what were unambiguously children's characters at their mid-20th century inception seems to indicate a retreat from the admittedly overwhelming complexities of modern existence. It looks to me very much like a significant section of the public, having given up on attempting to understand the reality they are actually living in, have instead reasoned that they might at least be able to comprehend the sprawling, meaningless, but at-least-still-finite 'universes' presented by DC or Marvel Comics. I would also observe that it is, potentially, culturally catastrophic to have the ephemera of a previous century squatting possessively on the cultural stage and refusing to allow this surely unprecedented era to develop a culture of its own, relevant and sufficient to its times.

In other words [perhaps] fuck them and the superheroes they rode in on.

Without my face, nobody knows. Nobody knows who I am.

But: don't stop with them.
If you know what I mean.
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 Mar 25, 2017 7:13 pm

Jonathan Safran Foer

What do babies dream of? She must be dreaming of the before-life, just as I dream of the afterlife.


Nope, never once dreamed of the afterlife. How about you?

Almost always when I told someone I was writing a book about "eating animals", they assumed, even without knowing anything about my views, that it was a case for vegetarianism. It's a telling assumption, one that implies not only that a thorough inquiry into animal agriculture would lead one away from eating meat, but that most people already know that to be the case.

Not counting chickens of course. And certainly not fish.

One of the greatest opportunities to live our values---or betray them---lies in the food we put on our plates.

Clearly then you are either one of us [the good people] or one of them [the bad].

She repeats things until they are true, or until she can't tell whether they are true or not. She has become an expert at confusing what is with what was with what should be with what could be.

She ought to run for president.

If the sun were to explode, you wouldn't even know about it for 8 minutes because thats how long it takes for light to travel to us. For eight minutes the world would still be bright and it would still feel warm.

So, for all we know, it has already exploded.

We had everything to say to each other, but no ways to say it.

Or [if you're a Kid]: We had nothing to say to each other, but lots of ways to say it.
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 Mar 25, 2017 11:26 pm

Haruki Murakami

If you try to use your head to think about things, people don't want to have anything to do with you.


And not just here.

The fact that I’m me and no one else is one of my greatest assets.

You know, when it's not one of your greatest liabilities.

Huge organizations and me don't get along. They're too inflexible, waste too much time, and have too many stupid people.

Not unlike most small organizations.

People have their own reasons for dying. It might look simple, but it never is...The human mind dwells deep in darkness. Only the person himself knows the real reason, and maybe not even then.

Okay, I'll explain to you what that means if you'll at least admit it's true.

Listen, Kafka. What you’re experiencing now is the motif of many Greek tragedies. Man doesn’t choose fate. Fate chooses man. That’s the basic worldview of Greek drama. And the sense of tragedy—according to Aristotle—comes, ironically enough, not from the protagonist’s weak points but from his good qualities. Do you know what I’m getting at? People are drawn deeper into tragedy not by their defects but by their virtues. Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex being a great example. Oedipus is drawn into tragedy not because of laziness or stupidity, but because of his courage and honesty. So an inevitable irony results.

Fate chooses man. But only if, for example, you let it.

Forgive me for stating the obvious, but the world is made up of all kinds of people.

Let's decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
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 Mar 26, 2017 7:12 pm

Thornton Wilder

Wherever you come near the human race there’s layers and layers of nonsense.


That and objectivism. Nonsense on steroids as it were.

Either we live by accident and die by accident, or we live by plan and die by plan.

Unless perhaps it's a hopelessly convoluted agglomeration of both.

This assumption that she need look for no more devotion now that her beauty had passed proceeded from the fact that she had never realized any love save love as passion. Such love, though it expends itself in generosity and thoughtfulness, though it give birth to visions and to great poetry, remains among the sharpest expressions of self-interest. Not until it has passed through a long servitude, through its own self-hatred, through mockery, through great doubts, can it take its place among the loyalties. Many who have spent a lifetime in it can tell us less of love than the child that lost a dog yesterday.

Me? Well, what I can tell you about it is even less than that.

Choose the least important day in your life. It will be important enough.

If only literally.

...That's what it was to be alive. To move about in a cloud of ignorance; to go up and down trampling on the feelings of those about you. To spend and waste time as though you had a million years. To be always at the mercy of one self-centered passion, or another.

And not just in our town.

It’s when you’re safe at home that you wish you were having an adventure. When you’re having an adventure you wish you were safe at home.

You know, when it actually is that way.
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 Mar 26, 2017 11:18 pm

Robert Penn Warren

Dying---shucks! If you kin handle the living, what's to be afraid of the dying?


Right, like that's all it takes.

Then after a long time Annie wasn’t a little girl anymore. She was a big girl and I was so much in love with her that I lived in a dream. In the dream my heart seemed to be ready to burst, for it seemed that the whole world was inside it swelling to get out and be the world. But that summer came to an end. Time passed and nothing happened that we had felt so certain at one time would happen.

This takes me all the way back to Sharon. My own Summer of 42.

Sometimes sleep gets to be a serious and complete thing. You stop going to sleep in order that you may be able to get up, but get up in order that you may be able to go back to sleep.

And that's all the difference in the world, isn't it?

...a friend of your youth is the only friend you ever have...

Of course for some of us this is actually true.

Goodness . . . You got to make it out of badness . . . Because there isn't anything else to make it out of.

Unless you forge it out of words.

I reckon I am a smart aleck, but it is just a way to pass the time.

And here I point that out all the time, don't I?
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 Mar 27, 2017 5:55 pm

Karl Popper

Always remember that it is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood: there will always be some who misunderstand you.


Of course with me [and dasein] that's the whole point, isn't it?

...whenever we propose a solution to a problem, we ought to try as hard as we can to overthrow our solution, rather than defend it. Few of us, unfortunately, practice this precept; but other people, fortunately, will supply the criticism for us if we fail to supply it ourselves.

With some, I'll even help them out.

This false epistemology, however, has also led to disastrous consequences. The theory that truth is manifest—that it is there for everyone to see, if only he wants to see it—this theory is the basis of almost every kind of fanaticism. For only the most depraved wickedness can refuse to see the manifest truth; only those who have reason to fear truth conspire to suppress it.

Clearly, he's not the first to point this out, is he? And I suspect that no one will ever be the last.

The Utopian attempt to realize an ideal state, using a blueprint of society as a whole, is one which demands a strong centralized rule of a few, and which is therefore likely to lead to a dictatorship.

Not counting the dictatorship of the proletariat. Or counting that in particular.

Learning to read, and to a lesser degree, to write, are of course the major events in one’s intellectual development. There is nothing to compare with it, since very few people -- Helen Keller is the great exception -- can remember what it meant for them to learn to speak.

Really, her story still staggers the mind.

History has no meaning.

Including this one. You know, if that makes any sense.
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 Mar 27, 2017 11:17 pm

Charles Darwin

Among the scenes which are deeply impressed on my mind, none exceed in sublimity the primeval forests undefaced by the hand of man; whether those of Brazil, where the powers of Life are predominant, or those of Tierra del Fuego, where Death and decay prevail. Both are temples filled with the varied productions of the God of Nature: -- no one can stand in these solitudes unmoved, and not feel that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body.


That was back then of course. But point taken.

But then arises the doubt, can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animal, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions?

And around and around and around we go.

I have always maintained that, excepting fools, men did not differ much in intellect, only in zeal and hard work; and I still think there is an eminently important difference.

Excepting fools. And not just the objectivists.

Man in his arrogance thinks himself a great work, worthy of the interposition of a deity. More humble, and I believe truer, to consider him created from animals.

For some, going all the way back to God.

Such simple instincts as bees making a beehive could be sufficient to overthrow my whole theory.

What we need now is someone here to explain that.

What wretched doings come from the ardor of fame; the love of truth alone would never make one man attack another bitterly.

And then there's the part about the money. Nowadays in particular.
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 Mar 28, 2017 5:51 pm

Thomas Hobbes

... it is one thing to desire, another to be in capacity fit for what we desire.


Among other things, that can make all the difference in the world.

God put me on this Earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I'm so far behind that I'll never die.

So, is he still around?

The universe, the whole mass of things that are, is corporeal, that is to say, body, and hath the dimensions of magnitude, length, breadth and depth. Every part of the universe is ‘body’ and that which is not ‘body’ is no part of the universe, and because the universe is all, that which is no part of it is nothing, and consequently nowhere.

One word: mind.

To this war of every man against every man, this also in consequent; that nothing can be unjust.

And that's right around the corner from beyond good and evil.

Another doctrine repugnant to civil society, is that whatsoever a man does against his conscience, is sin; and it dependeth on the presumption of making himself judge of good and evil.

One word: dasein.

War consisteth not in battle only, or the act of fighting; but in a tract of time, wherein the will to contend by battle is sufficiently known.

So, are those terrorists still around?
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 Mar 28, 2017 7:03 pm

Jan Mieszkowski

Being a philosopher doesn't excuse you from having to say "I don't know," but it means that you can say it with pride rather than shame.


I don't know about that, right?

A Brief History of Epistemology
1) God knows all
2) I know God
3) I know me
4) I don't know God
5) I don't know me
6) Knowledge is stupid


Just one step to go...

Don't let anyone tell you that left-wing Hegelianism is a thing of the past.

So, you can just ignore me too.

John: In the beginning was the word
Goethe: In the beginning was the deed
Hegel: In the beginning was the end
Twitter: [no more characters]


Let's take a stab at what it will be next. The part about Trump, for example.

Brief History of Justice
1) An eye for an eye
2) Might makes right
3) Due process
4) Pay as you go
5) An eye for an eye


You know, roughly.

A Brief History of Philosophy
1) Self
2) Other
3) The Self's Other
4) The Other's Other Self
5) Self as neither Self nor Other
6) Selfie


And not just in a technical sense.
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 Mar 28, 2017 11:19 pm

Jean Baudrillard

Everywhere one seeks to produce meaning, to make the world signify, to render it visible. We are not, however, in danger of lacking meaning; quite the contrary, we are gorged with meaning and it is killing us.


I know, let's go to war over it. And, sure, maybe make a bundle on the side.

…sense of futility that comes from doing anything merely to prove to yourself that you can do it: having a child, climbing a mountain, making some sexual conquest, committing suicide.

Waiting for godot.

Imagine the amazing good fortune of the generation that gets to see the end of the world.

True, but there are other ways to look it at. There must be.

Never resist a sentence you like, in which language takes its own pleasure and in which, after having abused it for so long, you are stupefied by its innocence.

Nope, haven't come across one of them yet. Although I'm sure that I must have.

Philosophy leads to death, sociology leads to suicide.

Well, as long as we're out of here.

Postmodernity is said to be a culture of fragmentary sensations, eclectic nostalgia, disposable simulacra, and promiscuous superficiality, in which the traditionally valued qualities of depth, coherence, meaning, originality, and authenticity are evacuated or dissolved amid the random swirl of empty signals.

That's what it is alright. But not just academically.
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 » Wed Mar 29, 2017 6:45 pm

Shirley Jackson

I decided that I would choose three powerful words, words of strong protection, and so long as these great words were never spoken aloud no change would come.


I suspect there's not much science behind it.

She brought herself away from the disagreeably clinging thought by her usual method - imagining the sweet sharp sensation of being burned alive.

Me, I just conjure up objectivists. You know the ones.

Where did he go, your father?
Africa.
What for?
To shoot lions, of course.
What on Earth for? said Mrs. Willow blankly.
Some people shoot lions, the girl said pleasantly, and some people do not shoot lions. My father is one of the people who do.


And then of course there are those that don't, but would if they could.

I shall commence, I think, with a slight exaggeration and go on from there into an outright lie.

You know, like Trump.
Sure, and all the rest of them.


To learn what we fear is to learn who we are.

They do kind of tag along.

In my own experience, contacts with the big world outside the typewriter are puzzling and terrifying; I don’t think I like reality very much. Principally, I don’t understand people outside; people in books are sensible and reasonable, but outside there is no predicting what they will do.

Not only that but how dare they!
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 » Wed Mar 29, 2017 8:28 pm

tiny nietzsche

If you love postmodernism, set it free. If it comes back, doubt its sincerity.


What if it only sort of, almost, nearly comes back?

fuck 'em, danno

And not just in Hawaii.

Maybe she was born with it. Maybe it slowly shifted into place like continental drift.

Not only that, but maybe he was born with it.

I'm off to see a man about a hearse.

Or an urn.

New research says I don't exist, but even if I did, so what?

Let's file this one under "covering all bases".

trump: pass my healthcare bill
congress: fuck you
trump: fuck me? fuck me? yeah well fuck you
congress: no fuck you
trump: you fucking fucks


Then it's off to play a round of golf.
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 » Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:17 pm

Stieg Larsson

No, I don't believe in God, but I respect the fact that you do. Everyone has to have something to believe in.


That's what you're supposed to say, isn't it?

...One of them is that a bastard is always a bastard and if I can hurt a bastard by digging up shit about him, then he deserves it.

For some that being the least of it.

It did no good to cry, she had learned that early on. She had also learned that every time she tried to make someone aware of something in her life, the situation just got worse. Consequently it was up to her to solve her problems by herself, using whatever methods she deemed necessary.

Believe it or not, some will go all the way to the grave and never figure this out.

Salander's greatest fear, which was so huge and so black that it was of phobic proportions, was that people would laugh at her feelings. And all of a sudden all her carefully constructed self-confidence seemed to crumble.

Go ahead, try to bring mine tumbling down.

If love is liking someone an awful lot, then I suppose I'm in love with several people.

Though not in love with a hell of a lot more.

Men could be as big as a house and made of granite, but they all had balls in the same place.

And [conveniently] smack dab in the middle.
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 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 5:58 pm

Stephen Fry

'Could do better’ is a meaningless conclusion. ‘Could be happier’ is the only one that counts.


Beyond good and evil even.

It can come a bit hard sometimes to see one's own unique, heroic life pinned so pitilessly to a wall. At other times it can endorse, affirm and save, but as I go clowning my sentimental way into eternity, wrestling with all my problems of estrangement and acquiescence, I shuttle between worrying whether I matter at all and whether anything else matters at all but me.

Let's file this one under, "you might as well just flip a coin".

It is perfectly possible to live a life from cradle to grave that is entirely dishonest.One might never reveal one's true identity, the yearnings and cravings of one's innermost self, even to the most intimate circle of family and friends; never really speak the truth to anyone. Priests and psychotherapists may believe that the confessional-box or the analysis session reveals truths, but you know and I know and every human being knows that we lie all the time to all the world. Lying is as much a part of us as wearing clothes. Indeed Man's first act in Eden was to give names to everything on earth, our first act of possession and falsehood was to take away a stone's right to be a stone by imprisoning it with the name "stone". There are in reality, as Fenellosa said, no nouns in the universe. Man's next great act was to cover himself up. We have been doing so ever since. We feel that our true identities shame us. Lying is a deep part of us. TO take it away is to make us something less than, not more than, human.

With any luck it's all genetic. Beyond our control in other words.

Mankind can live free in a society hemmed in by laws, but we have yet to find a historical example of mankind living free in lawless anarchy.

Tell that to Joker.

Jo Wood was sound, sound as a bell. Solid, cynical, amused and occasionally amusing, he did not appear to be very intelligent, and unlike Richard Fawcett and me, seemed uninterested in words, ideas and the world. But one day he said to me:
I’ve got it now. It’s reading isn’t it?
I’m sorry?
You read a lot, don’t you? That’s where it all comes from. Reading. Yeah, reading.
The next time I saw him he had a Herman Hesse novel in his hands. I never saw him again without a book somewhere on his person. When I heard, some years later, that he had got into Cambridge I thought to myself, I know how that happened. He decided one day to read.


Of course you can take this too far, can't you?

The only reason people do not know much is because they do not care to know.

And they certainly don't care about that.
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 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:31 pm

Melissa Broder

There aren’t many ways to find comfort in this world. We must take it where we can get it, even in the darkest, most disgusting places. Nobody asks to be born. No one signs a form that says, You have my permission to make me exist. Babies are born, because parents feel that they themselves are not enough. So, parents, never condemn us for trying to fill our existential holes, when we are but the fruit of your own vain attempts to fill yours. It’s your fault we’re here to deal with the void in the first place.


Let's file this one under, "whine, whine, whine".

I fear others will discover that I am not only imperfect; I’m not even okay. I fear that I truly am not okay. But most people who meet me never know that I am struggling. On the outside I am smiling. I am juggling all the balls of okayness: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, existential. Underneath, I am suffocating.

On the other hand, maybe she's not just a loser.

It seems weird to me that here we are, alive, not knowing why we are alive, and just going about our business, sort of ignoring that fact. How are we all not looking at each other all the time just like, Yo, what the fuck?

I know, let's invent the gods.

Here's why I'm afraid of life after death: What if there is no nicotine gum?

He wondered: Can you smoke in Heaven?

There would never be enough milk. One titty is too many and a thousand are never enough. What I really sought was a cosmic titty. I sought a titty so omniscient it could sate all my holes.

But what if it's not nonsense?

Have you ever noticed that your job performance or productivity suffers because of the time spent online?

On the other hand, isn't that what work is for?
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 » Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:47 pm

Liane Moriarty

Everyone had another sort of life up their sleeve that might have made them happy.


He wondered: what happened to mine?

She’d never really believed in it before. Then, as she hit her late thirties, her body said, OK, you don’t believe in PMS? I’ll show you PMS. Get a load of this, bitch. Now, for one day every month, she had to fake everything: her basic humanity, her love for her children, her love for Ed. She’d once been appalled to hear of women claiming PMS as a defense for murder. Now she understood. She could happily murder someone today! In fact, she felt like there should be some sort of recognition for her remarkable strength of character that she didn’t.

Of course most men still don't believe in it.

Was there anything better than to be wanted? Was that all anyone really needed?

For some sure, that's all they need. For others though [like me] it's to be left alone.

That's what's so embarrassing about all this. Each time I sobbed for a lost baby, it was like sobbing over the end of a relationship when I'd never even gone out with the guy. My babies weren't babies. They were just microscopic clusters of cells that weren't ever going to be anything else. they were just my own desperate hopes. Dream babies. And people have to give up on dreams.

Rationalizations. There must be trillions and trillions of them by now.

The suffragettes didn't starve themselves for the vote, so that you girls could starve yourselves for a man.

Do girls still do that?

The words "I'm sorry" felt like an insult. You said "I'm sorry" when you bumped against someone's supermarket [cart]. There need to be bigger words.

On the other hand, nowadays you're lucky to get any reaction at all.
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 » Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:24 pm

Nikos Kazantzakis

I felt deep within me that the highest point a man can attain is not Knowledge, or Virtue, or Goodness, or Victory, but something even greater, more heroic and more despairing: Sacred Awe!


He's kidding, right?

To think things out properly and fairly, a fellow's got to be calm and old and toothless: When you're an old gaffer with no teeth, it's easy to say: 'Damn it, boys, you mustn't bite!' But, when you've got all thirty-two teeth...

There's an important truth in there somewhere. Let's find it.

Never in my life have I feared death as much as I feared that resurrection.

Of course, others are willing to take their chances.

If the soul within us does not change, Judas, the world outside us will never change. The enemy is within, the Romans are within, salvation starts from within!

Instead, Judas does God's bidding.
I mean, that's what he did, right?


I knew that over and above the truth, there exists another duty which is much more important and much more human.

And then there are the fools who claim to have found it.

I am not tired, but the night is coming.

Uh-oh.
If you know what I mean.
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 Apr 01, 2017 7:12 pm

Jeanette Winterson

I dreamed I was a single moment in a single day. A note struck and vanished. A sounding. A reckoning. Gone.


On the other hand, going all the way back to the Big Bang, how far removed is any one particular human life from that?

I didn't want to be in the teeming mass of the working class. I didn't want to live and die in the same place with only a week at the seaside in between. I dreamed of escape - but what is terrible about industrialisation is that it makes escape necessary. In a system that generates masses, individualism is the only way out. But then what happens to community - to society?

Pick three:
1] pop culture
2] mindless consumption
3] worshipping celebrities

Oh, and don't forget to vote!


Like all familiar objects, it had become invisible.

I know: If only that were actually true.

The pursuit of happiness isn't all or nothing--- it's all and nothing.

About fifty-fifty I reckon.

The truth is that love smashes into your life like an ice floe, and even if your heart is built like the Titanic you go down. That's the size of it, the immensity of it. It's not proper, it's not clean, it's not containable.

You know what's coming: "So they tell me".

I'm telling you stories. Trust me.

In other words, it's now entirely up to you to differentiate them from lies.
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 Apr 01, 2017 8:37 pm

Olivia Dresher

What can't be said is most everything.


Though enough can be said to get by.

"Why?" comes right before silence.

I know: If only that were actually true. Here, for example.

"We know less when we erroneously think we know than when we recognize that we don’t." -- Rebecca Solnit

I think that's true. Unless of course it's not.

There is more truth to be found in going slower and slower and slower than going faster and faster and faster...

Of course we'll need an actual context.

"Men are not afraid of women the way women are afraid of men." Isabelle Huppert

It's not even close more often than not.

Perfection is simply what is.

Either that or simply what you think it is.
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 Apr 01, 2017 11:22 pm

Ernest Hemingway

There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.


It is after all a man's world. Well, not counting all the parts that aren't.

So this was how you died, in whispers that you did not hear.

Well, not counting all the other ways.

Don't you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you're not taking advantage of it? Do you realize you've lived nearly half the time you have to live already?
Yes, every once in a while.
Do you know that in abou thirty- five more years we'll be dead?
What the hell, Robert, I said. What the hell.
I'm serious.
It's one thig I don't worry about, I said.
You ought to.
I've had plenty to worry about one time or other. I'm through worrying.
Well, I want to go to South America.
Listen, Robert, going to another country doesn't make any difference. I've tried all that. You can't get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. There's nothing to that.
But you've never been to South America.
South America hell! If you went there the way you feel now it would be exactly the same. This is a good town. Why don't you start living your life in Paris?


Trust me: It's exactly the same in Baltimore.

Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.

That's how it works alright.

War is not won by victory.

That sounds about right. Or, sure, maybe not.

There are many who do not know they are fascists but will find it out when the time comes.

For example, at the impeachment hearings.
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 Apr 02, 2017 7:28 pm

Bernard Malamud

There comes a time in a man's life when to get where he has to -- if there are no doors or windows -- he walks through a wall.


Nope, no videos on youtube yet.

They say God appeared in history and used it for his purposes, but if that was so he had no pity for men.

Well, they say a lot of things. Like we do.

It was a strange thing about people---they could look the same but be different.

Or: It was a strange thing about people---they could look so very, very different but act exactly the same.

Without heroes, we are all plain people and don't know how far we can go.

Without villains too.

...will you please explain how you can cry for a dead dog yet belong to a society of fanatics that urges death on human beings who happen to be Jews? Explain to me the logic of it.

First, you define what the Jews are. The logic then follows. Right, James?

Since I can’t be a professional on account of lack of education I wouldn’t mind being wealthy.

Well, that's what the state lotteries are for.
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 Apr 02, 2017 11:39 pm

David Byrne

At that time, American radio was a cauldron if impassioned voices—live preachers, talk-show hosts, and salesmen. The radio was shouting at you, pleading with you, and seducing you.


"At that time" meaning all the time of course.

Maybe the difference between speech and music isn't all that great. We infer a lot from the tone of someone's voice, so imagine that aspect of speech pushed just a little further. The weird cadences of a Valley girl, for instance, might be viewed as a species of singing. The malls of Sherman Oaks are a setting for a kind of massed choir.

But sure: Maybe not.

The online music magazine Pitchfork once wrote that I would collaborate with anyone for a bag of Doritos.

I'm sure they were only being ironic.

There's a good chance that you might be inspired by ideas that originate outside of yourself.

Just not mine, right?

Complete freedom is as much curse as boon; freedom within strict and well-defined confines is, to me, ideal.

Let's pin this down. Or not as it were.

I’d argue that contemporary hip-hop is written to be heard in cars with systems like the one below. The massive volume seems to be more about sharing your music with everyone, gratis!

In other words, whether they want to hear it or not.
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 Apr 03, 2017 5:52 pm

Michael Lewis

Those who know don't tell and those who tell don't know.


Uh, what exactly?

What are the odds that people will make smart decisions about money if they don't need to make smart decisions---if they can get rich making dumb decisions? The incentives on Wall Street were all wrong; they're still all wrong.

Right, tell that to the 1%.

He was ignorant, but a lot of people mistook ignorance for stupidity...

But not here, right?

The lesson of Buffett was: To succeed in a spectacular fashion you had to be spectacularly unusual.

Either that or inherit it from Mom and Dad.

The CDO was, in effect, a credit laundering service for the residents of Lower Middle Class America. For Wall Street it was a machine that turned lead into gold.

CDO! Remember that:

A collateralized debt obligation (CDO) is so-called because the pooled assets – such as mortgages, bonds and loans – are essentially debt obligations that serve as collateral for the CDO. The tranches in a CDO vary substantially in their risk profile.


In Bakersfield, California, a Mexican strawberry picker with an income of $14,000 and no English was lent every penny he needed to buy a house for $724,000.

Gee, I wonder who owns the house now?
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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