a thread for mundane ironists

This is the place to shave off that long white beard and stop being philosophical; a forum for members to just talk like normal human beings.

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:09 pm

Jeanette Winterson

It is a true saying, that what you fear you find.


Or, more often than not, it finds you.

The Hopi, an Indian tribe, have a language as sophisticated as ours, but no tenses for past, present and future. The division does not exist. What does this say about time?

There's still a time for them to be born and a time for them to die. And a time to do all that other shit inbetween. Just like the rest of us.

I've lived my life like a serial killer; finish with one part, strangle it and move on to the next. Life in neat little boxes is life in neat little coffins, the dead bodies of the past laid out side by side. I am discovering, now, in the late afternoon of the day, that the dead still speak.

Glum, sure, but glum enough?

Pain is very often a maimed creature without a mouth.

So we scream for it.

One thing I am certain of, I do not want to be betrayed, but that's quite hard to say casually, at the beginning of a relationship. It’s not a word people use very often, which confuses me, because there are different kinds of infidelity, but betrayal is betrayal wherever you find it. By betrayal, I mean promising to be on your side, and then being on somebody else’s.

Especially if that was the plan right from the beginning.

It doesn't have to be like that but mostly it is.

And even when it's not it mostly feels 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 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:09 pm

so sad today

my favorite people are the ones who don't exist


And, in fact, never did.

look, i hate myself as much as the next guy

I know, I know: but not as much as you do.

do you feel me thinking about you

Nope, I don't either.

what the fuck is everything

And let's not forget everything else.

doing stuff that isn't sleeping is hard

You know, if you can sleep at all.

you had me at suicide pact

Go ahead though, it might work with me.
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 Feb 22, 2017 12:17 am

Ernest Hemingway

Go all the way with it. Do not back off. For once, go all the goddamn way with what matters.


On the other hand, here in particular, one size doesn't fit all.

She was looking into my eyes with that way she had of looking that made you wonder whether she really saw out of her own eyes. They would look on and on after every one else's eyes in the world would have stopped looking. She looked as though there were nothing on earth she would not look at like that, and really she was afraid of so many things.

I know that look. Unless, of course, I don't.

There will always be people who say it does not exist because they cannot have it. But I tell you it is true and that you have it and that you are lucky even if you die tomorrow.

On the other hand, I know it doesn't exist because I have it.

Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.

Let's file this one [clearly] under "easier said than done".
Well, most of it.


It's harder to write in the third person but the advantage is you move around better.

Works the same when you read in third person. You know, if that's possible.

He was just a coward and that was the worst luck any man could have.

Of course in the Army, they ordered me to be brave. And I had the medals to prove 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 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:09 pm

Thomas Nagel

I believe that the methods needed to understand ourselves do not yet exist. So this book contains a great deal of speculation about the world and how we fit into it. Some of it will seem wild, but the world is a strange place, and nothing but radical speculation gives us a hope of coming up with any candidates for the truth. That, of course, is not the same as coming up with the truth: if truth is our aim, we must be resigned to achieving it to a very limited extent, and without certainty. To redefine the aim so that its achievement is largely guaranteed, through various forms of reductionism, relativism, or historicisim, is a form of cognitive wish-fulfillment. Philosophy cannot take refuge in reduced ambitions. It is after eternal and nonlocal truth, even though we know that it is not what we are going to get.


What a damn fool, right, Mr. Objectivist?

The place at which the contrast between forms of intelligibility is most vividly presented is in the understanding of ourselves.

Wow, who would have thunk it?

It is not enough to be able to think that if there are logical truths, natural selection might very well have given me the capacity to recognize them. That cannot be my ground for trusting my reason, because even that thought implicitly relies on reason in a prior way.

And then it's that all the way down.

If we tried to rely entirely on reason and pressed it hard, our lives and beliefs would collapse – a form of madness that may actually occur if the inertial force of taking the world and life for granted is somehow lost. If we lose our grip on that, reason will not give it back to us.

I'm sort of saying that. I think.

I realize that such doubts will strike many people as outrageous, but that is because almost everyone in our secular culture has been browbeaten into regarding the reductive research program as sacrosanct, on the ground that anything else would not be science.

James S. Saint is sort of saying that. I think.

Even if we acknowledge the existence of distinct and irreducible perspectives, the wish for a unified conception of the world doesn’t go away. If we can’t achieve it in a form that eliminates individual perspectives, we may inquire to what extent it can be achieved if we admit them.

I know: Let's take this mystery to the grave.
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 Feb 22, 2017 10:18 pm

Philosophy Tweets

“I don't feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am.” Michel Foucault


Right, like we could anyway.

“What desire can be contrary to nature since it was given to man by nature itself?” Michel Foucault

I know: Let's not go there.

“The only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance” Albert Einstein

And then there are the Kids here: arrogantly ignorant.

"Sect and error are synonymous.” Voltaire

Their sect, in other words, not ours.

"No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.” Voltaire

If any of them do.

"If man makes himself a worm he must not complain when he is trodden on." Immanuel Kant

Yes, he really said 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 Feb 23, 2017 12:25 am

Werner Heisenberg

Revere those things beyond science which really matter and about which it is so difficult to speak.


Revere is hardly the right word though, is it?

If we wanted to construct a basic philosophical attitude from these scientific utterances of Pauli's, at first we would be inclined to infer from them an extreme rationalism and a fundamentally skeptical point of view. In reality however, behind this outward display of criticism and skepticism lay concealed a deep philosophical interest even in those dark areas of reality of the human mind which elude the grasp of reason. And while the power of fascination emanating from Pauli's analyses of physical problems was admittedly due in some measure to the detailed and penetrating clarity of his formulations, the rest was derived from a constant contact with the field of creative processes, for which no rational formulation as yet exists.

And that's before we get to the world of is/ought.

The positivists have a simple solution: the world must be divided into that which we can say clearly and the rest, which we had better pass over in silence. But can anyone conceive of a more pointless philosophy, seeing that what we can say clearly amounts to next to nothing? If we omitted all that is unclear, we would probably be left completely uninteresting and trivial tautologies.

This may well be the mother of all ironies. Or at the very least the first cousin.

The existing scientific concepts cover always only a very limited part of reality,
and the other part that has not yet been understood is infinite. Whenever we
proceed from the known into the unknown we may hope to understand, but we
may have to learn at the same time a new meaning of the word ‘understanding’.


Not even counting those [here for example] who are hell bent on actually defining it.

In classical physics, science started from the belief – or should one say, from the illusion? – that we could describe the world, or least parts of the world, without any reference to ourselves.

Or, for some, only in reference to ourselves.

The probability wave meant a tendency for something. It was a quantitative version of the old concept of "potentia" in Aristotelian philosophy. It introduced something standing in the middle between the idea of an event and the actual event, a strange kind of physical reality just in the middle between possibility and reality.

And not just sub-atomically. Whatever that means.
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 Feb 23, 2017 6:31 pm

David Byrne

Music resonates in so many parts of the brain that we can’t conceive of it being an isolated thing. It’s whom you were with, how old you were, and what was happening that day.


Or: I forgot, I forgot, I forgot.

My favorite term for a new kind of performance is "security theater." In this genre, we watch as ritualized inspections and patdowns create the illusion of security. It's a form that has become common since 9/11, and even the government agencies that participate in this activity acknowledge, off the record, that it is indeed a species of theater.

And now of course it's the security industrial complex.

I wanted to find a reason not to be cynical—to have some faith even when nothing around me seemed to justify it.

God knows if he found it.

The classical players who think all popular music is simple tend not to hear the nuances involved, so naturally they can’t play very well in that style. Simplicity is a kind of transparency in which subtle nuances can have outsize effects. When everything is visible and appears to be dumb, that’s when the details take on larger meanings.

Maybe, but I'm sticking with "different strokes for different folks".

Some of you people just about missed it...

And most of them still have.

There is always a tradeoff. As music gets disseminated, and distinct regional voices find a way to be more widely heard, certain bands and singers (who might be more creative, or possibly have just been marketed by a bigger company) begin to dominate, and peculiar regional styles—what writer Greil Marcus, echoing Harry Smith, called the “old weird America”—eventually end up getting squashed, neglected, abandoned, and often forgotten. This dissemination/homogenization process runs in all directions simultaneously; it’s not just top-down repression of individuality and peculiarity. A recording by some previously obscure backwoods or southside singer can find its way into the ear of a wide public, and an Elvis, Luiz Gonzaga, Woody Guthrie, or James Brown, can suddenly have a massive audience—what was once a local style suddenly exerts a huge influence. Pop music can be thrown off its axis by some previously unknown and talented rapper from the projects. And then the homogenization process begins again.

Sure, why 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 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:42 am

Jonathan Safran Foer

I asked him did he really love New York or was he just wearing the shirt. He smiled, like he was nervous. I could tell he didn't understand, which made me feel guilty for speaking English, for some reason. I pointed at his shirt. "Do? You? Really? Love? New York?" He said, "New York?" I said, "Your. Shirt." He looked at his shirt. I pointed at the N and said "New," and the Y and said "York." He looked confused or embarrassed, or surprised, or maybe even mad. I couldn't tell what he was feeling, because I couldn't speak the language of his feelings. "I not know was New York. In Chinese, ny mean 'you.' Thought was 'I love you.'" It was then that I noticed the "I♥NY" poster on the wall, and the "I♥NY" flag over the door, and the "I♥NY" dishtowels, and the "I♥NY" lunchbox on the kitchen table. I asked him, "Well, then why do you love everybody so much?”


Yeah, I'd like to know that myself.

Anyone who believes that a second is faster than a decade did not live life.

Maybe, but it's not completely out of the question.

I am sure people tell you this constantly but if you looked up 'incredibly beautiful' in the dictionary there would be a picture of you.

And then on to the next one...

To feel alone is to be alone.

And, then, with any luck at all, that's all it takes.

I love sushi, I love fried chicken, I love steak. But there is a limit to my love.

For vegetables say.

Anyway, the fascinating thing was that I read in National Geographic that there are more people alive now than have died in all of human history. In other words, if everyone wanted to play Hamlet at once, they couldn’t, because there aren’t enough skulls!

Fortunately, that's not likely to come up.
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 Feb 24, 2017 8:17 pm

Alan Moore

I've developed a theory that there's an inverse relationship between money and imagination. That if you've got lots of imagination then you don't really need much money, and if you've got lots of money then you won't bother with much imagination. You've got to be able to pay your bills, otherwise you're not going to sleep at night. But beyond that, the world inside my head has always been a far richer place than the world outside it. I suppose that a lot of my art and writing are meant to bring the two together.


Quite profitably as it were.

Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion; bear children, hell-bound as ourselves, go into oblivion. There is nothing else. Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us. Only us.

Pick one:
1] Rorschach
2] Rorschach
3] Rorschach
4] all of the above


I'm not exactly sure what happened. Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another. If I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!

As opposed to, say, true or false or fill in the blank.

I am tired of this world, these people. I am tired of being caught in the tangle of their lives.

Clearly one earns the right to say this.

People's lives take them strange places. They do strange things, and, well, sometimes they can't talk about them.

Here of course they never shut up. And not just the Kids.

Everybody is becoming a superhero. In the past I've tried to say, 'Look, we are all crappy superheroes,' because personal computers and mobile phone devices are things that only Bat Man and Mr Fantastic would have owned back in the sixties. We've all got this immense power and we're still sat at home watching pornography and buying scratch cards. We're rubbish, even though we are as gods.

Remember when this would actually puzzle us?
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 Feb 24, 2017 10:04 pm

Nein

It's not the end of the world. But at least it's a start.


My guess: Another allusion to Trump.

Did he know?
Duh.
That's American. For "da."


My guess: Another allusion to Trump.

Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what going out and buying Ivanka's stuff can do for your country.

Let's all pitch in, okay?

Hope in dark times: when the jokes are darker.

And occasionally even funny.

The good news: you've made it through another week. The bad news: so have the rest of us.

You spin it your way, I'll spin it mine.

A gentle reminder from Potemkin: it takes a village.

Or, at the very least, the facade of 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 » Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:17 am

Haruki Murakami

What I was chasing in circles must have been the tail of the darkness inside me.


Either that or it's chasing me.

When I was fifteen, all I wanted was to go off to some other world, a place beyond anybody’s reach. A place beyond the flow of time.
But there’s no place like that in this world.
Exactly. Which is why I’m living here, in this world where things are continually damaged, where the heart is fickle, where time flows past without a break.


Indeed, and it may well be applicable to all of us.

Symbolism and meaning are two separate things. I think she found the right words by bypassing procedures like meaning and logic. She captured words in a dream, like delicately catching hold of a butterfly’s wings as it flutters around. Artists are those who can evade the verbose.

So, does this sound like serious philosophy to you?

Let me tell you something, Mari. The ground we stand on looks solid enough, but if something happens it can drop right out from under you. And once that happens, you've had it: things'll never be the same. All you can do is go on, living alone down there in the darkness...

Various shades of, among other things, pitch black.

Some things, you know, if you say them, it makes them not true?

Sure, either that or not false.

Inside that darkness, I saw rain falling on the sea. Rain softly falling on a vast sea, with no one there to see it. The rain strikes the surface of the sea, yet even the fish don't know it is raining.

On the other hand, is it important that they do?
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 Feb 25, 2017 7:55 pm

John Locke

The Bible is one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on the children of men. It has God for its Author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture for its matter. It is all pure, all sincere; nothing too much; nothing wanting!


Maybe that's why it caught on.

What worries you, masters you.

So [naturally] I do my best to make it worry you too.

Our Business here is not to know all things, but those which concern our conduct.

Or, to put it another way, "how ought one to live?"

All wealth is the product of labor.

True, but it always sounds different when Marx says it.

Reverie is when ideas float in our mind without reflection or regard of the understanding.

Like turds as it were.

The acts of the mind, wherein it exerts its power over simple ideas, are chiefly these three: 1. Combining several simple ideas into one compound one, and thus all complex ideas are made. 2. The second is bringing two ideas, whether simple or complex, together, and setting them by one another so as to take a view of them at once, without uniting them into one, by which it gets all its ideas of relations. 3. The third is separating them from all other ideas that accompany them in their real existence: this is called abstraction, and thus all its general ideas are made.

More and/or less connected to the acts of the body.
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 Feb 26, 2017 12:19 am

Robert Penn Warren

If you could not accept the past and its burden there was no future, for without one there cannot be the other.


Let's decide the implications of this for the present.

They say you are not you except in terms of relation to other people. If there weren't any other people there wouldn't be any you because what you do, which is what you are, only has meaning in relation to other people.

That sounds familiar, doesn't it?

If something takes too long, something happens to you. You become all and only the thing you want and nothing else, for you have paid too much for it, too much in wanting and too much in waiting and too much in getting.

Of course we'll need a context, won't we?

So I pulled the sun screen down and squinted and put the throttle to the floor. And kept on moving West. For West is where we all plan to go some day. It is where you go when the land gives out and the oldfield pines encroach. It is where you go when you get the letter saying: Flee, all is discovered. It is where you go when you look down at the blade in your hand and see the blood on it. It is where you go when you are told that you are a bubble on the tide of empire. It is where you go when you hear that thar's gold in them-thar hills. It is where you go to grow up with the country. It is where you go to spend your old age. Or it is just where you go.

Or, if you are already there, East.

...a man does not die for words. He dies for his relation to them.

This and all that they're connected to down here.

Just tell 'em you're gonna soak the fat boys and forget the rest of the tax stuff. Willie, make 'em cry, make 'em laugh, make 'em mad, even mad at you. Stir them up and they'll love it and come back for more, but, for heaven's sakes, don't try to improve their minds.

And now it's Don Trump's turn.
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 Feb 26, 2017 8:54 pm

Karl Popper

We are social creatures to the inmost centre of our being. The notion that one can begin anything at all from scratch, free from the past, or unindebted to others, could not conceivably be more wrong.


In other words, our social creatures not theirs.

While differing widely in the various little bits we know, in our infinite ignorance we are all equal.

Which of course the overwhelming majority of us will promptly ignore.

The game of science is, in principle, without end. He who decides one day that scientific statements do not call for any further test, and that they can be regarded as finally verified, retires from the game.

In theory as it were.

The more we learn about the world, and the deeper our learning, the more conscious, specific, and articulate will be our knowledge of what we do not know; our knowledge of our ignorance. For this indeed, is the main source of our ignorance - the fact that our knowledge can be only finite, while our ignorance must necessarily be infinite.

Ignorance again. On the other hand, tell that to Wittgenstein and his poker.

Nature consists of facts and of regularities, and is in itself neither moral nor immoral. It is we who impose our standards upon nature, and who in this way introduce morals into the natural world, in spite the fact that we are part of this world. We are products of nature, but nature has made us together with our power of altering the world, of foreseeing and of planning for the future, and of making far-reaching decisions for which we are morally responsible. Yet, responsibility, decisions, enter the world of nature only with us.

I suspect however that this will clear up absolutely nothing.

It is complete nihilism to propose laying down arms in a world where atom bombs are around. It is very simple: there is no way of achieving peace other than with weapons.

And they cost money, don't 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 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:35 am

Charles Darwin

To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.


You know, like I'm doing here. Or is that you?

We are not here concerned with hopes or fears, only with truth as far as our reason permits us to discover it.

Yep, that's the way the world is, alright, but is that the way it ought to be?

...I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton. Let each man hope & believe what he can.

Unfortunately, that does include Kids too.

For my own part I would as soon be descended from that heroic little monkey, who braved his dreaded enemy in order to save the life of his keeper; or from that old baboon, who, descending from the mountains, carried away in triumph his young comrade from a crowd of astonished dogs—as from a savage who delights to torture his enemies, offers up bloody sacrifices, practices infanticide without remorse, treats his wives like slaves, knows no decency, and is haunted by the grossest superstitions.

Another rendition: https://youtu.be/EXJ07w3i6L0

But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?

And that's not even counting the monkey on your back.

He who understands baboons would do more towards metaphysics than Locke.

Either them or chimps.
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 Feb 27, 2017 7:30 pm

P.G. Wodehouse

One of the Georges - I forget which - once said that a certain number of hours sleep each night - I cannot recall at the moment how many - made a man something which for the time being has slipped my memory.


Duly noted.

You would be miserable if you had to go through life with a human doormat with 'Welcome' written on him. You want some one made of sterner stuff. You want, as it were, a sparring-partner, some one with whom you can quarrel happily with the certain knowledge that he will not curl up in a ball for you to kick, but will be there with the return wallop.

And it's not like I'm charging you.

I'm not absolutely certain of my facts, but I rather fancy it's Shakespeare -- or, if not, it's some equally brainy lad -- who says that it's always just when a chappie is feeling particularly top-hole, and more than usually braced with things in general that Fate sneaks up behind him with a bit of lead piping.

In other words, some things never change.

Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror.

So did his reflection.

You're one of those guys who can make a party just by leaving it. It's a great gift.

We need more of them here, don't we?

Intoxicated? The word did not express it by a mile. He was oiled, boiled, fried, plastered, whiffled, sozzled, and blotto.

And those were the good days.
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 Feb 28, 2017 12:19 am

Alexandre Dumas

I hate this life of the fashionable world, always ordered, measured, ruled, like our music-paper. What I have always wished for, desired, and coveted, is the life of an artist, free and independent, relying only on my own resources, and accountable only to myself.


In other words, once all those pesky bills are paid.

Life is a storm. One minute you will bathe under the sun and the next you will be shattered upon the rocks. That's when you shout, "Do your worst, for I will do mine!" and you will be remembered forever.

Perhaps, but most of us have, no doubt, missed our chance.

And now gentlemen, all for one, one for all - that is our motto, is it not?

Great, another Commie. On the other hand...

Perhaps what I am about to say will appear strange to you gentlemen, socialists, progressives, humanitarians as you are, but I never worry about my neighbor, I never try to protect society which does not protect me -- indeed, I might add, which generally takes no heed of me except to do me harm -- and, since I hold them low in my esteem and remain neutral towards them, I believe that society and my neighbor are in my debt.

...if only to put it all in perspective.

But Valentine, why despair, why always paint the future in such sombre hues? Maximilien asked.
Because, my friend, I judge it by the past.


Let's file this one under, "touché!"

On what slender threads do life and fortune hang.

Death and misfortune too.
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 Feb 28, 2017 7:17 pm

Shirley Jackson

You never know what you are going to want until you see it clearly.


For example, if you ever do.

When Jim Donell thought of something to say he said it as often and in as many ways as possible, perhaps because he had very few ideas and had to wring each one dry.

I know what you're thinking: dasein.
Sure, maybe.


I looked at the clock with the faint unconscious hope common to all mothers that time will somehow have passed magically away and the next time you look it will be bedtime.

Trust me: Fathers too.

Everything is worse...if you think something is looking at you.

That or better.

Now we are going to have a new noise, Eleanor thought, listening to the inside of her head; it is changing. The pounding had stopped, as though it had proved ineffectual, and there was now a swift movement up and down the hall, as of an animal pacing back and forth with unbelievable impatience, watching first one door and then another, alert for a movement inside, and there was again the little babbling murmur which Eleanor remembered; Am I doing it? She wondered quickly, is that me? And heard the tiny laughter beyond the door, mocking her.

Clearly, the part "inside our head" can be a motherfucker.

Everything that makes the world like it is now will be gone. We'll have new rules and new ways of living. Maybe there'll be a law not to live in houses, so then no one can hide from anyone else, you see.

Or, to put it another way, the more things change the more they'll stay exactly the same. Unless of course [this time] that's wrong.
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 01, 2017 12:14 am

Karl Marx

Merely quantitative differences, beyond a certain point, pass into qualitative changes.


In manifestos for example.

The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.

Or something approximating that.

These labourers, who must sell themselves piece-meal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.

Yep, that's how it works, alright. If not all the more so today.

Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinct feature: it has simplified class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other — bourgeoisie and proletariat.

No, really, that's how it basically once was.

Man makes his own history, but he does not make it out of the whole cloth; he does not make it out of conditions chosen by himself, but out of such as he finds close at hand.

Indeed, and today it just happens to be Trumpworld.

Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex.

Some for the better, some for the worse.
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 01, 2017 6:50 pm

Stephen Fry

Lies, fictions and untrue suppositions can create new human truths which build technology, art, language, everything that is distinctly of Man. The word "stone" for instance is not a stone, it is an oral pattern of vocal, dental and labial sounds or a scriptive arrangement of ink on a white surface, but man pretends that it is actually the thing it refers to. Every time he wishes to tell another man about a stone he can use the word instead of the thing itself. The word bodies forth the object in the mind of the listener and both speaker and listener are able to imagine a stone without seeing one. All the qualities of stone can be metaphorically and metonymically expressed. "I was stoned, stony broke, stone blind, stone cold sober, stonily silent," oh, whatever occurs. More than that, a man can look at a stone and call it a weapon, a paperweight, a doorstep, a jewel, an idol. He can give it function, he can possess it.


Trust me: dasein is in there somewhere. Wittgenstein too.

Knowing those things are going to kill you, she said, and still you do it.
How differently I might behave, Tom said, if immortality were an option.


How might we all, eh?

I am aware of the technical distinction between ‘less’ and ‘fewer’, and between ‘uninterested’ and ‘disinterested’ and ‘infer’ and ‘imply’, but none of these are of importance to me. ‘None of these are of importance,’ I wrote there, you’ll notice – the old pedantic me would have insisted on “none of them is of importance”. Well I’m glad to say I’ve outgrown that silly approach to language.

Indeed, like when to us your and when to use you're. Right, Turd? Let them do all the work.

If I had been psychopathic enough to feel no remorse or religious enough to believe in redemption through a divine outside agency, perhaps I should have been happier; as it was I had neither the consolation that I was free of guilt, nor the conviction that I could ever be forgiven.

That's more or less normal now of course.

We keep our insignificant blemishes so that we can blame them for our larger defects.

Obviously: Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Look at the kind of people who most object to the childishness and cheapness of celebrity culture. Does one really want to side with such apoplectic and bombastic bores? I should know, I often catch myself being one, and it isn’t pretty. I will defend the absolute value of Mozart over Miley Cyrus, of course I will, but we should be wary of false dichotomies. You do not have to choose between one or the other. You can have both. The human cultural jungle should be as varied and plural as the Amazonian rainforest. We are all richer for biodiversity. We may decide that a puma is worth more to us than a caterpillar, but surely we can agree that the habitat is all the better for being able to sustain each. Monocultures are uninhabitably dull and end as deserts.

Besides, could Amadeus do this: https://youtu.be/My2FRPA3Gf8
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 01, 2017 8:00 pm

Philosophy Tweets

“As technology advances in complexity and scope, fear becomes more primitive.” Don DeLillo


And now of course we can text it.

“All knowledge of cultural reality, as may be seen, is always knowledge from particular points of view.” Max Weber

Of course he never actually called this "dasein".

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.”Thomas Pynchon

And not just the fascists.

"I am convinced of the afterlife, independent of theology. If the world is rationally constructed, there must be an afterlife." Kurt Gödel

You can't help but wonder if he believes that now.

"Either mathematics is too big for the human mind or the human mind is more than a machine." Kurt Gödel

Clearly either and/or neither one.

“The mob is the mother of tyrants.” Diogenes

Their mob in other words.
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 02, 2017 12:27 am

Carson McCullers

Wonderful music like this was the worst hurt there could be. The whole world was this symphony, and there was not enough of her to listen.


Or, as likely as not, the other way around.
Well, if you know what I mean.


Any form of art can only develop by means of single mutations by individual creators. If only traditional conventions are used an art will die, and the widening of an art form is bound to seem strange at first, and awkward. Any growing thing must go through awkward stages. The creator who is misunderstood because of his breach of convention may say to himself, 'I seem strange to you, but anyway I am alive.

Or sometimes, sure, it's all just bullshit.

I wish I was somebody else except me.

Trust me: except me too.

But now no music was in her mind. That was a funny thing. It was like she was shut out from the inside room. Sometimes a quick little tune would come and go - but she never went into the inside room with music like she used to do. It was like she was too tense. Or maybe because it was like the store took all her energy and time . . . She wanted to stay in the inside room but she didn't know how. It was like the inside room was locked somewhere away from her. A very hard thing to understand.

The inside room. Wow. Just the thought of it...

But you haven't never loved God nor even nair person. You hard and tough as cowhide. But just the same I knows you. This afternoon you going to roam all over the place without never being satisfied. You going to traipse all around like you haves to find something lost. You going to work yourself up with excitement. Your heart going to beat hard enough to kill you because you don't love and don't have peace. And then some day you going to bust loose and be ruined.

At this point, he thought, I'll take my chances.

Coming down was the hardest part of any climbing.

But then of course there's Sisyphus.
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 02, 2017 6:24 pm

Liane Moriarty

You could try as hard as you could to imagine someone else’s tragedy—drowning in icy waters, living in a city split by a wall—but nothing truly hurts until it happens to you.


You'd think that would go without saying.

It wasn’t logical, but the better you knew someone, the more blurry they became. The accumulation of facts made them disappear.

And you can take that to the mirror.

Did anyone really know their child? Your child was a little stranger, constantly changing, disappearing and reintroducing himself to you. New personality traits could appear overnight.

The post-modern child she means.

Everyone wanted to be rich and beautiful, but the truly rich and beautiful had to pretend they were just the same as everyone else.

Not anymore, right?

There were worse things to be than sexist. For example, you could be the sort of person who pinched your fingers together while using the words “teeny weeny.”

We'll need a context of course.

None of us ever know all the possible courses our lives could have, and maybe should have taken.

Though some will think about that constantly.
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 03, 2017 12:59 am

Nikos Kazantzakis

Life is trouble. Only death is not. To be alive is to undo your belt and look for trouble.


You know, if that's your thing.

You have your brush, you have your colors, you paint the paradise, then in you go.

You can even call it art.

Look, one day I had gone to a little village. An old grandfather of ninety was busy planting an almond tree. ‘What, grandfather!’ I exclaimed. ‘Planting an almond tree?’ And he, bent as he was, turned around and said: ‘My son, I carry on as if I should never die.’ I replied: ‘And I carry on as if I was going to die any minute.’
Which of us was right, boss?


Or: Which of them is wrong?

Every man has his folly, but the greatest folly of all is not to have one.

Mine are over there, stacked in the corner.

All those who actually live the mysteries of life haven't the time to write, and all those who have the time don't live them! D'you see?

Here of course it's crystal clear.

You will, Judas, my brother. God will give you the strength, as much as you lack, because it is necessary—it is necessary for me to be killed and for you to betray me. We two must save the world. Help me.
Judas bowed his head. After a moment he asked, If you had to betray your master, would you do it?
Jesus reflected for a long time. Finally he said, No, I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to. That is why God pitied me and gave me the easier task: to be crucified.


See how ridiculous religion can get?
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 03, 2017 8:09 pm

Jeanette Winterson

I have noticed that doing the sensible thing is only a good idea when the decision is quite small. For the life-changing things you must risk it.


You know, if you dare.

Now that physics is proving the intelligence of the universe what are we to do about the stupidity of mankind? I include myself. I know that the earth is not flat but my feet are. I know that space is curved but my brain has been condoned by habit to grow in a straight line. What I call light is my own blend of darkness. What I call a view is my hand-painted trompe-l'oeil. I run after knowledge like a ferret down a ferret hole. My limitations, I call the boundaries of what can be known. I interpret the world by confusing other people's psychology with my own.

Fortunately [or unfortunately] that's all quite normal.

There is a certain seductiveness about dead things. You can ill treat, alter and recolour what's dead. It won’t complain.

You tell me: Is that good to know?

I had been taught to look for monsters and devils and I found ordinary people.

And not just Nazis.

There are two facts that all children need to disprove sooner or later; mother and father. If you go on believing in the fiction of your own parents, it is difficult to construct any narrative of your own.

So, Mr. Objectivist, do you?

It's only a story, you say. So it is, and the rest of life with it - creation story, love story, horror, crime, the strange story of you and I. The alphabet of my DNA shapes certain words, but the story is not told. I have to tell it myself.

Unless of course it's the other way 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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