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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 5:25 pm
by iambiguous
Douglas Adams

Who is this God person anyway?

It's about time someone asked that.

I've had the sort of day that would make St. Francis of Assisi kick babies.

What some would call a good day.

It is an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem. For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much, the wheel, New York, wars and so on - whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man for precisely the same reasons…

So, too close to call?

The President of the Universe holds no real power. His sole purpose is to take attention away from where the power truly exists...

Who might that be? You know, if there is no God.

In the great debate that has raged for centuries about what, if anything, happens to you after death, be it heaven, hell, purgatory or extinction, one thing has never been in doubt - that you would at least know the answer when you were dead.

Or, far, far, far, far, far more likely, not know.

I remembered once, in Japan, having been to see the Gold Pavilion Temple in Kyoto and being mildly surprised at quite how well it had weathered the passage of time since it was first built in the fourteenth century. I was told it hadn’t weathered well at all, and had in fact been burnt to the ground twice in this century. “So it isn’t the original building?” I had asked my Japanese guide.
But yes, of course it is, he insisted, rather surprised at my question.
But it’s burnt down?
Many times.
And rebuilt.
Of course. It is an important and historic building.
With completely new materials.
But of course. It was burnt down.
So how can it be the same building?
It is always the same building.
I had to admit to myself that this was in fact a perfectly rational point of view, it merely started from an unexpected premise. The idea of the building, the intention of it, its design, are all immutable and are the essence of the building. The intention of the original builders is what survives. The wood of which the design is constructed decays and is replaced when necessary. To be overly concerned with the original materials, which are merely sentimental souvenirs of the past, is to fail to see the living building itself.

See? It's all about conflicting assumptions. I was right all along!!

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:39 pm
by iambiguous
Existential Comics

I can't follow cultural relativism all the way, because that would mean that we have no objective way to claim that everyone's hair was ugly in the 80s.

Of course you might have a different reason.

We need philosophy because no one was ever radicalized into revolutionary politics from learning mechanical engineering. Technical skills will only make the system more efficient, but we always need at least the possibility of reimagining the system entirely.

For example, "in your head".

Communists: "what if the workers decided what do to themselves instead of obeying capitalists."
Capitalists: "wow you guys are so authoritarian."

Well, why not at least try it?

Yes, I consider myself a cultural critic. For example: culture, it sucks.

And getting suckier all the time.

One thing they about Jeff Bezos giving $10 billion to "fight climate change" they don't discuss is that he alone will decide who gets funding. For example, if they want to study if it's good for the climate to ship every retail item individually to houses, they won't get funded.

Probably not, anyway.

Centrist: "I am practical, unlike the radial left, I can actually get things done!"
Leftist: "So what, exactly, are you going to get done?"
Centrist: "Actually, it turns out everything is good the way it is."

Close enough?

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:46 pm
by iambiguous
Brent Weeks

Pacifism is a virtue indisguishable from cowardice.

Cue, among others, the chickenhawks. Probasbly a few of them here.

Hope is the great deceiver. Hope is the piper who leads us sleepy to our slaughter.

You know, sometimes.

Hope is the lies we tell ourselves about the future.

You know, sometimes.

A lie told in the service of truth is virtue.

Trump's lies, for example. Go ahead, ask him.

You're a great man, but only when seen from afar.

Here, of course, we only see them virtually.

...a man who denies what is essential to his being is a man who drills holes in the cup of his own happiness.

Like folks like me have another option.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2020 3:03 pm
by iambiguous
Jenny Offill

And that phrase - 'sleeping like a baby.' Some blonde said it blithely on the subway the other day. I wanted to lie down next to her and scream for five hours in her ear.

Of course being a blonde has nothing to do with it.

Also she signed away the right to self-destruct years ago. The fine print on the birth certificate, her friend calls it.

Sure enough there it is on mine.

The Buddhists say there are 121 states of consciousness. Of these, only three involve misery or suffering.


But my agent has a theory. She says every marriage is jerry-rigged. Even the ones that look reasonable from the outside are held together inside with chewing gum and wire and string.

Unless, of course, like mine, it was a shotgun wedding. True story.

How had she become one of those people who wears yoga pants all day? She used to make fun of those people. With their happiness maps and their gratitude journals and their bags made out of recycled tire treads. But now it seems possible that the truth about getting older is that there are fewer and fewer things to make fun of until finally there is nothing you are sure you will never be.

Let's call this the human condition.

The reason to have a home is to keep certain people in and everyone else out. A home has a perimeter. But sometimes our perimeter was breached by neighbors, by Girl Scouts, by Jehovah’s Witnesses. I never liked to hear the doorbell ring.

Apartments too.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2020 6:43 pm
by iambiguous

My sexual orientation is emerging from fog-covered woods to vote & then exploding into thousands of crows.

Though, so far, only in his head.

Never trust the living

Much less the dead.

Remember, you can become possessed by a demon whenever you want. You’re an adult

Alas, not counting the real world. Or not yet.

We created Monday, we did this to ourselves.

Probably all the rest of them too.

Of course I have body issues, I can’t look at the moon & turn into a fucking wolf.

Let alone a T-Rex.

The earth wants us dead & I respect the hell out of that.

That makes one of us.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2020 10:35 pm
by iambiguous
Edward Teller

When you come to the end of all the light you know, and it's time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.

If it doesn't kill you of course.

There's no system foolproof enough to defeat a sufficiently great fool.

:-" :lol: :-" .

We must learn to live with contradictions, because they lead to deeper and more effective understanding.

Either that or to an ever deeper sense of futility and despair.

The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to emotionally comprehend the exponential function.

Or, sure, something else.

I believe in evil. It is the property of all those who are certain of truth. Despair and fanaticism are only differing manifestations of evil.

Well, in that case, I believe in it too.

On May 7, a few weeks after the accident at Three-Mile Island, I was in Washington. I was there to refute some of that propaganda that Ralph Nader, Jane Fonda and their kind are spewing to the news media in their attempt to frighten people away from nuclear power. I am 71 years old, and I was working 20 hours a day. The strain was too much. The next day, I suffered a heart attack. You might say that I was the only one whose health was affected by that reactor near Harrisburg. No, that would be wrong. It was not the reactor. It was Jane Fonda. Reactors are not dangerous.

Of course we'll need to hear from the folks around Chernobyl.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2020 6:52 pm
by iambiguous
Eugenio Montale

Evidently the arts, all the visual arts, are becoming more democratic in the worst sense of the word.

And not just the Summer blockbusters.

I am perhaps a late follower of Zoroaster and I believe that the foundation of life is built upon the struggle between the two opposing forces of Good and Evil.

I believe. I believe. I believe. I believe. Like that settles it.

There is also poetry written to be shouted in a square in front of an enthusiastic crowd. This occurs especially in countries where authoritarian regimes are in power.

Let's look for that on the campaign trail in America.

For my part, if I consider poetry as an object, I maintain that it is born of the necessity of adding a vocal sound (speech) to the hammering of the first tribal music.

For my part, who cares.

This proves that great lyric poetry can die, be reborn, die again, but will always remain one of the most outstanding creations of the human soul.

Like great jazz, maybe.

Strangely, Dante's Divine Comedy did not produce a prose of that creative height or it did so after centuries.

Just out of curiosity, why strangely?

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2020 8:50 pm
by iambiguous
Jan Mieszkowski

I can be googled, therefore I am
The philosophers have only googled the world. The point, however, is to change it.

Let's google that.

I wanted to be a philosophy major, but I didn't want to learn about
a) the inherent limitations of every formal axiomatic system
b) the meaninglessness of my existence
c) the infinite pain of thought
d) Sartre's love life

I'm sticking with "b" for now.

Philosophy happens
Plato: in public
Descartes: in private
Smith: in the boardroom
Heidegger: in the Black Forest
Sartre: in a cafe
Žižek: on whatever reality TV show will have me

Of course only Žižek is still around.

Philosophy is
Plato: lovesick
Heidegger: homesick
Schopenhauer: worried sick
Beckett: sick of life
Kierkegaard: sick to death
Nietzsche: sick to death of sickness

Of course none of them are still around.

Ontology: Let it be
Ethics: Let it be good
Aesthetics: Let it be beautiful
Politics: Let them eat cake

And that's still true.

Heidegger: Do plants sleep?
Blanchot: Do plants dream?
Derrida: Was Heidegger a dream?
Foucault: Was Derrida a plant?

Clearly, the guy needs to get out more.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:52 pm
by iambiguous
Guy de Maupassant

Our memory is a more perfect world than the universe: it gives back life to those who no longer exist.

Well, sort of.

Words dazzle and deceive because they are mimed by the face. But black words on a white page are the soul laid bare.

You know, before the internet.

Solitude is indeed dangerous for a working intelligence. We need to have around us people who think and speak. When we are alone for a long time we people the void with phantoms.

You know, before the internet.

...breathing, sleeping, drinking, eating, working, dreaming, everything we do is dying. to live, in fact, is to die.

If you know what he means. Not that this matters.

The past attracts me, the present frightens me, because the future is death.

Believe it or not, some actually obsess on this.

One sometimes weeps over one's illusions with as much bitterness as over a death.

I know that I once did. But now it's death all the way down.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 5:27 pm
by iambiguous
Wallace Stevens

It can never be satisfied, the mind, never.

Has anyone here ever actually come close? Not counting the Kids of course.

I am the truth, since I am part of what is real, but neither more nor less than those around me.

If only all the way to the grave.

Conceptions are artificial. Perceptions are essential.

Yours of course, not theirs.

It is never the thing but the version of the thing.

Your version of course, not theirs.

We must endure our thoughts all night, until the bright obvious stands motionless in cold.

I think this is probably [or nearly] true.

One cannot spend one's time in being modern when there are so many more important things to be.

Right, try not being modern in this world.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 7:12 pm
by iambiguous

No, please, keep praying, I'm totally listening.

Pray for hIm, right?

Well that was 13.7 billion years I'll never get back.

Like He has anyone to blame but Himself.

You're a mass extinction event posing as a civilization.

And that's just on this planet.

I can now confirm the first reported case of coronavirus in Heaven.

That has not, I repeat, not been confirmed by the CDC.

65 million years from now you’ll be some new species’ fossil fuel and I’ll laugh and laugh and laugh.

And He should know.

Ram and I would both like you to stop killing in our names.
You know why?
Because we're IMAGINARY, you stupid jackasses.

Though others may know him as Ramachandra.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:38 pm
by iambiguous
Erwin Schrodinger

The task is not to see what has never been seen before, but to think what has never been thought before about what you see everyday.

It would have to be that, wouldn't it?

The total number of minds in the universe is one.

You know, rounding off.

Quantum physics thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe.

Or, if we're involved, a basic twoness.

The present is the only thing that has no end.

Among other things, bullshit?

We do not belong to this material world that science constructs for us. We are not in it; we are outside. We are only spectators. The reason why we believe that we are in it, that we belong to the picture, is that our bodies are in the picture. Our bodies belong to it. Not only my own body, but those of my friends, also of my dog and cat and horse, and of all the other people and animals. And this is my only means of communicating with them.

You know, inside the box.

Every man's world picture is and always remains a construct of his mind and cannot be proved to have any other existence.

Go ahead, prove that you are reading this.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 7:13 pm
by iambiguous
Jeanne Moreau

I shall die very young...maybe seventy, maybe eighty, maybe ninety. But I shall be very young.

Almost ninety as it turned out.

To be free means to choose whose slave you want to be.

Actually, it doesn't mean that to me at all.

The life you had is nothing. It is the life you have that is important.

Try separating them though.

As long as you don't make waves, life seems easy. But that's condemning yourself to impotence and death before you are dead.

Well, as long as they let you make them.

Something pretty...that's just the surface. People worry so much about aging, but you look younger if you don't worry about it.

So, how's that working out for you?

One thing you have to give up is attaching importance to what people see in you.

And here that's worked out fine for me.
[someone pass this along to my three stooges]

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 8:16 pm
by iambiguous
tiny nietzsche

it puts the purell in the basket or it gets the coronavirus

Silence of the Lamb...the sequel?

horny for silence

Or just the sound of the keys being tapped.

micro-dosing postmodernism

And without a prescription.

if you're going to follow me, please wash your hands

The new world order.

disillusionment is its own reward

I'm still waiting for that part.

sure, sex is cool but have you ever tried not to touch your face

Or theirs.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 10:33 pm
by iambiguous
Martin Rees

We need to broaden our sympathies both in space and time - and perceive ourselves as part of a long heritage, and stewards for an immense future.

I challenge anyone here to bring that down to earth.

I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can't conceive. Just as a chimpanzee can't understand quantum theory, it could be there as aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains. They could be staring us in the face and we just don't recognise them. The problem is that we-re looking for something very much like us, assuming that they at least have something like the same mathematics and technology.

I suspect that none of us will ever know.

If we ever establish contact with intelligent aliens living on a planet around a distant star ... They would be made of similar atoms to us. They could trace their origins back to the big bang 13.7 billion years ago, and they would share with us the universe's future.

In other words, make what you will of it.

God invented space so that not everything had to happen in Princeton.

Or, here, Johns Hopkins.

The universe is still a place of mystery and wonder.

Okay, but what about tomorrow?

Scientists habitually moan that the public doesn't understand them. But they complain too much: public ignorance isn't peculiar to science. It's sad if some citizens can't tell a proton from a protein. But it's equally sad if they're ignorant of their nation's history, can't speak a second language, or can't find Venezuela or Syria on a map.

Remember this?

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2020 6:15 pm
by iambiguous
John Updike

There's always something new by looking at the same thing over and over.

No, as a matter of fact, not always at all.

America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy.

For example, if you were a wildly successful author.

The artist brings something into the world that didn't exist before, and he does it without destroying something else.

Unless, of course, for some, you count peace of mind.

Living is a compromise, between doing what you want and doing what other people want.

So, stay away from them.

Sex is like money; only too much is enough.

The human condition in a nutshell?

A photograph offers us a glimpse into the abyss of time.

Anyone here disagree?

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2020 7:39 pm
by iambiguous
tiny nietzsche

irony is in retrograde

Not counting here of course. And certainly not counting me.

I, too, have zero percent of the vote

And, like me here, he earned it.

better call sartre

You know, if, nowadays, you can reach him.

out on the road today, I saw a coronavirus sticker on a cadillac. a little voice inside my head said "don't touch your face" you can never touch your face

Let's look for them ourselves. Keep a tally.

dj coronavirus

Coming to an empty club near you.

bartender: what'll it be?
postmodernism: irony, neat

Me, I drink it straight from the bottle.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2020 9:57 pm
by iambiguous
Douglas Adams

She had what it took: great hair, a profound understanding of strategic lip gloss, the intelligence to understand the world and a tiny secret interior deadness which meant she didn’t care.

My own interior deadness becoming increasingly less secret from year to year.

The storm had now definitely abated, and what thunder there was now grumbled over more distant hills, like a man saying 'And another thing...' twenty minutes after admitting he'd lost the argument.

Same with a few storms here too.

That was it. That was really it. She knew that she had told herself that that was it only seconds earlier, but this was now the final real ulimate it.

Otherwise known as "the Big One".

What was the self-sacrifice?
I jettisoned half of a much-loved and I think irreplaceable pair of shoes.
Why was that self-sacrifice?
Because they were mine! said Ford, crossly.
I think we have different value systems.
Well mine's better.

And then those who refuse to sacrifice anything. And even start in on taking yours.

The complexities of cause and effect defy analysis.

Though, perhaps, not in your head.

What does it matter? Science has achieved some wonderful things, of course, but I'd far rather be happy than right any day.

Of course you can take this too far.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 5:32 pm
by iambiguous
Brent Weeks

The choice to give up bitterness is not easy, but it is simple: peace or poison. And don't wait until you feel like making it. You never will.

I'll never give mine up. So don't tempt me.

The man who is content to live alone is either a beast or a god.

Me, I'm content to go back and forth.

You’re amazing, Kylar said.
I know.
Humble, too.

Me, I'm content to go back and forth.

I die and go to a library? Sure, it could be worse, but I’ve spent a lot of time in libraries this year. Quite enough time, really. Do I have to stay forever? Where do I go pee?

For some reason, in the libraries near me, they have restrooms for that.

Charm is less effective on people who have good reason to kick your ass.

Here, figuratively of course.

Some things are bigger than your happiness.

For example, if you let them be.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 7:26 pm
by iambiguous
so sad today

wanna come over and not exist together

First, you come over here.

everyone is basically the same annoying person

Including the guy in the mirror.

i’m not good enough for me

So, you can imagine what that makes you then.

can’t believe i still need more attention

Me, I'll sell some of mine to you.

studies confirm i’m my own worst enemy

Like most of us need studies for that.

i had a sex dream about not texting someone

With any luck it was me.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:45 pm
by iambiguous
Jenny Offill

Anger looked like fireworks. Love was an indistinct blur.

Nicely put.

There are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, 52 weeks in a year, and X years in a life. Solve for X.

In other words, leaving out the equal sign.

Of course it is difficult. You are creating a creature with a soul, my friend says.

Anyone here ever done that?

What did you do today, you’d say when you got home from work, and I’d try my best to craft an anecdote for you out of nothing.

A lie in other words. But point taken.

Her neighbor’s husband fell in love with a girl who served coffee to him every morning. She was twenty-three and wanted to be a dancer or a poet or a physical therapist. When he left his family, his wife said, “Does it matter to you how foolish you look? That all our friends find you ridiculous?” He stood in the doorway, his coat in his hand. “No,” he said. The wife watched her neighbor get fat over the next year. The Germans have a word for that. Kummerspeck. Literally, grief bacon.

Word wise, where would we be without the Germans?

What Rilke said: "Surely all art is the result of one’s having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, to where no one can go any further.”

And surely all philosophy...?

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 4:16 pm
by iambiguous
Edward Teller

I hate doubt, yet I am certain that doubt is the only way to approach anything worth believing in.

Certain doubts. And then some.

Had we not pursued the hydrogen bomb, there is a very real threat that we would now all be speaking Russian. I have no regrets.

He means German of course.

If anyone wants a hole in the ground, nuclear explosives can make big holes.

Remember this?

Life improves slowly and goes wrong fast, and only catastrophe is clearly visible.

You know, in general.

I think that intellectuals who end up in hell will have to read page proofs and check indexes there.

Does this make sense?

I claim that relativity and the rest of modern physics is not complicated. It can be explained very simply. It is only unusual or, put another way, it is contrary to common sense.

Can anyone explain it all simply here?

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 6:32 pm
by iambiguous
so sad today

wish everything was as easy as believing my own bullshit

More to the point, your bullshit.

i use my negative attitude in a positive way

The part others always forget. If they can even comprehend it at all.

i’m cynical because, like, look around


i rejected me before you did

Anyone here doubt that?

maybe she’s born with it, maybe she constructed an emotional wall to protect herself from latent childhood fears and insecurities

A little or a lot of both I'm guessing.

i feel trapped in our species

And of course whatever that's trapped in.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2020 9:40 pm
by iambiguous
Max von Sydow

The more I had to act like a saint, the more I felt like being a sinner.

In other words, not unlike the rest of us.

If Jesus came back today, and saw what was going on in his name, he'd never stop throwing up.

Of course here he is only quoting Frederick.

I like to play with things a while before annihilation.

What things? We may never know.

I remember those days with Bergman with great nostalgia. We were aware that the films were going to be quite important, and the work felt meaningful.

How's that for irony?

The offers I get are for grandfathers, uncles - and they often die very quickly in the script.

Let's pin down why.

Playing Christ, I began to feel shut away from the world. A newspaper became one of my biggest luxuries. I noticed that some of my close friends began treating me with reverence.

Anyone playing Christ here?

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2020 4:27 pm
by iambiguous
Stanislaw Ulam

The infinite we shall do right away. The finite may take a little longer.

You'd think it might be the other way around.

Knowing what is big and what is small is more important than being able to solve partial differential equations.

Lucky for me, he thought.

Whatever is worth saying, can be stated in fifty words or less.

And that's only 12.

The mathematicians know a great deal about very little and the physicists very little about a great deal.

That's either twice or half as much as philosophers know.

I am turned off when I see only formulas and symbols, and little text.

As in context.

Thoughts are steered in different ways.

Imagine then the plight of feelings.