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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 5:50 pm
by iambiguous
Douglas Adams

The difficulty with this conversation is that it's very different from most of the ones I've had of late. Which, as I explained, have mostly been with trees.

Sequoias if you can.

I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you've never actually known what the question is.

Hint: It rhymes with "I".

It is of course perfectly natural to assume that everyone else is having a far more exciting time than you. Human beings, for instance, have a phrase that describes this phenomenon, ‘The other man’s grass is always greener.’

The Shaltanac race of Broopkidren 13 had a similar phrase, but since their planet is somewhat eccentric, botanically speaking, the best they could manage was, ‘The other Shaltanac's joopleberry shrub is always a more mauvy shade of pinky-russet.’ And so the expression soon fell into disuse, and the Shaltanacs had little option but to become terribly happy and contented with their lot, much to the surprise of everyone else in the Galaxy who had not realized that the best way not to be unhappy is not to have a word for it.

Of course they never had to deal with the coronavirus.

I really didn't foresee the Internet. But then, neither did the computer industry. Not that that tells us very much of course--the computer industry didn't even foresee that the century was going to end.

Remember that "crisis"? Back in the good old days.

So what do we do if we get bitten by something deadly? I asked.
He looked at me as if I were stupid.
You die, of course. That's what deadly means.

Today, of course, you may only wish that you were dead.

Religion has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever... If someone votes for a party that you don't agree with, you're free to argue about it as much as you like; everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it. If somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it. But on the other hand if somebody says 'I must not move a light switch on a Saturday', you say, 'I respect that'... Yet when you look at it rationally there is no reason why those ideas shouldn't be as open to debate as any other, except that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn't be.

Philosophers have certain ideas here too, don't they?

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 7:09 pm
by iambiguous


Thou shalt stay home.
Thou shalt not gather in groups.
Thou shalt not panic.
Thou shalt not hoard TP.
Wash thy hands.
Honor thy curfew.
Check on loved ones.
Do not COVID thy neighbor's wife.
Thou shalt make the best of it.

So, what do you think?

Happy Nowruz.
Tonight, despite the virus, you should party like its 1399.

You get this, right?

Remember days of the week?
Good times.

You get this, right?

If I sent the virus to punish you for anything, it's for believing I send viruses to punish you for anything.

Just what we need from Him now, right?

I’m trying but the hard part is convincing the virus to enter his body.

So much for omnipotence.

I'm forbidding Jesus from working until this is over.
You'll have to die for your own sins now.

You knew this was coming, right?

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 9:37 pm
by iambiguous
Brent Weeks

We each tend to think of our time as the end product of all that has come before, which is true, but we like to believe our time is therefore the pinnacle, rather than another pearl on the string.

Pearl? More like another rhinestone.

Desperate men fight best.

Any desperate men here? Not counting the fucking degenerates of course.

Life is empty. Life is meaningless. When we take a life, we aren't taking anything of value. Wet boys are killers. That's all we do. That's all we are. There are no poets in the bitter business.

Any wet boys here? Wet Kids?

How do you know all this? Delara asked.
I’m the Prism, Gavin said. Five minutes.
You can’t treat us like this. We aren’t slaves to take your orders. What will you do if we don’t let you go? Klytos Blue asked.
Turning cold eyes on the little man, Gavin said, I’ll kill you and piss on your corpse. He meant it.

Of course they've all been banned here at ILP.

To be king means to accept that others will pay the price of your failures -- and even your successes.

What today we call presidents.

And on a difference of three minutes, all of history changes.

Or less of course. All the way down to a blink of an eye.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 6:38 pm
by iambiguous
Jenny Offill

But lately I'm like a beatnik in a movie. Fuck this bourgeois shit, baby! Let's be pure of heart again!

Let's exchange examples of this.

There is a husband who requires mileage receipts, another who wants sex at three a.m. One who forbids short haircuts, another who refuses to feed the pets. I would never put up with that, all the other wives think. Never.

Next up: there is wife who...

At night, they lie in bed holding hands. It is possible if she is stealthy enough that the wife can do this while secretly giving the husband the finger.

Unless of course he beats her to it.

Whenever the wife wants to do drugs, she thinks about Sartre. One bad trip and then a giant lobster followed him around for the rest of his days.

She means Kafka of course. And it's not a lobster.

And then it is another day and another and another but I will not go on about this because no doubt you too have experienced time.

In fact I'm experiencing it right now.

Young person worry: What if nothing I do matters?
Old person worry: What if everything I do does?

That's why we invented philosophy, right? To figure things like that out.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:06 pm
by iambiguous
tiny nietzsche

any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from damn lies

Remember when it used to be magic?

doktor: stay inside
outside: hey

No getting around that, is there?

rock, toilet paper, scissors

You can still buy rocks and scissors though.

microwaves the mail

No, seriously, should we?

Social Distancing Pick Up Lines: we shouldn't get together sometime

And then if you don't, it worked.

if enough people stay home, I can go out

Why [this time] that doesn't really work.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:26 pm
by iambiguous
Stanislaw Ulam

It is not so much whether a theorem is useful that matters, but how elegant it is.

And we certainly have our share of them here, don't we?

Mathematics may be a way of developing physically, that is anatomically, new connections in the brain.

That might explain mine then. Or even yours.

Sometimes I feel that a more rational explanation for all that has happened during my lifetime is that I am still only thirteen years old, reading Jules Verne or H. G. Wells, and have fallen asleep.

Either that or a sim world.

In its evolution from a more primitive nervous system, the brain, as an organ with ten or more billion neurons and many more connections between them must have changed and grown as a result of many accidents.

That's as good an excuse as any, right?

Thinking very hard about the same problem for several hours can produce a severe fatigue, close to a breakdown. I never really experienced a breakdown, but have felt "strange inside" two or three times during my life.

Though for some here [no doubt] two or three times a post?

By an incredible coincidence, Gamow and Edward Condon, who had discovered simultaneously and independently the explanation of radioactivity (one in Russia, the other in this country), came to spend the last ten years of their lives within a hundred yards of each other in Boulder.

Anyone more amazed than I am?

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 5:47 pm
by iambiguous
Max Born

Those who say that the study of science makes a man an atheist, must be rather silly people.

Silly, perhaps, but clearly in the minority.

I believe there is no philosophical high-road in science, with epistemological signposts. No, we are in a jungle and find our way by trial and error, building our road behind us as we proceed.

For that matter, there is no philosophical high-road in philosophy.

The belief that there is only one truth and that oneself is in possession of it seems to me the deepest root of all evil that is in the world.

See, didn't I tell you?

I have tried to read philosophers of all ages and have found many illuminating ideas but no steady progress toward deeper knowledge and understanding. Science, however, gives me the feeling of steady progress: I am convinced that theoretical physics is actual philosophy.

Not even counting my own arguments.

Intellect distinguishes between the possible and the impossible; reason distinguishes between the sensible and the senseless. Even the possible can be senseless.

Let's dumb this down even more.

There are two objectionable types of believers: those who believe the incredible and those who believe that 'belief' must be discarded and replaced by 'the scientific method'.

In other words, including me, there are three.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 8:52 pm
by iambiguous
tiny nietzsche

pay no attention to that virus behind the curtain

And it's not like you can see it anyway.

what a time to be a hypochondriac

Yo, Woody!

me: snorts cocaine
doktor: that won't stop the coronavirus
me: the what?

Better yet...heroin?

late stage existentialism

Fortunately, for you, it's not contagious.

I am sorry if you actually believe you lost an hour this morning

Besides, you'll get it back eventually.

it's okay to touch my butt

That was before the virus of course.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2020 9:06 pm
by iambiguous
Guy de Maupassant

It's not difficult to appear bright, don't worry. The main thing is never to show obvious ignorance of anything. You prevaricate, avoid the difficulty, steer clear of the problem and then catch other people out by using a dictionary. All men are stupid oafs and ignorant nincompoops.

Sure, why not.

He had never regarded other men as anything but puppets of a sort, created to fill up an empty world. He divided them into two classes: those he greeted because some chance had put him in contact with them, and those he did not greet. But both these categories of individuals were equally insignificant in his eyes.

Sure, why not.

Any government has as much of a duty to avoid war as a ship's captain has to avoid a shipwreck.

Except right now of course.

Envy, bitter envy, was permeating his soul drop by drop, like a poison that tainted all his pleasures and made his life hateful.

And, as we all know, it could be for just about anything.

Love means the body, the soul, the life, the entire being. We feel love as we feel the warmth of our blood, we breathe love as we breathe air, we hold it in ourselves as we hold our thoughts. Nothing more exists for us.

On the other hand, isn't that what hate means too? Or am I doing it wrong?

The secret is not to betray your ignorance. Just maneuver, avoid the quicksands and obstacles, and the rest can be found in a dictionary.

They even have one for philosophers.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2020 5:04 pm
by iambiguous
John von Neumann

When we talk mathematics, we may be discussing a secondary language built on the primary language of the nervous system.

I'll bet that goes back to to a complete understanding of existence itself.

It is just as foolish to complain that people are selfish and treacherous as it is to complain that the magnetic field does not increase unless the electric field has a curl. Both are laws of nature.

So much for memes, right Satyr?

I would like to make a confession which may seem immoral: I do not believe absolutely in Hilbert space any more.

No strings attached?

By and large it is uniformly true in mathematics that there is a time lapse between a mathematical discovery and the moment when it is useful; and that this lapse of time can be anything from 30 to 100 years, in some cases even more; and that the whole system seems to function without any direction, without any reference to usefulness, and without any desire to do things which are useful.

Come on, just one example please.

The calculus was the first achievement of modern mathematics and it is difficult to overestimate its importance. I think it defines more unequivocally than anything else the inception of modern mathematics; and the system of mathematical analysis, which is its logical development, still constitutes the greatest technical advance in exact thinking.

For most though this is the equivalent of long division.

You don't have to be responsible for the world that you're in.

Even as you're fucking it up, Mr. President.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2020 9:49 pm
by iambiguous
Erwin Schrodinger

For a solitary animal egoism is a virtue that tends to preserve and improve the species: in any kind of community it becomes a destructive vice.

I'm living proof of that, he noted.

Consciousness is a singular of which the plural is unknown.

Unless of course you make it up.

The self is not so much linked to its ancestors, it is not so much the product, and merely the product, of all that, but rather, in the strictest sense of the word, the same thing as all that: the strict, direct continuation of it, just as the self aged fifty is the continuation of the self aged forty.

How dumb is that, he snickered.

In an honest search for knowledge, you quite often have to abide by ignorance for an indefinite period.

All the way to the grave, for example.

I know not whence I came, nor whither I go, nor who I am.

Paraphrasing Pascal as it were.

The multiplicity is only apparent. This is the doctrine of the Upanishads. And not of the Upanishads only. The mystical experience of the union with God regularly leads to this view, unless strong prejudices stand in the way.

Like mine especially.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 12:25 am
by iambiguous
tiny nietzsche

looks like the end of everything has fucked up my weekend plans again

Yeah, it can do that.

you don't have to wait for the weekend to cry

Or stop crying.

live now, die later

After all, it's perfectly normal.

those books stacked by your bed are just sitting there

And not reading themselves no doubt.

if your drug dealer doesn't have the virus, they can get it for you

Cheap too.

*puts rugged individualism on a ventilator*

Uberbmen too.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 5:07 pm
by iambiguous
Lily King

I've always been able to see the savageness beneath the veneer of society. It's not so very far beneath the surface, no matter where you go.

And now look what we're facing.

It’s that moment about two months in, when you think you’ve finally got a handle on the place. Suddenly it feels within your grasp. It’s a delusion – you’ve only been there eight weeks – and it’s followed by the complete despair of ever understanding anything. But at the moment the place feels entirely yours. It’s the briefest, purest euphoria.

Nope, not even once.

When only one person is the expert on a particular people, do we learn more about the people or the anthropologist when we read the analysis?

Sort of works that way for us too, doesn't it. And not just here.

Why with our emphasis on the individual are we still so blinded by the urge to conform?

Right, like anyone really knows.

What’s the point of all this?
Of all what? she asked.
Of all this life.

Right, like anyone really knows.

Sometimes you just find a culture that breaks your heart, she said finally.

And sometimes you're smack dab in the middle of it. Until it kills you.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 7:45 pm
by iambiguous
Guy Debord

He will essentially follow the language of the spectacle, for it is the only one he is familiar with.

Trust me: His spectacle not yours.

The spectacle is capital accumulated to the point where it becomes image.

Trust me: His spectacle not yours.

The story of terrorism is written by the state and it is therefore highly instructive… compared with terrorism, everything else must be acceptable, or in any case more rational and democratic.

As likely as not, you only think you get this.

The advertisements during intermissions are the truest reflection of an intermission from life.

All the more so today, perhaps?

What appears is good; what is good appears.

Next up: bad.

Plagiarism is necessary, progress implies it.

Besides, nihil sub sōle novum.
And that's in the Bible.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 1:56 am
by iambiguous
so sad today

i’m scared...but i’m always scared

Next up: I'm terrified.

it's not you it's the mediocrity of reality

Well, that too.

avoiding other people before it was cool

I invented that by the way.

let’s can i make a global pandemic all about me

Sorry, he has already beat you to it.

i miss fucking the wrong people

And I would like to have been one of them, he thought.

can you feel my anxiety through the internet

Are we supposed to?

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 4:08 pm
by iambiguous
John Updike

The essential self is innocent, and when it tastes its own innocence knows that it lives for ever.

How fucking idiotic is that?! But, sure, just for the hell of it, point taken.

I think books should have secrets, like people do.

Easter eggs too.

When I write, I aim in my mind not toward New York but to a vague spot a little to the east of Kansas.

On the other hand, doesn't everyone?

Government is an illusion the governed should not encourage.

Especially now, right? :lol: :wink: :lol:

Among the repulsions of atheism for me has been its drastic un-interestingness as an intellectual position. Where was the ingenuity, the ambiguity, the humanity of saying that the universe just happened to happen and that when we're dead we're dead?

Even if that is exactly the case, right?

It's not up to us what we learn, but merely whether we learn through joy or through pain.

If, of course, even that's up to us.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:17 pm
by iambiguous
so sad today

i bet i’m doing the pandemic wrong

It kills you, for example.

treat everyone with kindness but also try to avoid everyone

Six feet at least. Like we're doing here.

just want whatever is going to kill me to kill me instantaneously without a doctor ever saying “it's going to kill you”

A bullet in the brain ought to do it.

i have two modes: anxious or asleep

Not counting the nightmares of course.

need a quarantine for my mind

"Come in, he said, I'll give you shelter from the storm."
Him though, not me.

the kids i didn't have are very thankful

And the one I had?

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:44 pm
by iambiguous
Douglas Adams

Funny, how just when you think life can’t possibly get any worse it suddenly does.

Or, sure, not funny at all.

Ford Prefect suppressed a little giggle of evil satisfaction, realized that he had no reason to suppress it, and laughed out loud, a wicked laugh.

One of those sometimes you can, sometimes you can't things.

Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.

Especially now, right?

The only moral it is possible to draw from this story is that one should never throw the Q letter into a privet bush, but unfortunately there are times when it is unavoidable.

At least we don't have that to worry about. Or I certainly don't.

Ok, he said, I don't like to disturb you at what I know must be a difficult and distressing time for you, but I need to know first of all if you actually realize that this is a difficult and distressing time for you.

That's always tricky.

Believe me, it is a great deal better to find cast-iron proof that you're innocent than to languish in a cell hoping that the police---who already think you're guilty---will find it for you.

You'd think that would be obvious.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:32 pm
by iambiguous
Brent Weeks

I’m going to explain this to you in terms you can understand: shut up.

Wouldn't work with you, right Kid?

Do you know what you can do to an enemy but not to a friend? Stab her in the back.

Remember when that was always true?

They were deeply in love. Smitten. At their age. Sad.

At any age, he insisted.

More choices in a limited time didn't mean didn't mean you could do everything-it meant that you could do anything, so you probably did nothing, frozen with indecision.

Let's decide if we can decide if that's still true.

Fock eww.

Tripping up the censors?

Politics is ethics writ large.

He means writ small of course.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 6:39 pm
by iambiguous
Philosophy Tweets

"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing." Socrates

And then the part about tumbling over into the abyss that is oblivion.

“He who despises himself esteems himself as a self-despiser.” Friedrich Nietzsche

You can't win, can you?!

“Knowledge kills action; action requires the veils of illusion.” Friedrich Nietzsche

Or, here, you can stick with the general description intellectual contraptions.

"An infected mind is a far more dangerous pestilence than any plague—one only threatens your life, the other destroys your character." Marcus Aurelius

Starting with, well, you know.

"It’s a recession when your neighbor loses her job; it’s a depression when you lose your own." Harry S. Truman

Boy, is that on the way back.

"Dreams come true. Without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them." John Updike

Not counting all the ones that don't come true of course.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:35 pm
by iambiguous
Jenny Offill

For fifteen, maybe twenty minutes, she’d suspend her fierce judgment of the world and fall silent there. And when she did, a tiny space would clear in my head and I could think again.

You hear that, right?

Sometimes she just stands and looks out the window where the people whose lives are intact enough not to have to take yoga live.

I think I understand this.

My # 1 fear is the acceleration of days. No such thing supposedly, but I swear I can feel it.

Oh, there's such a thing, alright.

Are animals lonely?
Other animals, I mean.

Let's ask them.

Something in her past that makes her want to tear things to shreds.

Or even thinking about something in the future.

The reason to have a home is to keep certain people in and everyone else out.

In other words, if you can.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 5:40 pm
by iambiguous
Max Born

Physics as we know it will be over in six months.

I know: When did he say it?
Of course, that's not the point, is it?

It is odd to think that there is a word for something which, strictly speaking, does not exist, namely, "rest." We distinguish between living and dead matter; between moving bodies and bodies at rest. This is a primitive point of view. What seems dead, a stone or the proverbial "door-nail," say, is actually forever in motion. We have merely become accustomed to judge by outward appearances; by the deceptive impressions we get through our senses.

Right, like that will change how we describe them.

We have sought for firm ground and found none. The deeper we penetrate, the more restless becomes the universe; all is rushing about and vibrating in a wild dance.

Not counting the dead stuff.

It is true that many scientists are not philosophically minded and have hitherto shown much skill and ingenuity but little wisdom.


No language which lends itself to visualization can describe quantum jumps.

You know, now that James is gone.

All attempts to adapt our ethical code to our situation in the technological age have failed.

Any age, actually.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 6:23 pm
by iambiguous
Philosophy Tweets

"A sign of intelligence is an awareness of one's own ignorance." Niccolo Machiavelli

Come on, Kids, own up to it.

"Is it the fault of wine if a fool drinks it and goes stumbling into darkness?" Avicenna

Next up: Is it the fault of coronavirus...

“Strangely enough, I received more inspiration from literature than from actual, naked life.” Günter Grass

Strangely enough indeed.
On the other hand, for some, here: “Strangely enough, I received more inspiration from philosophy than from actual, naked life.”

"We become what we think about all day long." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Anyone here that explains?

"Don't stumble over something behind you.” Seneca the Younger

Well, if you know what he means.

"If a man knows not to which port he sails, no wind is favorable.” Seneca the Younger

Well, if you know what he means.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:57 pm
by iambiguous
Guy de Maupassant

She was simple, not being able to adorn herself, but she was unhappy, as one out of her class; for women belong to no caste, no race, their grace, their beauty and their charm serving them in place of birth and family. Their inborn finesse, their instinctive elegance, their suppleness of wit, are their only aristocracy, making some daughters of the people the equal of great ladies.

Of course back in the 19th century this takes on a whole other meaning.

I said, 'If other beings besides us exist on Earth, why didn't we meet them a long time ago?'

On the other hand, they're thinking the same thing about us.

The great artists are those who impose their personal vision upon humanity.

In other words, they think they do.

Since governments take the right of death over their people, it is not astonishing if the people should sometimes take the right of death over governments.

Two words: actual options.

For a number of years he had lived, eaten, laughed, loved, hoped, like everyone else. And for him it was over, over for good. A life! A few days, and then nothing! You're born, you grow up, you're happy, you wait, then you die. Goodbye! Man or woman, you'll never return to this earth! And yet each of us bears within him the fierce, unrealizable longing for eternity, each of us is a kind of universe within the universe, and each of us soon vanishes completely into the dunghill of new organisms. Plants, animals, men, stars, worlds, everything quickens, then dies, in order to transform itself. And nothing ever returns, whether insect, man, or planet!

Go ahead, fit yourself in there somewhere.

Language dazzles and deceives because it is masked by faces, because we see it emerging from the lips, because lips please and eyes beguile. But words on paper, black on white, reveal the naked soul.

Right, like words on paper can't in turn aim to con us.

Re: a thread for mundane ironists

PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 5:19 pm
by iambiguous
Primo Levi

Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.

The Trump droids, for example. Though you may have your own example.

Perfection belongs to narrated events, not to those we live.

Or, here, posts.

I am constantly amazed by man's inhumanity to man.

And that's before we get to the banality part.

Sooner or later in life everyone discovers that perfect happiness is unrealizable, but there are few who pause to consider the antithesis: that perfect unhappiness is equally unattainable.

I beg to differ. At least on occasion.

Even in this place one can survive, and therefore one must want to survive, to tell the story, to bear witness; and that to survive we must force ourselves to save at least the skeleton, the scaffolding, the form of civilization. We are slaves, deprived of every right, exposed to every insult, condemned to certain death, but we still possess one power, and we must defend it with all our strength for it is the last — the power to refuse our consent.

True, but trust me: there are consequences.

Those who deny Auschwitz would be ready to remake it.

We've got a few of them here.