what goes and what’s kept

Many find the text [The Reign of Quantity] difficult because it asks us to question our very modes of being, and perhaps, because it asks us to question an ideology in the form of modernism that has become so set in our minds that any other way of being seems fanciful and unrealistic. However, the teachings of the traditionalists should not in any sense be taken to mean that they seek, as it were, to repeat the past or indeed simply draw a distinction between the present and the past. Theirs is not a nostalgia for the past, but a yearning for the sacred. And if they defend the past, it is because in the pre-modern world, all civilizations were marked by the presence of the sacred. As I understand it, in referring to tradition, they refer to a metaphysical reality and to underlying principles that are timeless——as true now as they ever have been and will be. And, by way of contrast, in referring to modernism, they referred to a particular, though false, definition of reality. A particular, though false, manner of seeing and engaging with the world that is not distinguished by time, but by its ideology.

When we use the term ‘modern,’ we mean neither contemporary nor up-to-date. Rather, for us, modern means that which is cut off from the transcendent, from the immutable principles, which in reality govern all things… modernism is thus contrasted with tradition… Most especially, therefore, we can see that it is the timeless quality of these immutable principles of tradition that make its teachings so… timely. For me, the teachings of tradition suggest the presence of a reality that can bring about a reality of integration, and it is this reality that can be contrasted with so much of modernism’s obsession with disintegration, disconnection, and deconstruction—that which is sometimes termed ‘the malaise of modernity’—cut off at the root from the transcendent, modernism has become deracinated and separated itself…”

-Charles III

spiritual wank

There’s a point of view that’s taken from some meditators. I find myself drawn to this, and I recognize it, and have to stop. It’s the point of view that there is no ego. That there is no personality. That this is an appearance.

‘Who is asking that question?’

Yeah — ‘who’s asking the question? Who needs to fix themselves? Who needs to do the work? Look for that who and when you see through that there’s no who and that’s it’s allll this, then you’ll see the silliness of your pursuit…’ Now the best teachers are the ones who say, yeah you wake up, you also grow up across these lines of development…

There’s a partial truth in that, but it’s only a partial truth.

It’s partial, exactly. Like sure you can inhabit unbound, contentless awareness and it will feel like there is absolutely no self and everything is perfect as it is. And then five seconds later when you’re back in your body, yelling at your kids, you’ll realize how irrelevant that is to actually being good in the world.”

-In conversation between
Zubin Damania and David Fuller

 

 

 

everything

Fuck, I thought, in reference to the passing, fragmented awe I felt about my laptop working. For most of my life I had believed everything was broken. I had believed everything was broken in a manner that, I’d only recently begun to understand, blindly assumed things that weren’t true. My whole life I had been oriented toward the world in a manner that reflected me back. I’d always started with myself, only pretending to look outward, and only pretending to look inward too. I’d always viewed malice and tragedy as the only true facts of my life, ignoring everything else that didn’t fit my self-serving narrative. I had believed that everything was broken when in fact the opposite was true: everything worked! Even that which didn’t seem to work worked. It’s an unbelievable miracle, I thought, parroting Jordan Castro.”

-Jordan Castro
The Novelist

 

 

 

bonhomie and brutality !

Fortunatus, that versatile, gentle, genial, boot-licking gourmet, who somehow managed to write two of the most magnificent hymns of the Christian church, came from Italy on a visit to Gaul in 565 and never left it again. He traveled all over the Frankish lands, in what had been Germania as well as in what had been Gaul. From Trier to Toulouse he made his way with ease by river and by road, and it might be Ausonius again. Fortunatus too writes a poem on the Moselle; and there is the same smiling countryside with terraced vineyards sloping down to the quiet stream and the smoke of villas rising from the woods. Fortunatus too made the round of the country houses, especially of the sumptuous villages belonging to Leontius bishop of Bordeaux, a great Gallo-Roman aristocrat, whose grandfather had been a friend of Sidonius. The hot baths, the pillared porticos, the lawns sloping to the river, are all there; the feasts are even more magnificent (they upset Fortunatus’s digestion badly) and the talk is still of literature…

But when you look again you realize that it is not the same. It is not merely because we know that even these remnants of the social and material civilization of Rome would soon themselves die away that the tragedy of the sixth century looms so dark. It is because when we look below the surface we see that the life has gone out of it all, the soul that inflamed it is dead, nothing is now left but the empty shell. These men welcome Fortunatus just because he comes from Italy, where the rot has gone less far, where there still survives some reputation for learning and for culture. They slake their nostalgia a little in the presence of that enfant perdue of a lost civilization…

Why did they not realize the magnitude of the disaster that was befalling them?…

In the first place the process of disintegration was a slow one, for the whole tempo of life was slow and what might take decades in our own time took centuries then. It is only because we can look back from the vantage point of a much later age that we can see the inexorable pattern which events are forming, so that we long to cry to these dead people down the corridor of the ages, warning them to make a stand before it is too late, hearing no answering echo, ‘Physician, heal thyself!’ They suffered from the fatal myopia of contemporaries. It was the affairs of the moment that occupied them; for them it was the danger of the moment that must be averted and they did not recognize that each compromise and each defeat was a link in the chain dragging them over the abyss…

The fact is that the Romans were blinded to what was happening to them by the very perfection of the material culture which they had created. All around them was solidity and comfort, a material existence which was the very antithesis of barbarism. How could they foresee the day when the Norman chronicler would marvel over the broken hypocausts of Caerleon? How could they imagine that anything so solid might conceivably disappear? Their roads grew better as their statesmanship grew worse and central heating triumphed as civilization fell.

But still more responsible for their unawareness was the education system in which they were reared… and it would be difficult to imagine an education more entirely out of touch with contemporary life, or less suited to inculcate the qualities which might have enabled men to deal with it. The fatal study of rhetoric, its links with reality long since severed, concentrated the whole attention of men of intellect on form rather than on matter. The things they learned in their schools had no relation to the things that were going on in the world outside and bred in them the fatal illusion that tomorrow would be as yesterday, that everything was the same, whereas everything was so different.”

-Eileen Power
Medieval People
1924

either way

You’re about this sweet spot stretch… Even though the rest are walking higher up on the beach, just above the slight plateau that marks where the highest tide reaches. Doing your loner, off-on-your-own-thing, but whatever. You’ve always been on that. Only with her were you not. But then it became about her having to be on that with you, in order to be with you. Till she wanted to be off with others and not on that off-on-your-own alone shit with you. She told you read Hannah Arendt that Hannah Arendt was the antidote to your Heidegger off-on-your-own alone shit. You tried. You did try.

You keep following this water’s edge and you’ll be OK. Too far either way and you’re fucked. You want to record this somehow. To not forget it. You’d write it down but you’re too stoned and anyway you’re walking. You double tap outta Notes. Switch to Camera. Start taking photos, one after another, even though each is a Live Photo so is already a series. You’ve gotta catch every angle of every wave. Every new iteration. Every photo isn’t quite it, but maybe the next will be. You stop after about twelve. Nine months later, you delete all of them to free up space on your phone.”

-Sean Thor Conroe
Fuccboi

. . .

In town, everything was chaotic and contradictory. News from abroad was censored, but travel was left unrestricted. Confused was increased by a spate of new and conflicting regulations, and by the arbitrary way controls were imposed or lifted. The one thing that would have clarified the position was an overall picture of world events; but this was prohibited by the determination of the politicians to ban all foreign news. My impression was that they had lost their heads, did not know how to deal with the approaching danger, and hoped to keep the public in ignorance of its exact nature until a plan had been evolved.”

-Anna Kavan
Ice
1967

lecturing birds to fly

The fragilista falls for the Soviet-Harvard delusion, the (unscientific) overestimation of the reach of scientific knowledge. Because of such delusion, he is what is called a naive rationalist, a rationalizer, or sometimes just a rationalist, in the sense that he believes that the reasons behind things are automatically accessible to him. And let us not confuse rationalizing with the rational—the two are almost always exact opposites.”

-Nassim Taleb
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

snakes

Thoughts were snakes shooting through high grasses. Now you see them, now you don’t. As you walk in the high grasses, you must take a stick and beat the ground. Scare up the snakes, pursue them to the edge of the field into the open and see them, exorcise them. You must perform this ritual now. In the middle of the night, alone with pen and paper, you sound out the snakey thoughts. You write one of those letters that’s never meant to be sent, isn’t addressed to anyone. No one’s eyes are meant to see this. This is a private ritual. The writer, the reader are trying to get as close together as possible. They are coming together, sealed in a word on a page where you’re trying to make the shooting thoughts come out in the pen. Shoot them down your arm, through your fingers, and out the end of your pen. Make them visible. You know it’s primitive: filling up a page so you can empty your mind. But you’re doing what you must: trying to let go. You’re starting by addressing yourself:”

-Constance DeJong
Modern Love

Torino dreams

Just then the alarm went off; she was awake already, thinking of so many things in the warm coziness of her bed. As dawn broke she regretted that it was now winter and you could not see the lovely colors that accompanied the sun. She wondered if Guido, who said that all colors were really one, was thinking the same thought. ‘How lovely,’ said Ginia to herself and got up.”

-Cesare Pavese
The Beautiful Summer